Benji Stars in Silence of the Rams
Staff Photos by Marc Ayotte
by Marc Ayotte
The Python baseball team improved to 2-0 on April 17 with a 3-0 home blanking of Raymond. But less than 24 hours later, they were involved in another whitewash when they traveled to Windham where they fell from the unbeaten ranks as the Jaguars levied a 10-0, merci-shortened verdict on the Pythons.
Pelham began the week hosting the 1-2 Rams by sending Chris Benjamin to the mound for his first ever varsity appearance. The Python junior responded magnificently, firing a complete game shutout while limiting his opponents to just a pair of inconsequential singles. Benjamin fanned seven batters and allowed four walks in shutting down the visitors who had scored nine runs in their previous game against Epping. “I was very confident on the mound knowing my defense had my back,” cited Benjamin after his gem. “I was also confident with going to my curveball late in the count – that was huge.” When asked if he was nervous about making his first varsity pitching start, Benjamin replied “not really before the game, I told coach I would be able to go all seven,” – and so the Rams noticed.
The Pythons would supply Benjamin with all the offense he would need when they scored two runs in the bottom of the third. Freshman Cam DeLoreto reached on a walk to start the inning and was pushed to second on Mike Pelletiere’s first varsity hit; a solid single to center field. Ryan Frank then showed a great piece of hitting by going the other way with a fastball, as the single to right plated both DeLoreto and Pelletier for the 2-0 lead.
Pelham added an insurance run in the sixth when Alex Newton’s RBI single scored Jake Vaiknoras, resulting in the 3-0 final. In the field for the Pythons, DeLoreto came through with a web-gem in his first varsity start; making a diving catch in right field, which according to Coach Billy Beauchesne “saved a potential double.”
After the game, Beauchesne sang the praises of Benjamin’s effort on the hill; “he was very efficient and worked ahead in the count. He was hitting spots and threw the curve ball confidently.” The Python coach went on to say of Benjamin, who last played high school ball as a freshman for Beauchesne on the PHS JV squad, “I was very impressed. He had good confidence and good poise. He’s very coachable – there’s nothing that you can’t throw at him … And he says ‘yes coach.’” In an early season assessment of the team, Beauchesne noted that “team morale is unbelievable; we’re in a very good place. Every day we have a new leader. It’s a testament to how hard they work.”
Windham’s Dolan Says ‘No-No Way’
Unfortunately for Pelham, they were not able to spend much time basking in the glory of picking up back to back wins to start the season. Enthusiastic about making the Jaguars their third victim in a row, the Pythons made the short trip to Windham to face the 2-1 Jaguars. However, waiting for them was Adam Dolan, who recorded his second win of the season with a stifling, No-Hit performance; striking out seven en route to the abbreviated five-inning 10-0 shutout. Dolan proved to be a force at the plate as well, going 2 for 4 with three RBI – his third coming from the walk-off single in the decisive fifth inning.
The Pythons did have chances to get on the board but they stranded runners at second and third in each of the first and fourth innings. Aside from those missed opportunities, Pelham never was in the game after falling behind 4-0 in the first. For Pelham, it was a rough outing for Ryan Frank who was tagged with the loss in what was also his first varsity start on the mound. Frank went four innings, allowing ten hits and nine runs while striking out two. In relief, Cam DeLoreto pitched the final inning, giving up three hits and one run.
For Windham, Connor Moynihan continued his torrid streak in the batter’s box with a perfect 3-3 (two triples, double) with an RBI and two runs scored. On the season, Moynihan is 7 for 8 with a blistering .875 batting average through the first four games. Other offensive notables for the Jags were lone senior starter Matt Carbonello (2-3, one run), Connor Hopkins (1-2, two RBI) and Kellin Bail who went 1-1 with a run producing double. Regarding Moynihan and Hopkins, the latter of which was recently named Division II Rookie of the Week, Coach Derek Lee offered, “I have two freshmen who are just lighting up the scoreboard.”