Pythons Succumb to Somersworth in Baseball Semis

June 14, 2013
by Marc AyotteThe Pelham baseball team had its very successful season come to a conclusion on June 5 when they dropped a 4-0 decision to Somersworth in NHIAA Division III semi-finals action.  “It’s painful,” noted Python Head Coach Billy Beauchesne, adding “but we didn’t beat ourselves,” as he reflected on the two-hit gem tossed at his team by Hilltopper hurler Evan Marquis.  Beauchesne elaborated by saying “that was the best game thrown against us all year, he was lights-out.”  Epitomizing Beauchesne’s assessment was the fact that Pelham was only able to collect but a pair of hits on the day; a first inning double and a single in the 6th, both off the bat of short stop Jake Vaiknoras.

The improbable run by the gutsy Pythons, who finished 14th during the regular season, saw them make their way into the final four after they defeated Newfound, 3-1.  On the campus of Southern New Hampshire University, the Pythons with a strong showing of supporters, took on Somersworth, who earned their way to the big stage by virtue of a 4-3 quarter-finals win over second ranked Monadnock Regional.  The Hilltoppers were making their third semi-finals appearance in the past four seasons.

Things looked promising for Pelham early on, as the aforementioned two-bagger by Vaiknoras created a second and third situation after Ryan Frank’s lead-off base on balls.  However, the two Pythons would be stranded on base and as it turned out, that was as close as Pelham would come to putting a crooked number on an otherwise bagel-laden score board.

After their bats were quiet, which resulted in the Pythons going down in order in each of the second and third innings, they came up with the defensive play of the game when Somersworth came to the plate in the home half of the third.  A lead-off walk, an infield hit and a walk loaded the bases for number 7 seed Somersworth, with one out.  With one of the Hilltopper’s best hitters at the plate in Kurtis Michaud, the Pythons executed a phenomenal, inning ending double play.  The 6-4-3 ‘turn-two’ involved a Vaiknoras to Gamble to ‘Newt’ gem that kept Somersworth silent – at least for the time being.

In the bottom of the fourth, Somersworth this time struck, taking a 1-0 lead when a sharply hit groundball down the line found its way past diving third baseman Justin Moran for a lead-off double.  A two-out single followed and as history shows, that was all the Hilltoppers would need.  In the next inning, they would rough-up starter and loser Chris Benjamin for three more runs; punching their ticket for the championship contest against Conant.

Despite the disappointing loss, the Pythons had a positive season and upon graduating only two seniors in Moran and Alex Newton, promise to make more noise in NH division III baseball next season.