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North Leominster uses long ball to eliminate Townsend


LEOMINSTER — On an evening when the incoming weather front was a concern throughout, a couple of lightning bolts proved to be the undoing of the Townsend All-Stars.

North Leominster got home runs from Adam Aubuchon and Francisco Fernandez, which accounted for all their runs, as they stayed alive with a 5-1 win over Townsend, in a game shortened to 3 1/2 innings because of unplayable field conditions after a pelting rain.

Hard-throwing righthander Michael Fuller picked up the victory for North Leominster, allowing one run and two hits over four innings while striking out four and walking one.

Townsend mounted a threat in the top of the first when Nick Barry walked and Liam Coughlin was hit by a pitch, but Fuller induced a groundout to escape, and North Leominster took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning.

With one out, Fuller singled and trotted around the bases when Aubuchon ripped a line drive over the left center field fence. Townsend starting pitcher Kevin Powell struck out two of the next three hitters to avoid further damage.

After Townsend was retired in order in the top of the second, North Leominster padded their lead. Preston Boissoneau singled to lead the inning off. After a strikeout, Justin Burke walked. Fernandez then lofted a deep drive to right field that just dropped over the fence to make it 5-0. Matt Russell came on in relief for Townsend and got a fly out to end the inning after a pair of singles.

Fuller kept his no-hitter intact by working a 1-2-3 top of the third, but Russell answered with a goose egg in the bottom of the inning, including a pair of strikeouts.

With dark clouds rolling in, and thunder now being heard, Townsend made some offensive noise in the top of the fourth. Powell led off by ripping a long double to deep right just inside the foul line, and moved to third when Coughlin drilled a single inside the first base bag. Mitchell Hudlin then lofted a deep fly ball to center field to score Powell. Fuller bore down and struck out the next two hitters.

Seconds after the latter strikeout, the umpires called both teams off the field. The skies opened up with some hard rain and the field was unplayable, the game being official by the closest of margins.

Townsend finished the tournament with a 2-2 record, beating Fitchburg East and Ashburnham before suffering a heartbreaking loss to Pepperell. Russell pitched well in relief, allowing no runs and two hits while striking out two in 1 2/3 innings.

Aubuchon paced North Leominster with a single, home run and two runs-batted-in.

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