LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL
North Leominster 12
By Ken Blanchette
TOWNSEND — Both the North Leominster and Townsend baseball teams had locked up berths in the next round of the District 3 Little League Tournament when they tangled on Tuesday night at Craven Field. Both teams had wins under their belts against Westminster and Orange and each was looking to complete Pool B play with an unbeaten record.
North Leominster continued their hot-hitting in the tournament and rolled to a 12-4 victory. The visitors got contributions up and down the lineup, lashing 16 hits against a pair of Townsend pitchers.
Townsend starting pitcher Adam Grieman came out strongly in the top of the first, striking out the side to pitch around a one-out walk, and Townsend grabbed the lead in the bottom of the inning against North Leominster starting pitcher John Benham.
Kyle Priest led off with a single before Jarod Dussault reached on an error, and Chris Powell laid down a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Richie Sharp made it 1-0 with an RBI single. Dussault scored when Dave Neuhaus grounded into a fielder’s choice. With runners on first and third, Neuhaus stole second and Powell scored when the throw sailed into center field to make it 3-0.
Grieman worked out of a jam in the top of the second with some help from his defense. David Barry led off with a single and moved to third on a one-out single by Greg Cavaioli. Barry broke for home but third baseman Powell made a perfect throw to catcher Dussault, who applied the tag.
Townsend got a leadoff double by Jared Borneman in the bottom of the inning, but stranded a pair of runners, and the North Leominster offense erupted in the top of the third with seven runs to take control of the game. Zevyn Urraro led off with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. Matt Fuller ripped a sharp single to left, but Townsend left fielder Neuhaus came up firing and tossed a strike to Dussault to erase the runner at the plate. Ryan Lever plated Fuller with a double to make it 2-1 and Sharp was summoned in relief for Townsend. Leominster took advantage of a Townsend error and received key hits from Barry (RBI single), Chris Petkewich (RBI single), and Aidan Chartrand (two-run single) as they took a 7-3 lead after 2 1/2 innings.
Townsend sliced a run off the deficit in the bottom of the inning when Sharp doubled and moved to third on a Newhaus single, but Leominster did a nice job of damage control by turning a double play as Sharp scored to make it 7-4.
Barry, who came on in relief for North Leominster with one out in the bottom of the third, quieted the Townsend bats the rest of the way. He allowed one run and four hits over 3 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking one.
Townsend hung tough until North Leominster put the game out of reach with a five-run explosion in the top of the sixth. The key hits were a two-run homer by Lever over the center field fence and a run-producing single by Mike Lovewell.
Townsend battled until the final out, loading the bases in the bottom of the sixth when Brett Talcott reached on an error, Priest singled, and Dussault walked, but Barry fielded a ground ball and fired to first for the final out.
Lever paced the North Leominster offense with a double, home run, two runs scored and three runs-batted-in. Fuller (two runs scored) Barry (two runs scored, RBI), Lovewell (two runs scored, RBI) and Benham (run scored, RBI) each added two singles.
Sharp led the Townsend offense with a single, double, a run scored and an RBI. Priest added two singles and a run scored. Powell made the defensive play of the game, and possibly the year when he ranged from his third base position and made a leaping catch of a foul ball at the fence.