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Youngest Granite State Games ballplayer is a junior achiever

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 19. 2018 10:55PM
Southern's Petert Meconi drives in a run against Lakes during the Granite State Games held at the Derryfield School in Manchester on Tuesday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — It was a routine ground ball to shortstop that resulted in a fielder’s choice, but the at-bat drew an unusually loud and positive response from the dugout.

Although an out was recorded at second base on the play, Peter Meconi beat the throw to first. Meconi, 13, was at first base in a game that featured mostly high school players.

The play came on the second day of the fourth annual Granite State Games, a weeklong event that features eight sports. Each sport has four teams, and each team draws players from a different region of the state — Lakes, Monadnock, Coastal and Southern. Rising seventh-graders to graduating high school seniors are eligible to participate, so long as they reside in New Hampshire or attend a public, private or prep school in the state.

Each sport features a round-robin tournament followed by a third-place game and championship game.

Meconi, a Bedford resident who attends Nashua Catholic Regional Junior High School, said he’s enjoying his time with his older teammates on the Southern team.

“Yeah, I knew I was going to be playing against older kids,” he said. “I like it. It’s an experience.”

Meconi’s second at-bat may have been the highlight in Southern’s 9-5 loss to Lakes on Tuesday at the Derryfield School. He came up with an RBI single over the second baseman’s head that made it a 5-5 game in the fifth inning.

“So excited for the kid,” said Southern coach Ernie Yerrington, who is an assistant coach with the Manchester Central baseball team. “He’s played in all three of our games and hasn’t been intimidated. Not at all.

“I don’t know some of these kids from Adam, but I didn’t have to say anything to them. They didn’t look down at him in any way. They treated him as an equal.”

Meconi has played second base in each of Southern’s first three games. Tuesday’s single was his first hit during the competition.

Yerrington’s Southern team also had a 12-year-old on the roster who decided not to participate. He was given a summer membership to the Ultimate Sports Academy in Manchester. Ultimate Sports Academy owner Kevin Gray coaches the Lakes team.

“I just think his parents felt he was in a little over his head,” Gray said. “We wanted to give him something just to show we appreciate his effort and good attitude.”

Tennis, golf, field hockey, volleyball, soccer, softball and basketball are the other sports offered in this year’s Granite State Games.

The baseball championship game will be held today (5:30 p.m.) at St. Anselm College. Meconi’s Southern team will compete in the third-place game at Derryfield (4:30 p.m.).

“We weren’t sure how much he would play, but for the experience we felt it was worth it,” said Jennifer Meconi, Peter’s mother. “We liked (Yerrington) and we felt comfortable sending Peter to be with the team. It was such a good opportunity for him at his age just to even observe and be part of the team.”