MANCHESTER - Did Portsmouth High School's Rick Holt have one more stellar pitching performance in him? Perhaps that was the key question entering Saturday's Division II championship game.
Facing a top-seeded Goffstown team that was hitting over .350 as a team, Holt tossed a complete game to help second-seeded Portsmouth reclaim the Division II title with a 5-2 triumph at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
Holt, who pitched two innings in Portsmouth's) semifinal victory over Windham on Thursday, held Goffstown to four hits, all of which were singles. Both Goffstown runs were unearned.
"He pitched a gem," Goffstown coach Adam Lawrence said. "He mixed things up and threw strikes. He pitched with emotion, and that's what you want out of your guys. He's been here before. We all know he's pitched in some big games. You can't go wrong having a guy like that on the mound."
Holt, a senior who will play football for the University of New Hampshire, raised his record to 8-0 this season, and improved his career pitching record to 22-2 with 11 complete games.
"It was all adrenaline," Holt said. "I was hoping the game would be pushed back."
Holt outdueled Goffstown's Tyler Barss, who was named New Hampshire's Gatorade Player of the Year last month. Barss, who will pitch for the University of Rhode Island next season, also tossed a complete game. He allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits and struck out seven.
"We knew it was going to be a challenge with Barss pitching today," Holt said. "That was probably the best pitcher we've faced all year. He's a really good pitcher and they're a really good team, we just had a little bit more today."
Portsmouth struck for three runs in the top of the first on two hits, two errors and a walk. Holt had an RBI single that drove in Mac Allen, and an outfield error allowed both Chris Main and Holt to score.
"I don't want to say it was overwhelming, but it was our first time at the Fisher Cats stadium," Lawrence said when asked about that first inning. "Portsmouth's been here before."
Goffstown made it a 3-2 game by scoring a pair of unearned run in the third, but the Clippers regained a three-run lead on RBI hits by Dillon Crosby and Kobie Taylor in the fifth. Crosby's second double in the contest scored Holt, and Taylor followed with a single that drove in Crosby.
Goffstown stranded two runners in the bottom of the fifth, but a Barss single was the only baserunner the Grizzlies had after that.
It was Portsmouth's fifth Division II title in the last six years.
"This is the reason we set up our pitching the way we did - so Ricky could pitch on the biggest stage in New Hampshire high school baseball," Portsmouth coach Tim Hopley said. "There's no room to breathe anywhere in their lineup. (Holt) did an unbelievable job."
Shortstop Zach Storro had two hits for Goffstown, which completed its season with a 20-2 record. The Grizzlies will have to replace seven seniors next season. Portsmouth raised its record to 17-3
"We came to play today," Holt said. "It was a great win."