CONCORD — Ricky Kramer’s right arm is one of the main reasons Rochester Post 7 advanced to the American Legion state tournament’s championship game Tuesday night.
Kramer tossed eight innings to help Rochester beat Laconia 6-3 in Tuesday night’s losers’ bracket final at Concord’s Memorial Field.
Kramer, a Strafford resident, allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits and struck out six. He didn’t walk a batter.
“He’s our best pitcher,” Rochester coach B.J. Gagnon said. “He’s pretty up front and he wants the baseball. It’s extremely tough not to give it to him when he wants it.”
The victory advanced Rochester to Tuesday night’s championship game against Nashua, which was scheduled to start at 7.
It was the second time Kramer beat Laconia in the double-elimination tournament. He pitched seven innings and struck out 11 to collect the win when Rochester defeated Laconia 5-3 in the tournament’s first game.
“I was 3-1 in the regular season and now I’m 2-0 in the tournament, so I’ve been pitching really well for this team and that feels good,” Kramer said. “I felt really good (against Laconia). I had command of all my stuff.”
Kramer played for Berwick Academy in Berwick, Maine, each of the last two years. He was on the Post 7 roster last summer, but was used sparingly because of an elbow injury.
Kramer entered Tuesday’s game against Laconia with 13 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings on the mound in the state tournament. He also pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to earn the save when Rochester eliminated Lebanon 4-3 Monday night.
As good as he is in baseball, Kramer is an even better hockey player. He’ll play junior hockey next season in Portland, Maine. Gagnon said Maine and Northeastern are among the college hockey programs who have shown interest.
“Berwick is a small school and nobody really looks at you for baseball, but in hockey they’re all over you,” Kramer said.
The Nashua/Rochester winner will earn a spot in the American Legion Northeast Regional, which will be played Aug. 8-12 in Middletown, Conn.