Roger Brown's Diamond Notes: Astros take flight
In terms of athletics, Pinkerton Academy of Derry may be best known as a football school. Some would probably argue that boys’ lacrosse is a close second.
Now Steve Campo is trying to make Pinkerton synonymous with baseball, and he’s off to a good start.
Campo, who is in his second season as Pinkerton’s head coach, guided the Astros to the Division I semifinals last spring, and Pinkerton is 7-3 entering today’s home game against Londonderry.
The Astros haven’t won a state championship since 1986, and haven’t been to the Division I/Class L title game since 1995.
“(Not being considered a baseball school) wasn’t really too much of a concern when I got the job,” Campo said. “It was really just trying to get the kids to believe they can win.”
Campo, who was an outfielder at Londonderry, replaced Ron Manseau as Pinkerton’s coach. Manseau had a 267-252 record in 30 seasons at Pinkerton.
Campo’s first Pinkerton team was 3-11 at one point, but caught fire and ended the regular season with five straight wins to earn the No. 13 seed for the Division I tournament. The Astros posted two upset victories in the postseason before they lost to Londonderry in the semifinals.
That momentum seems to have carried over to this season. Pinkerton enters today’s game third in the Division I standings.
Campo is still seeking his first coaching victory against Londonderry. The Astros were 0-3 against the Lancers last season, and dropped a 4-2 decision in Londonderry last month.
This year’s team is led by pitchers Chris Gerossie (3-0, 2.67 ERA), Connor Donahue (2-1, 2.67) and Boston College commit John Polichetti, who is 2-1 with one save and has allowed three earned runs in 21 1/3 innings.
“Gerossie, Donahue and Polichetti have been outstanding,” Campo said. “We tell them they don’t have to be dominant, they just have to give us a chance to win. They’ve kept us in every game.”
Catcher Nate Rossi (.471) and second baseman Tom Diskin (.412) are Pinkerton’s leading hitters. Each has a team-high 10 RBIs.
“Division I is extremely competitive,” Campo said. “When the kids got to the semis (last year) I think they felt that’s where they belonged.
“With our pitching I expected us to compete. If our defense backs up the pitching we should be competitive in every game.”
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TIMBERLANE of Plaistow’s Jake Damphousse played in his first game of the season Monday, when he was the designated hitter in Timberlane’s 3-1 loss to Dover.
Damphousse, a senior, was a Division I All-State selection in 2012 and 2013. He figured to be one of the top pitchers in the state this season, but missed Timberlane’s first nine games while recovering from a torn meniscus.
“He had a sore knee and they originally thought it was tendinitis,” Timberlane coach Jamie Fish said. “Then they did an MRI and discovered something was torn. He had surgery and it’s been a very quick recovery.”
Fish said he expects Damphousse to pitch this season. Timberlane is scheduled to play Bedford in Plaistow today.
“He has to work his way back into baseball shape,” Fish said. “We’ll see how it goes. We’re optimistic.”
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THE two teams at the top of the Division I softball standings will meet today when Salem (9-0) travels to Timberlane (8-2).
Salem, a program known best for outstanding pitching, has been exceptional at the plate this season. The Blue Devils are averaging 13 runs per game and have scored at least 12 runs in six of their nine games.
Timberlane, last year’s Division I champion, was attempting to end a two-game losing streak when it played at Bedford on Thursday.
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PINKERTON is one of 61 NHIAA schools that will participate in Operation Hat Trick Awareness next week. Baseball and softball teams from those schools will wear camouflage hats with the school’s logo during selected games. Hats will also be sold to school and community members to help raise money and awareness for wounded veterans.
Pinkerton’s fundraising efforts will take place Monday (baseball vs. Bedford) and Thursday (softball vs. Bishop Guertin of Nashua). The money raised will be donated to Operation Hat Trick for use in supporting awareness and recovery programs in New Hampshire.
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THE MASCOMA REGIONAL of Canaan baseball team trailed Newfound Regional of Bristol by eight runs entering the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday, but scored nine runs in that inning to post a 10-9 victory. Freshman Derek French made his varsity debut as a pinch-hitter in the sixth and went 2 for 2 with two RBIs before the inning ended. … Portsmouth, which won last year’s Division II baseball championship, has scored at least 10 runs in each of its seven victories, but has been held to three runs in its two losses. … The Goffstown baseball and softball teams are each 8-1 and in first place in Division II. Both teams opened the season with a loss to Windham, but have won eight in a row since then.
Email staff writer Roger Brown at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @603sportsmedia.