Roger Brown's Diamond Notes: Pitching is everything come tournament time
When Boston College-bound pitcher Carmen Giampetruzzi pitched a one-hitter to lead Trinity of Manchester to a 1-0 upset victory over Londonderry on Monday, the game made clear why the preliminary round in any of the state’s four baseball tournaments is such a crapshoot.
The higher-seeded teams enter tournament play with a superior record, but the lower-seeded teams often have the better pitcher.
“Seeding doesn’t really matter (in the postseason),” Londonderry coach Brent Demas said. “If Trinity ends up being the 16th seed, I wouldn’t want to see him (Giampetruzzi). Sometimes it’s better not to be No. 1.”
If Trinity does qualify for the 16-team Division I tournament — the Pioneers are currently in a three-way tie for 15th — you can be sure that Giampetruzzi will be on the mound for the preliminary round.
Giampetruzzi struck out 11 against Londonderry. The Pioneers came away with the victory even though they were facing another one of the state’s top pitchers in Londonderry’s Rob Del Signore (4-1, 0.38 ERA).
Trinity is not unique. Many teams will enter the postseason with sub-.500 record because they lack pitching depth, but some of those teams have an ace capable of beating anyone.
That’s why many of the state’s baseball coaches have been lobbying to change the tournament format. Some would like to see a best-of-three series used for the preliminary round. Others have mentioned the possibility of reducing the tournament field to 12 teams and rewarding the top-four teams in each division with a preliminary-round bye.
The reward for the Division I team that finishes first this season? It could be a matchup against Trinity and Giampetruzzi, who is 2-1 with an ERA under 1.00.
“On any given day anybody can get beat in this league,” Trinity coach Paul Lemire said. “It depends on the pitching and who’s throwing against who. There’s some good pitching out there.
“If we get into the tournament and Carm throws the first game … whoever we play, good luck to them.”
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CONVAL of Peterborough’s Courtney Fisher became the second NHIAA softball pitcher to record at least 700 career strikeouts during a 4-2 loss to Sanborn of Kingston on May 16.
Kingswood of Wolfeboro’s Ashley Pinkham recorded 843 strikeouts during her high school career. Fisher, a senior, helped ConVal win last year’s Division II championship.
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THE Manchester Central baseball team has allowed five runs in its five victories. … The Spaulding of Rochester softball team has won 11 in a row since its 2-2 start. The Red Raiders (13-2) are alone at the top of the Division I standings entering today’s game against Bishop Guertin of Nashua. … The Goffstown baseball team’s 13-game winning streak ended with Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to Hollis/Brookline. … The Hopkinton and Kearsarge of North Sutton baseball teams are scheduled to play Sunday (4:30 p.m.) at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, after the Fisher Cats-Sea Dogs game. Jake Nelson, who has scholarship offers from Duke and Georgia Tech, is scheduled to pitch for Hopkinton. Nelson, who throws in the low 90s, is 3-1 with a 1.60 ERA this season. He has 40 strikeouts in 35 innings. … The Division I game between Salem and Concord is the top softball game on today’s schedule. Salem, which will be at home for today’s contest, is 12-2 and in second place in the Division I standings. Concord is 12-3 and in third. … Winnacunnet of Hampton pitcher Danny Fields collected his first varsity victory Sunday, when he pitched a complete game in Winnacunnet’s 1-0 triumph over rival Exeter. Fields allowed three hits, struck out six and walked one.
Email staff writer Roger Brown at email@example.com.