NHIAA D-III Baseball: Campbell, Somersworth to play for title
HOOKSETT — It will be No. 1 Campbell of Litchfield duking it out with No. 2 Somersworth for the NHIAA Division III baseball championship on Saturday morning at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
Campbell took out No. 12 Berlin, 10-0 in six innings via the 10-run rule, and Somersworth outlasted Bow, 8-7 in eight innings, in the semifinals on Thursday at Southern New Hampshire University.
Somersworth and Campbell are each 17-2 and split a pair of regular season games, each winning on the other’s field.
The Hilltoppers won 5-1 in Litchfield on May 9. Campbell returned the favor, 11-0, in Somersworth on May 27.
The Cougars grabbed the lead over Berlin with a pair of runs in the first inning and then blew it open with six in the fifth inning. They scored two more in the sixth to end it early.
Campbell collected 12 hits and took advantage of five walks. Tyler Butler, Zachary Byers and Christian Bourgea each had a pair of hits.
Butler allowed five hits, struck out three and walked one to earn the pitching win.
Berlin finished at 11-8.
Bow senior Nate Corriveau, trying to snuff another rally and get the game to the ninth inning, blew a couple of fastballs past Somersworth sophomore third baseman Eamon Smith.
He tried one more.
Smith got his bat on the ball and sent it past the shortstop and into left field to score Cody Bryant, another sophomore, for the run that lifted over Bow.
“When it’s coming that fast, you don’t need to swing that hard,” Smith said. “I saw it going up the middle and saw the shortstop dive for it.
When it went through, it was the best feeling of my life.”
The Hilltoppers advance to the championship game for the fourth time in the last five years. They have lost their last three title games.
Somersworth won the Class M title in 2005.
Campbell is in the finals for the fourth time in the six years.
The title game is a rematch of the 2011 championship. The Cougars won that game 4-2. They also took the championship in 2006.
Bow, which got its game to extra innings with a wild comeback, closed out the season at 12-8.
Somersworth led 6-0 after two innings and 7-1 after three and then survived Bow’s comeback and big seventh inning rally, too.
In the eighth, Bryant — who got an improbable win on the mound as well — singled with one out.
After Mike Paquette was hit by a pitch followed by a strikeout, Hunter Kretschmar walked to load the bases with two outs.
Then Smith delivered his third hit of the game, sending Somersworth to the finals.
In the seventh, Bow scored two runs to tie it after Paquette struck out the first two batters.
Sebastian Strong walked and Evan Vulgamore and Sam Moore each singled to load the bases. Paquette walked Chris Fournier to score one run and cut Somersworth’s lead to 7-6.
Dave Kretschmar visited the mound for the fourth time in the game and, by rule, had to remove Paquette for another pitcher.
He brought Bryant in from second base.
A wild pitch allowed Vulgamore to score with the tying run. But Bryant got a strikeout to end the threat and they moved to extra innings.
The Hilltoppers jumped in front early with three runs in the first inning and three more in the second. They put nine batters to the plate in the first inning, eight in the second.
Paquette and Smith had RBI singles in the first inning and starting pitcher Drew Colbert knocked in the third run with a sacrifice fly.
Paquette had another RBI with a double in the second inning and Kretschmar and Colbert each had RBI singles.
Bow got a run back in the top of the third.
Somersworth matched that in its half of the winning and led 7-1 after three.
Bow got three runs back in the fifth inning on a Moore bunt single followed by triples from Fournier and Corriveau and a sacrifice fly by Gavin Lacourciere.
The Falcons scored a single run in the sixth when Somersworth threw the ball around after a wild pitch.