Campbell one run better than Somersworth nine, wins NHIAA Div. III baseball title
MANCHESTER - Campbell senior Christian Bourgea crushed - absolutely crushed - the offering from Somersworth pitcher Mike Paquette into the spacious gap in left center field at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium and hustled his way around the bases for a one-out, sixth inning triple.
Junior first baseman Bob Baril followed Bourgea to the plate and lofted a fly ball just behind the drawn-in infield, scoring Bourgea.
Campbell of Litchfield had its lead back and after junior right-hander Ryan Glendye mowed the Hilltoppers down in the seventh, the Cougars had a 3-2 triumph and the NHIAA 2014 Division III championship and the celebration was on.
Glendye came off the mound and met up with catcher Zach Byers and soon Bourgea and the rest of the Cougars joined the fun.
"Last night was a rough one to be honest," Glendye said. "It was a sleepless one. I probably got four hours of sleep and I went to bed at 8. I was more anxious to get out there than nervous. It was all worth it."
The title was the second in four years for Campbell and third under coach Jim Gorham, the only coach in the school's 13-year history.
The Cougars also beat Somersworth for their second title in 2011. They won their first championship with a 3-2 win over Newmarket in 2006.
"I thought (title) No. 1 would always be the best," Gorham said. "But I'll tell you, I started to well up on that last out."
No. 3 did not come easily.
No. 1 seed Campbell and No. 2 Somersworth came in with matching records and had split a pair of regular season games.
Campbell's 11-0 win at Somersworth to finish off a doubleheader that started with a win over Bow on the last day of the season fueled the team's run through the playoffs.
"They knew then that they could play with anyone," Gorham said. "We started rolling."
He knew Saturday's game would be nothing like the last one against Somersworth.
"They're our equals," Gorham said. "We just got the last break today."
The Cougars grabbed the lead with a pair of runs in the second inning when Baril led off with a triple and then scored on an outfield error.
Vinny Bucci, who had reached on the error, later scored on a ground out.
The Hilltoppers tied it with a run in the third on an RBI single by Jeremy Jacques and another in the fifth that came in on Paquette's sacrifice fly to right.
Then came the Campbell sixth.
With one out, Bourgea came to the plate.
Gorham said he had challenged the senior slugger, who plans to play his baseball at Keene State next season, on the bus ride to the game to come up a big hit in the title game.
Bourgea, who was hitting .537 going into the game, had not had much success against Paquette.
"He wasn't missing by much, but he was missing," Gorham said.
Not this time.
"He's a tough pitcher," Bourgea said. "But he left that one a little too much over the plate and I jumped all over it."
Somersworth played its infield in to try and prevent Bourgea from scoring and Baril dropped in the winning hit.
Glendye made great use of his curveball and was ahead in the count all day - he threw first-pitch strikes to a remarkable 26 of the 29 batters he faced - and did it again in the seventh.
Glendye allowed four hits, struck out five, walked one and hit a couple of batters.
Paquette gave up five hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter and took a hard-luck loss.
Somersworth finished at 17-3 and came up just short again: The Hilltoppers have made it to the title game four of the last five years and have lost each time.
"That's a tough bus ride home," Gorham said. "They know they had a tremendous season and came this close."