Big inning lifts Sunapee to victory over Gorham
MANCHESTER - Nick Skarin, Sunapee Middle High School's leadoff hitter and center fielder, was getting a little concerned.
Inning after inning, his team had squandered chances and trailed by three runs and time was running late.
Skarin led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single and stole second base.
Now, the Lakers were on their way. Nine batters, a couple of key hits and a bunch of walks later, Sunapee owned a lead and soon enough a 6-5 win over Gorham for the NHIAA Division IV baseball championship at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
It was the third state champion in the last four years for the Lakers, adding to the first-place hardware they collected in 2011 and 2012.
Skarin started in left field in the 2012 title game when Sunapee beat Newmarket, 13-1.
"We 10-runned them in that one," Skarin said. "This one was a little sweeter."
And more nerve-wracking.
"I had my doubts around the fourth and fifth innings," Skarin said.
"We were hitting the ball hard, but they were making the plays. We kept plugging away."
That they did.
"They kept coming and coming," said Gorham coach Matt Marallo.
"They're an impressive squad and they deserved it. They never gave up. They just kept coming."
The Lakers got into Gorham's bullpen and patiently wore down the pitching staff.
Gorham bunched three of its six hits and took advantage of four walks and Sunapee's throwing the ball around a bit to open the scoring and put up four runs in the top of the fourth inning.
Tyler Sanschagrin and Brandon Bisson provided the big blows.
Sanschagrin knocked in a run with a single and Bisson another with a double.
Sunapee got one run back in the bottom of the fifth when Cole Cruz, who had walked, scored on a bases-loaded walk.
The Lakers trailed 4-1 entering the sixth.
Skarin scored the first run on a Cole Cruz single to left field.
"We finally got some timely hits," said Sunapee coach Tom Frederick.
"Nick got things rolling and they all started feeding off him after that."
After Cruz, James Fitzgerald and Bryson DesChamps each walked with the bases loaded and Mike Platt got one in with a single. Another run scored on a Will Austin sacrifice fly.
When the inning was over, Sunapee led 6-4 and then had to hold off a final Gorham rally in the top of the seventh.
There were two outs when Brian Veazey reached on an infield error.
Brady Fauteux doubled to score Veazey and went to third on an error.
Sunapee sophomore Ben Robinson, who earned the win with three and a third innings of solid relief, induced the final out of the game on a ground ball to shortstop.
Three Gorham pitchers walked 12 batters and hit a couple in the game.
"It was a real tough way to finish," Marallo said. "We got out of a few jams, but then we stopped throwing strikes and that's a killer. ... But we tried to come right back and I thought we were going to be able to piece it together."
The No. 8-seeded Huskies ousted North Country rivals Littleton, Lisbon (the No. 1 seed) and No. 4 Colebrook on the way to the title game and finished at 13-9.
The No. 1 Lakers rallied when it mattered most and closed out with a 17-3 record and third title in Frederick's eight years.
"The kids stuck with it," Frederick said. "I'm real proud of them. Three in four years. We have a lot of good kids in town who love playing ball. And we have a great youth league."