Goffstown Little Leaguers' journey continues
MANCHESTER - Goffstown claimed the 11-12-year-old District I Little League championship with a 17-5 win over Bedford at Gill-Harris Field Saturday.
Goffstown will face the District II champion starting Saturday in a best two-of-three series. The District II title will be decided today when Portsmouth faces Laconia at Donati Field in Hooksett at 1:30 p.m.
"It's kind of a relief," said Goffstown manager Mark Campbell. "We've had some high expectations and we keep talking about the journey and this is just another step on that journey."
Goffstown got on top early, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Conor O'Connell led off with a single and Connor Hujsak followed with a home run.
Derek Steckowych singled with one out, starting a string of four consecutive base hits. Brett Patnode had the final one, plating Steckowych for the 3-0 lead.
Hujsak homered again in the second inning to make it 4-0. Bedford responded in the home half of the second, scoring three runs to cut the lead to 4-3. Alex Douidi led off with a walk and pinch runner Justin O'Neill came around to score after a wild pitch and Avery Mosseau single.Mosseau would eventually score on a Blake Murray single and Trevor Anibal (who reached on a single) scored the third Bedford run when he was safe at home on a throw from shortstop Hujsak on a Nick Douidi grounder.
But Goffstown went back to work with the bats in the third, adding two runs to make it 6-3. Clay Campbell (double), Patnode (single) and T.J. Dutton (RBI sacrifice fly) had the key hits. Goffstown continued to build on the lead, pouring on another four runs in the fourth (helped by two Bedford errors) and a single run in the fifth (a Myles Green RBI single to score Brad Demers) to push the lead to 11-3. Bedford scored a pair of runs in the fifth on an RBI groundout from Douidi and RBI single from Mosseau to cut the lead to 11-5.
But Goffstown left no doubt, adding six runs in the sixth to make it 17-5. Bobby Doherty (RBI double), Steckowych (RBI single) and Dutton (two-run home run) sparked the six-run outburst.
From there, Goffstown reliever Steckowych closed out the win, walking Murray but striking out two and ending the game when Thomas Morgan's liner to shortstop was snagged by a diving Hujsak.
"They played hard. I'm proud of each and every one of them," Bedford manager Dan Douidi said of his squad. "We got beat by a better team."
Campbell praised the dedication of his Goffstown players.
"They're just great kids. They just work their tails off. We start practice at 6:00 and everyone is there by 5:30 getting extra hitting in," he said. "That's just the way these guys are. They have an incredible work ethic. It pays off."