Goffstown cruises to state Little League title
HOOKSETT — Saturday was the Derek Steckowych Show. Sunday, it was Conor Hujsak’s day to shine.
Hujsak pitched a five-inning shutout, a shutout that was completed when he hit a game-ending grand slam in the fifth inning of Goffstown’s 10-0 victory over Portsmouth in the New Hampshire Little League finals at Donati Field. Goffstown’s win on Sunday enabled the team to sweep the best-of-three series (winning by a combined 19-0) and advance to the New England Regionals in Bristol, Conn.
On the mound, Hujsak allowed three hits and no walks while striking out nine. He was 1-for-3 with a walk, but he made that one hit count, ending the contest by mercy rule.
Hujsak said he was wasn’t thinking about a home run. “I was trying to hit a line drive. (The home run) just happened,” said Hujsak.
Hujsak had eight homers in tournament play but went hitless in Game One against Portsmouth Saturday, when Steckowynch led the team with a pair of homers. “Yesterday he was trying too hard but not hitting the ball,” said Goffstown coach Mark Campbell. “So I told him to just relax and not worry about doing too much.”
“They’re obviously the best team in the state and we wish them the best,” said Portsmouth coach Kyle Griffin. “We gave it our all, but we just couldn’t get our bats on their pitching today.
“They were able to keep us off balance,” said Griffin. “They were able to mix in fastballs with curveballs. Our hitters didn’t see that in our district pool play.”
Goffstown neutralized Portsmouth at the plate over the two games of the series, allowing just seven hits and four walks and no runs.
Goffstown scored in the second inning thanks to a throwing error to take a 1-0 lead. The winners scored another in the third, aided by some sloppy fielding by Portsmouth.
Portsmouth pitcher Calvin Hewett had a solid outing, striking out six and allowing three runs. He left the mound after giving up a solo home run to Goffstown pinch hitter Liam Kilbreth. Myles Green knocked in another run and Goffstown led 4-0.
“He pitched fantastic. He was just unlucky,” said Griffin of his starting pitcher. “There were at least three hits that were swinging bunts that we couldn’t convert.”
In the fifth, Goffstown scored twice more before Hujsak came to the plate with the bases loaded and ended the game on the first pitch he saw from reliever Will Fahey.
Kilbreth and Myles Green both went 2-for-2 for Goffstown.
Timm Kutzer, Jason Linchey and Colby Griffin each had a single for Portsmouth.
The title was Goffstown’s second in four years. Goffstown will take on Maine in the opening game of regional pool play on Friday, Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. The Maine champ has yet to be determined.