NASHUA — Sweeney Post of Manchester scored three runs in the top of the ninth to earn a 4-3 comeback win over Hudson Post 48 in American Legion state tournament play at Holman Stadium Sunday.
Sweeney will play Monday against Derry, which blanked Dover 3-0 later Sunday.
The winner of the Derry-Sweeney game plays Dover at 7 p.m.
Trailing 3-1 to open the top of the ninth, Sweeney got four hits to take the lead for the first time in the game.
“They never gave up. We battled all day,” said Sweeney head coach David Flurey. “We had opportunities early on to score and got some runners and finally came up with some big hits there when it counted in the ninth.”
Kevin Gonzales and Brendan Sullivan got Sweeney started in the ninth with back-to-back singles into right-center field. Connor Walsh then drilled a double to deep right to score both runners and tie the game at 3-3.
That chased Hudson reliever Dakota Williams from the mound. New pitcher Chris Murphy induced a groundout for the first out, but Nolan Flynn banged a single up the middle to score Walsh and give Sweeney its first lead of the game at 4-3. Murphy worked out of further trouble to close the inning.
Sweeney sent Flynn out to close the game on the mound and he did so thanks to some stellar defense — including one play himself. Sweeney first baseman Walsh tracked down a foul ball with a running catch to erase Jackson Musco for the first out and then Flynn snared a low line drive off the bat of Dan Brown. Flynn closed the win with a strikeout of Luis Matrille.
It was a shocking end to the season for Hudson, which got eight strong innings of work from starting pitcher Ryan Glendye, who shut Sweeney out 1-0 with a complete-game effort Thursday. Glendye kept Sweeney off the scoreboard through six on Sunday and left with a 3-0 lead.
“I was worried about pitching going in and Ryan gave us as much as he could give us, which was stupendous. (Sweeney) scored 26 runs against (other) pitchers in 19 innings and he held them to nothing in 15. I think that shows how incredible he is,” said Hudson head coach Scott Szuksta. “Our bugaboo all season has been (wondering) what is our pitching going to be like in the tournament. We just didn’t have the one arm we needed. One arm away. Three outs away.”
Hudson took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Kellin Bail led off with a walk and moved to second on Conner Whittemore’s bunt. Greg Emanuelson singled to left field to score Bail and eventually scored on a double to left-center by Jacen Hudson.
Hudson Post 48 added a single run in the bottom of the sixth. James Sullivan led off with a single into left field and advanced two bases on Musco’s bunt when third baseman Zach Szczechowicz fielded the ball to make the play at first but no one covered him back at third base.
Brown then sent a slow roller back up the middle, but pitcher Ryan Boldwin was not able to field it, allowing Sullivan in to score and make it 3-0.
Boldwin worked eight strong innings for Sweeney, scattering six hits and allowing three runs.
“Not having pitched in high school and he only pitched two games for us (we didn’t know what to expect from Boldwin),” Flurey said. “He’s a big, strong kid. He’s a competitor and he gave us a lot more than we could have ever expected. It was a great, great performance, one of the gutsiest performances we’ve seen.”
Sweeney threatened with runners on first and second in the first, third and sixth innings but could not get them in as Glendye worked out of trouble each time.
“We did have some opportunities, we just couldn’t capitalize on them,” Szuksta said. “I thought (Glendye) was best when he was in trouble.”
Sweeney broke through in the seventh inning against relief pitcher Williams. Peter Abood greeted Williams by depositing a pitch over the left field wall to make it a 3-1 score.
“I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t sad to see (Glendye) come out of the game,” Flurey said. “I think even mentally it was wearing on the kids, playing 15 innings against him and not being able to get one run off him.”
Derry 3, Dover 0
Chase Spears pitched a complete-game six-hitter, with three strikeouts, lifting Derry.
Chris Gerossie had a double and RBI single for the winners, and Spears knocked in a run with a single.
Jamie Collins also added a RBI double for Derry.