State Legion Tournament: Rochester finishes job, repeats as champs
NASHUA — Rochester had to post four victories in two days to win this year’s American Legion state tournament, and that’s exactly what Post 7 did.
After eliminating Merrimack and Milford at Holman Stadium on Monday, Rochester defeated Exeter Post 32 twice on Tuesday to repeat as the state champion. Post 7 won Tuesday’s first game 3-1, and prevailed 12-2 in the second contest, which ended in the bottom of the seventh because of the 10-run rule.
“We knew we had a daunting task ahead of us, but we didn’t lose focus,” Rochester catcher Anthony DiPrizio said. “We stayed calm and took it one game at a time.
“That first game (against Exeter) gave us a lot of momentum. Then we scored first in the second game. That was another momentum boost, and we just rode it.”
Christian Dow held Exeter to one run in 5 1/3 innings to collect the win in Tuesday’s second game. Post 7 pitching surrendered four runs (one earned) in its final four tournament games (34 innings).
Rochester earned its third state title in the last four years. Exeter was seeking its first state championship since 2006.
“I was optimistic (going into Monday’s games) because we were playing well,” Rochester coach Steven Lambert said. “The kids were tremendous, just tremendous. The pitchers stepped up and did a great job.”
Rochester sent 10 batters to the plate in the third inning, when it scored four runs to take a 6-0 lead. Post 7 took a 2-0 lead when Rick Creteau (single), DiPrizio (triple) and Justin Jewell (double) opened the game with three consecutive hits. Rochester added a run in the fifth, one in the sixth and four in the seventh.
Jewell had five of Rochester’s 17 hits. Creteau collected three hits and DiPrizio, who was named the tournament’s MVP, finished with two.
Exeter received three hits from Jared Brescia and three from Mike Sterritt. Kyle Ball collected two hits in the loss.
Rochester will compete in the American Legion Northeast Regional, which will be played Aug. 3-7 at Muzzy Field in Bristol, Conn.
Rochester 3, Exeter 1
Rochester’s Shaun Cormier allowed one run in seven innings, and Mark Levesque tossed two scoreless innings of relief to help Post 7 force a second game.
Post 7 scored a run in the third and two in the eighth. Dow doubled and scored on an infield groundout in the third. A two-run double by Drew Healey drove in DiPrizio and Josh Gagne to give Post 7 a 3-0 lead in the eighth.
Exeter starting pitcher Cody Morissette pitched eight innings before Bobby Cliche came on to pitch the ninth. Two of the three runs Morissette allowed were unearned. He walked three and struck out four.
Exeter produced its run when Ball scored from third on Jack Arend’s infield groundout in the eighth. Arend, Exeter’s starting catcher, had two of his team’s seven hits.
Exeter won both regular-season games against Rochester this season.