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NHIAA Baseball: Pinkerton adds punch to its strong cast of arms

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 15. 2018 3:57AM

Pinkerton's Jacob McGill scores as Richie Marique high-fives him in the first inning of the Astros' 7-1 win over Londonderry at Pinkerton Academy in Derry on Saturday. At left is Lancers catcher Jack Dingman. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

DERRY - There was a lot to like about the Pinkerton Academy baseball team in 2017. One thing Steve Campo wasn't thrilled with was the Astros' offense, which ranked among the worst in Division I despite a 13-6 record and a trip to the D-I quarterfinals.

It appears the Astros are angling to get on Campo's good side this season with 17 runs in three games, including strong work at the plate in Saturday's 7-1 win over Londonderry. Righty Richie Marique showed well in his first start of the season for the Astros (2-1), but his outing was a product of a cushion from Pinkerton's offense, which generated a pair of three-run innings.

"We've been focusing on quality at-bats here so far," Campo said. "Londonderry is a very good team, but we were able to grind out some of those at-bats and get a little lucky. In baseball, you need that ball to bounce your way a bit."

Pinkerton's top four hitters reached base a combined 10 times in 12 plate appearances while scoring six of the team's runs. Cam Walsh and Jake McGill each collected two hits while together scoring five times. Asa Runge and Marique produced two RBIs apiece.

Runge and Marique helped the Astros get out in front from the get-go with an RBI triple and an RBI groundout to make it 3-0 Pinkerton after one inning. The Astros were up 4-0 in the sixth when they spouted off for their other three-run inning courtesy of a bases loaded walk to Runge, a sacrifice fly from Marique and an RBI single by Brady Day.

"There are a lot of experienced varsity guys that are still a little sour about the 2-0 loss (in the quarterfinals) to Spaulding last year because they felt like there was a lot more in the tank," Campo said. "The mantra this year is to keep battling and keep going. No lead is safe even though our bread and butter are defense and pitching. We're going to need this offense to provide support like this."

Pitching will indeed be a strength for the Astros and Marique showed why on Saturday. The righty was making his first start after coming along slowly in the pre-season due to injury. He threw just 59 pitches to keep his workload light, but Marique still made it through five scoreless innings while scattering just five hits and striking out three. Brandon Fish's double was Londonderry's only extra-base hit off Marique, who was followed by George Welch and Mat Albetski for an inning each.

"It was a gutsy start," Campo said. "This is his third year doing this on varsity so it's kind of what we've come to expect. He's a competitor that's going to go out there put us in a situation to win."

Marique's work was aided by Londonderry hitting balls at defenders in untimely spots. The Lancers (1-2) stranded eight runners, including squandering a bases-loaded, one-out scenario in the second inning.

"They didn't have any arms that really overpowered us," said Londonderry coach Brent Demas, whose Lancers scored their lone run on a Pinkerton error in the sixth inning. "We put the ball in play and they made the plays. That's how you do it. Their a well-coached team and they showed it today while we have some work to do before the next game."

Pinkerton starting pitcher Richard Marique deals as Londonderry's Brandon Fish dances off second base in the first inning of Saturday's game in Derry. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

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