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NHIAA Baseball: Clippers leave Div. II with a championship

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 11. 2018 11:23PM
Portsmouth's Calvin Hewett kisses the championship trophy as teammate Max Malila, left, watches after Portsmouth defeated Goffstown 7-6 in the NHIAA Div. II Baseball Championship game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester on Monday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — The 12-year run the Portsmouth High School baseball team has had in Division II is an impressive one, and it ended with a state championship.

Top-seeded Portsmouth scored five runs in the first inning and went on to defeat second-seeded Goffstown, 7-6, in the Division II title game Monday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

After loading the bases with no one out in the bottom of the seventh, Portsmouth’s Jacob Grant bounced into a 6-2-3 double play. Just when it looked like Goffstown might force extra innings, Cal Hewett, Portsmouth’s leadoff hitter, was called safe at first on a grounder to third that pulled first baseman Justin Pinard off the bag and ended the game.

“A lot of heart from my guys,” Goffstown coach Adam Lawrence said. “You get down to Portsmouth (5-0) after the first inning ... but they chipped away and we put ourselves in a situation where we could have easily taken the lead. No quit in these guys is what blows me away.

“I asked (the umpires) to confer and just make sure it was the right call. And that was it.”

The Portsmouth program had a 219-22 record and won seven state championships during its time in Division II. The Clippers (18-1) made it to at least the semifinals in 11 of those 12 seasons, and set a national record by winning 89 consecutive games from 2008 to 2012. Portsmouth and Goffstown will both move up to Division I next season.

“I’ve more thought about the guys who have been a part of it,” Portsmouth coach Tim Hopley said. “I haven’t really thought about what the program’s done in the division. I remember guys and things that they’ve done.”

Oscar Lalime earned the win for pitching four innings of scoreless relief.

After falling behind 5-0, Goffstown climbed back into the contest by scoring four times in the second inning. The Clippers made it a 6-4 game in the bottom of the second, but the Grizzlies tied things up with two runs in the fourth.

It was a rough night for both starting pitchers. Portsmouth’s Trevor Van Allen was pulled after the first two Goffstown batters reached base in the fourth. He allowed six runs on three hits and walked five. Goffstown’s Connor Hujsak allowed six runs on three hits in three innings. He walked seven. Taylor French pitched the final four innings for the Grizzlies.

It was the fifth postseason meeting between the Clippers and Grizzlies. Portsmouth also beat Goffstown in the 2013 championship game, and Goffstown won two of the three semifinal games between the programs. Portsmouth beat Goffstown 6-2 during the regular season.

Will Soucy and Robert Doherty each had two hits for the Grizzlies. Hujsak had a two-run single in the second that started Goffstown’s comeback.

“We knew they weren’t going to quit and they didn’t,” Hopley said. “Any Adam Lawrence team is going to be a good team — and those guys are good.”

Portsmouth put its first two runners on base in the sixth, but Goffstown escaped without allowing a run. It looked like the Grizzlies might survive the seventh as well, but Hunter Leroux-Porter scored the game-winning run on Hewett’s grounder.

“I told the guys we put ourselves in tough situations,” Lawrence said. “There’s only so many times you’re going to get away with something like that.”

NHIAA Goffstown Portsmouth