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Goffstown advances in N.E. Little League tourney

Special to the Union Leader
August 09. 2018 9:16PM

Ryan Strand’s bat led the offense and three pitchers combined to limit the opposition in Goffstown’s 9-3 victory over Fairfield American in a New England Regional Little League contest on Thursday in Bristol, Conn.

Goffstown, 2-1 in the double-elimination tournament, plays Coventry, R.I., today at 1 p.m. for the right to go to the New England final on Saturday against Pittsfield, Mass. The Connecticut champs finished 1-2. Today’s game will air on ESPN.

“The kids are all pumped up right now,” coach Ryan Simmons said. “They’re all excited. I hope that transitions to (today).”

Strand homered to lead off Goffstown’s three-run first inning — the first of his four hits — as the New Hampshire champs built a lead, withstood a Fairfield comeback, then pulled away with one run in the third, two in the fourth and three in the fifth.

“He had an awesome day right from the first at-bat,” coach Simmons said.

Logan Simmons started and worked 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Of the 10 batters he retired, nine were via strikeout. He also walked four. Max Oullette pitched well in relief, allowing one run over two innings, fanning two, and Isaac Morin closed it out with two-thirds of an inning.

After throwing 85 pitches Thursday, Simmons is ineligible to pitch for the remainder of the tournament.

“Every game’s a must win so we went with what we knew would be the best today, which was Logan, but we still have four or five kids that we know can come in and pitch,” coach Simmons said.

Simmons said Will Perkowski, Cam Hujsak or Morin will start for the Granite State champs today.

Goffstown, which outhit Fairfield 10-8, drew first blood in the first inning. After Strand’s homer, Simmons singled and Hujsak walked. With two outs, Simmons scored from third on a wild pitch, and Oullette singled home Hujsak for a 3-0 lead.

After Fairfield pulled within 3-2 in the third, Goffstown went back to work. Braeden Lambert singled, and with two outs, Oullette singled him home.

In the fourth, Nate Kiah singled to lead off. Strand singled and Simmons walked, and with two outs, Hujsak singled home two for a 6-2 lead.

“We had a lot of two-out hits right at key times. We got a lot of kids on base by being picky,” coach Simmons said.

Connecticut scored once in the fifth, but the locals put it away in the bottom of the inning. Strand’s RBI single and Simmons’ sacrifice fly were the key blows.

Youth leagues Goffstown