MANCHESTER — It’s hard for any high school baseball team to overcome a bad inning. Two bad innings? That almost always erases any chance of victory.
Manchester Central discovered that the hard way Wednesday when it dropped a 14-3 decision to Londonderry in the Division I opener for each school at a windy and chilly Gill Stadium.
Londonderry trailed by three runs early, but scored six runs in the fourth inning and pushed across seven more in the fifth. The game became official after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
Londonderry junior Nolan Lincoln pitched all five innings in his first varsity appearance. He allowed two hits, walked two and hit a batter. All three Central runs were unearned.
“Last year I had a lot of senior arms and he was the best pitcher on our JV team,” Londonderry coach Brent Demas said. “He was probably ready (to face varsity batters) in the second half of last season. As you could see he’s going to be a pretty good one.”
Central starter Olvis Genao had six strikeouts through two innings and surrendered an unearned run in the third before things began to unravel in the fourth. That six-run fourth featured a Gill Stadium home run — a grounder that skips across the turf to the outfield fence — from Nick Cote with one runner on base.
Five of the seven players who scored in the fifth reached base via a walk or an error.
“I thought (Genao) pitched well,” Central coach Kevin O’Leary said. “We gave them a couple extra outs and then the floodgates opened.
“Once they started to get people on base we started to throw the ball around and people put their heads down. We have to change that mentality.”
Reece Manor scored three runs for the Lancers. Cote, Brandon Fish and Tyler Kayo each scored twice.
Jacob Privey and Jaron Franco-Mora had the Central hits.
“The first inning or two (Genao’s) velocity was very impressive, then he just seemed to get a little tired and we started to put the bat on the ball and tried to force them to make plays,” Demas said.
“It was 3-0 for a while. I was very nervous, but Nolan kept us in it.
“Everybody filled their role. Big innings help.”