AMHERST — For four innings, the John Stark and Souhegan high school baseball teams were locked in a tight Division II semifinal.
Over the final two innings, they were on nearly even terms.
John Stark’s 10-run fifth inning rendered the other six innings irrelevant.
The Generals coasted past the Sabers, 12-4, on route to a date in the championship game against St. Thomas of Dover on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Nashua’s Holman Stadium. John Stark will be making its first trip to the final.
Slugging into the Division II tournament, John Stark has continued ripping opposition pitching and using aggressive baserunning to rattle the opposition. They continued on that path against the Sabers, while taking advantage of a hit batsman and two walks. The Generals also caused some fielding mishaps that proved too much for Souhegan to overcome.
The Sabers scratched out two runs in the fourth, including an RBI single by Brandon Dufour and a sacrifice fly from Keegan Burke.
It proved far too little by the time John Stark finished its fifth-inning assault.
It began quietly enough with an infield hit by Chad Martin and Cam Bergeron’s base hit. Noah Brent bunted the runners to second and third before Nathan Innerfield’s two-run single tied it up. Jason Crean also contributed a two-run single to the rally.
John Stark tacked on a run in the sixth on Crean’s sacrifice fly and one in the seventh on Alex Moore’s RBI single.
In its four tournament games, John Stark has scored 43 runs and allowed just 13. The only close contest was a 4-3 win over Hanover in the preliminary round.
The Generals have not lost since falling to Merrimack Valley of Penacook, 4-3, on May 12.
Souhegan did some pounding of its own with a 19-2 win over Manchester West, then slipped past Hollis/Brookline, 3-2, in the quarterfinals.
The Generals split their two regular-season games against St. Thomas, falling 4-0 and winning, 4-3.