LONDONDERRY — The strong wind that blew throughout Monday’s Division I baseball game at Londonderry High School caused fielders some problems, but it didn’t seem to bother Londonderry starting pitcher Owen MacDonnell.
MacDonnell went the distance in Londonderry’s 5-1 victory. He allowed five hits and didn’t walk a batter to help the Lancers raise their record to 4-1.
MacDonnell, a senior, was Londonderry’s starting first baseman when the Lancers won the Division I championship in 2019,
“He pitched some (as a sophomore), but then he got sick, lost a lot of weight and wasn’t the same pitcher after that,” Londonderry coach Brent Demas said. “He’s worked hard the last two years and he’s ready, as we saw today.”
Londonderry was facing one of the state’s top pitchers in Concord’s Jonah Wachter, and the game remained close until Concord (4-1) failed to turn what could have been an inning-ending double play in the sixth. The Lancers scored three runs after that to turn a 2-1 lead into a four-run advantage.
Adam Wholley’s bases-loaded double was the big blow in the inning. Aden Parsons and Sam DiCicco scored on the play, and then Justin Dickson trotted home on a wild pitch.
Wachter struck out 10 and allowed three runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked four.
“I don’t walk away from this game feeling like we’re not a good team,” Concord coach Scott Owen said. “We left some plays out there and if we make those plays it’s a totally different game. I think we’re going to make those plays more often than not, so I think we’re going to be fine.
“I thought (MacDonnell) threw very well. We put some good swings on him, but it was a little too inconsistent. We didn’t really string anything together and he made good pitches when he needed to. We put the ball in play, but we have to put the ball in play harder.”
Concord, which doesn’t have any returning varsity players on its roster, struck first, in the third inning, when Ryan Philbrick doubled and scored on Brooks Craigue’s single to right. Londonderry took the lead in the bottom half of the inning when Gavin Parent and Jack Marshall hit back-to-back triples before Marshall scored on a wild pitch.
MacDonnell, a lefty, limited Concord to three baserunners over the final four innings.
“With no preseason scrimmages, it’s hard to tell what you have,” Demas said. “I know we’re going to be competitive. Our worst game (Friday’s 10-9 loss to Bedford) was a game where we made physical errors. If we don’t make any errors, I think we’ll be a difficult team to handle.”
The teams are scheduled to meet again Wednesday in Concord. The expected pitching matchup for that one is Concord’s Jarrad Willette against Londonderry’s Zach Smith.
“They (the Lancers) bounced back from that game versus Bedford,” Demas said. “They needed to have a bounce-back game and they did that today against a very good Concord team.”