MANCHESTER — Justin Sumner is in his first season as Manchester Memorial’s varsity baseball coach, but he’s been around the game long enough to know there’s no defending walks.
Memorial pitching issued nine walks during Monday’s Division I opener against Goffstown, and six players who reached via a walk scored in Goffstown’s 11-1 victory.
Memorial also committed three errors in the loss, which ended after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
“I think we’ll be OK when it comes to hitting,” Sumner said. “We have to clean up our hitting and our defense. We have to be better defensively and we have to pitch the ball better. Too many walks and too many two-strike hits as well.”
Goffstown scored in every inning. The Grizzlies led 1-0 after an inning, 3-0 after two and 5-0 after three. The Grizzlies, who have two players with varsity experience on their roster, added five runs in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Goffstown’s Nate Bonacorsi pitched four shutout innings. He allowed two hits and struck out four. Ronnie Morgan replaced Bonacorsi on the mound after the fourth.
Center fielder Ryan Cote led the Goffstown offense with two hits and three runs scored. Catcher Brayden Hollinrake also collected two hits. Eight of the nine players in Goffstown’s starting lineup scored. Morgan and Cote, the No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in the Goffstown batting order, scored five times.
“I like our team,” Goffstown coach Adam Lawrence said. “We’re young (six sophomores), but they played well today. They swung the bats. We did what we needed to do.
“I thought Nate was awesome today. Threw strikes, pitched to contact.”
Memorial scored in the bottom of the fifth, when a JJ Josefik single drove in Tyler Pike. Josefik had two of Memorial’s four hits. Tim Alley and Alex Rivera had the others.
“I’m not trying to put too much salt on anything right now,” Sumner said. “Took over the position late. We had two weeks to prepare. Implementing a new system. A of stuff going on.
“I’ll know more by about the sixth game. I really anticipate us coming together and hitting our stride by about the third week of the season, but the emphasis will definitely be on pitching and defense.”