WE’RE ALL AWARE that statistics are not to be trusted, or at least we should be. When it comes to the top of the Londonderry High School batting order, however, the numbers do paint an accurate picture.
Sophomore Brandon Fish, Londonderry’s leadoff hitter, and senior Reece Manor, who bats in the No. 2 spot, have been catalysts for the Londonderry offense all season. How productive have Fish and Manor been at the plate? Both enter tonight’s (7) Division I championship game against Bedford with 35 hits this season. The school record for hits in a season is 37 (Jon McMahon in 2007).
“Both have solid approaches at the plate,” Londonderry coach Brent Demas said. “If either one of them has a bad at-bat they’re very good about making adjustments and moving on from it. If some kids strike out early in a game they’re all done. It’s 0 for 4.”
Fish, who started for Londonderry as a freshman, is hitting .412, and 13 of his 35 hits have been for extra bases. He has 53 hits in his varsity career.
Manor is batting .461 and leads the team with 27 RBIs. He became a full-time player for the Lancers as a junior and has 61 hits in two seasons.
Zack Luongo, Londonderry’s No. 3, hitter, has a .338 average and collected the game-winning hit when fourth-seeded Londonderry (20-5) beat sixth-seeded Bedford (15-6) 4-3 in nine innings during the regular season. Fish (.474), Manor (.518) and Luongo (.414) lead the team in on-base percentage.
The Lancers also get some unusual production from the cleanup spot, where Nick Cote has a team-high 25 stolen bases this year.
Fish and Manor each collected two hits in Londonderry’s 4-1 triumph over top-seeded Concord in the Division I semifinals. Both singled in Londonderry’s three-run third inning. Fish also had two hits when Londonderry beat fifth-seeded Pinkerton Academy 4-1 in the quarterfinals.
Londonderry will likely be facing Trevor Anibal, Bedford’s ace, in tonight’s game, which is the second half of a doubleheader at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Anibal, who will likely oppose Londonderry’s Nolan Lincoln, has a 6-1 record with a 1.22 ERA this season. He has 96 strikeouts, 20 walks and has surrendered 43 hits in 57 innings on the mound (nine starts).
The Lancers will be seeking their first Division I championship since they beat Pinkerton 4-1 in the 2014 title game.
“I’ve been very satisfied with our offensive production this year,” Demas said. “My advice to our guys heading into this game was, ‘Don’t change a thing. You’re gonna be facing a great pitcher, but he’s gonna be facing some great hitters.’”
Tonight’s first contest will feature top-seeded Bow (17-2) and second-seeded Hollis/Brookline (16-2) in the Division II championship game. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
This will be the second meeting between the Falcons and Cavaliers this season. Bow won the regular-season matchup 2-0 by scoring two unearned runs in the seventh inning. Bow’s Riley Elliott tossed a complete game and limited Hollis/Brookline to two hits.
This is the only division in which the No. 1 seed and the No. 2 seed advanced to the championship game. Bow is the only top-seeded team that made it past the semifinals.
Hollis/Brookine’s last championship came in 2007, when it beat Plymouth 4-2 in the Class I title game. Bow hasn’t won a championship since it beat Farmington 4-1 in the 2003 Class M final.
Manchester’s Gob Gabriel, a 6-foot-7 forward, gave a verbal commitment Friday to play college basketball for Monmouth University. Gabriel played at Manchester Memorial and Trinity before he transferred to Bradford Christian Academy in Haverhill, Mass. Former University of North Carolina point guard King Rice is Monmouth’s head coach.
Wenyen Gabriel, Gob’s older brother, played at Trinity and the University of Kentucky, and is now playing for the Sacramento Kings organization.
The New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Winnipesaukee Muskrats are still seeking families to host players this summer. The team opened the 2019 season last Tuesday, and is scheduled to play its first home game at Robbie Mills Field in Laconia on Sunday, June 16.
Host families receive free passes to games and their children, ages 6 to 13, are allowed to attend three weeks of summer baseball camp run by Muskrat players. Anyone interested in hosting a player should contact Muskrats assistant general manager Corey Hough: firstname.lastname@example.org.