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High Schools: WLC baseball keeps winning; Conant sweeps Mascoma behind Aho no-no

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team hosted Hinsdale on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 10:18AM

The Wilton-Lyndeborough baseball team is off to a hot start and the sky appears to be the limit. 

“Our goal is to be at that final game. That’s our goal,” said Warrior head coach Dave Finch after Tuesday’s 14-1 drubbing of Hinsdale. The blowout win was the latest in a series of mercy-rulings that have WLC at 5-1 in the early going, outscoring opponents 77-10.

“We’ve been stressing good at-bats over everything, and that means not swinging at bad pitches and trying to drive the good pitches,” said senior first baseman and WLC valedictorian Shane Partridge after Tuesday’s game. “Today was even better than it’s been all season. We’ve been improving since that first game, but today was like we’ve been hitting all season but better.”

Partridge is hitting over .500 to start the season and he was 3-3 with a single, a double, a triple and a walk against Hinsdale Tuesday as the Warriors dispatched the Pacers with ease.

After making a surprise trip to the Final Four last season, the Warriors hope to make a return this season, a swan song for Finch, who said he plans to retire after an on-and-off 20-year coaching career at WLC that started in 1982.

“Coach Finch really stresses not just the fundamentals of the game but a good approach everywhere – in the field, at the plate, even when you’re just watching in the dugout – and he stresses improvement in all areas all the time,” Partridge said. “And everyone on this team has subscribed to that.”

The Warriors have been beating up on lesser teams – their five wins have all come by at least a ten-run margin – but dropped their one early-season test against rival Sunapee.

“I told them, if that final game is next week, we’re not there, because there are some top teams that are playing better than we are,” Finch said.

Woodsville, Pittsfield, Littleton, Sunapee and Newmarket are all still undefeated this spring, though none have played as many games to date as the Warriors.

WLC has not only been scoring, they’ve been holding opponents to minimal damage. In their five wins, the Warriors have only allowed a total of three runs. They’ve been playing good defense – Finch and Partridge both sang the praises of Troy Brennan, who’s been making huge plays as he attempts to fill the shoes of last year’s senior All-State shortstop Jake Levert – and they’ve been pitching well. Neal Brennan went three innings Tuesday, allowing three hits and a run, and buckling down when it mattered. He only had two strikeouts in the game, but with a runner on third and two outs in the second, he slung a huge hook to Ryan Leclair and got the Pacer to whiff to end the jam.

If it’s not Neal on the mound, it’s one of his younger twin brothers; Sean came in in relief on Tuesday and struck out four in two innings, though he did load the bases with three walks in the fifth before getting out of it and ending the game. Troy Brennan also shoulders some of the pitching load, and Kyler Tremblay gets some starts as well.

“The best thing is that we call Neal our ace but really any of them can shut any team down at any time,” Partridge said.

The Warriors have also been getting solid contributions from catcher Owen Hughes, who’s been hitting well and broke Tuesday’s game open in the first inning with a big two-run rip.

WLC is at Farmington (1-1) on Monday; they then host Concord Christian (2-1) on Wednesday and travel to Newmarket (2-0) on Friday.

“We’re going to play some really good teams once the season gets going and that will be a great test for us, but I know that once we get to the playoffs, we will be a better team than we are now,” Partridge said.

And once they get to the postseason, the Warriors aren’t going to be satisfied with anything less than last year’s Final Four appearance, where they lost to eventual champion Littleton.

“I feel like we can absolutely top that,” Partridge said. “I feel like we could have topped that last year. This year, I feel like we can definitely be in that final game and we can be winning it if everyone on this team continues to improve every game until then.​​​​​​​”

Conant 15, Mascoma Valley 0

The Orioles looked good in their first home game on Humiston Field on Tuesday, walloping Mascoma Valley 15-0 in five innings.

Preston Kirby went the distance on the mound for Conant, striking out nine and scattering four hits and two walks.

Conant scored six in the first inning on hits by Troy Aho, Kirby, Colson Seppala and Silas Seppala. The Orioles had another big inning in the fourth, scoring seven on hits by Aho, Kirby, Colson Seppala, Anthony Gauthier, Gavin Motuzas and Griffin Labonte.

Conant (2-2) was scheduled to host Campbell (3-1) after press time Wednesday and hosts Mascenic (1-3) on Monday.

SOFTBALL

Conant 8, Mascoma Valley 0

Manea Aho threw a no-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts over seven innings as Conant beat Mascoma Valley soundly on Tuesday afternoon.

The Orioles scored five runs in the first innings to take a commanding lead.

Brenna Welch (2-3), Teagan Kirby (2-3), Aho (1-2), Bella Hayes and Chelsea Dupuis all drove in runs for Conant.

The Orioles (2-2) were scheduled to host undefeated Campbell (4-0) on Wednesday after press time; they host Mascenic (3-1) on Monday.