Goffstown Jimmy Fund All-Star Team Powers Past Bedford for 15-9 Opening Day Victory
Goffstown – 14 July 2016 by Brad Godette: Late in the 5th inning Tuesday night, 12th July under the lights on the Goffstown Major’s field, Bedford attempted to rally back from a 15-7 hole. Unfortunately for Bedford, they ran right into Goffstown pitcher, Griffin Wilkinson, Literally!
On a passed ball, Wilkinson did his job and covered the plate as Bedford sent their runner from 3rd to steal home. The runner was safe, and durin
g the play Wilkinson got hit in the face with the ball. Clearly in pain, Wilkinson immediately went down to the ground covering his face in his hands and rolling in the dirt in agony. As his coach ran out to him and turned him over, Griffin had blood dripping from his gums, and his upper lip had already started to swell. Wiping tears from his eyes, Griffin told his coach, “I’m ok. I can still pitch. Don’t take me out, I’ve got this.”
Striking out the next batter to end the inning, Griffin stayed in the game, showing a toughness reminiscent of Curt Shilling’s “Bloody-Sock” performance in the 2004 World Series. In the 6th inning, Griffin went back to the mound to the cheers of his teammates and the crowd. And on the last play of the game, Goffstown executed a perfect double play with 2nd baseman Zachary Godette snagging a hard-hit line drive out of the air, then throwing to Connor Bernard at 1st for the double play and the game’s final out.
Goffstown got off to a fast start with a five run 1st inning and never looked back. Slugging 9 hits throughout the game to go with 11 walks (and two batters hit by a pitch), Goffstown showed no weakness from the top to the bottom of their order. The crown jewel of their superb team performance at the plate was a massive inside-the-park HR by Max Bridgeman that would have easily cleared the fence if the team had been playing on the minor league field.
Proving to their parents and their peers that age doesn’t matter, youngsters Connor Bernard (single), Stevie Damboise (single), and Brady Godette (double) – all “Farm Kids” facing kid-pitching for the first time in their careers – showed off their hitting skills. Aidan Izzett, (also “Farm”) showed tremendous patience and a great eye, and got on base all three times he stepped to the plate - on three walks! Levi Locke (“Farm”) didn’t get a hit, but instead got hit himself – reaching base on a Hit By Pitch. He later made solid contact, hitting the ball hard, but the ball was caught for an out.
Not to be overlooked by all the late game drama, Harrison Neff played a MVP type of game. As Goffstown’s starting pitcher, Harrison walked out to the mound and casually struck out the side on 12 pitches to start the game. He gave up a HR in the second inning, but then went back to work and struck out the side again in the second inning. In the third inning, after his coach replaced Harrison, the Bedford coach said that his team started to celebrate. No hitter on Bedford’s team wanted to face Harrison for another at bat. If that performance wasn’t enough, Harrison smacked a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double to put Bedford on the ropes early in the contest.
Harrison and Griffin weren’t the only star pitchers. Zachary Godette had a solid inning of work, striking out several batters. And in his pitching debut, Owen Sereno impressed everyone, throwing strike, after strike, after strike, after strike. The smile on Owen’s face was worth the trip to the ballpark Tuesday night.
Knowing they had a young team (with a few wily veterans), but a team filled with smart ball-players, the Goffstown coaches didn’t know what to expect going into opening day. For one thing they were as surprised as anyone (pleasantly so) to find out that the team had so much depth at the pitching position.
But more than anything, Goffstown showed grit, toughness and teamwork. Every single player contributed to the win. Every single player factored into a positive play. When Griffin, lying on his back, covered in dirt and blood told his coach, “I’ve got this,” he wasn’t just speaking for himself. He was speaking for the entire Goffstown team. And that theme bodes very well for the rest of the season.
Next game for this All-Star team is Saturday 7/16/16 at 10am at the Goffstown’s Major Field.
About: Jimmy Fund Little League co-presented by Extra Innings and Franklin Sports provides more than 5,000 little league baseball and softball players throughout New England the chance to continue playing after their regular season ends by fundraising and participating in local tournaments.
Off the field, these players take to their communities to raise vital funds for the Jimmy Fund, while learning the importance of philanthropy and volunteerism, and that they, too, can make a difference in the fight against cancer.
Help strike out cancer by participating or supporting Jimmy Fund Little League.
Since 1987, the hard work and winning spirit of the coaches, parents and, most importantly, the players, have raised more than $4.5 million for the Jimmy Fund.