Goffstown's Comeback Bid Falls Short in 14-12 Loss to Manchester
Goffstown - 19 July 2016 by Brad Godette: The first pitch flew out at Goffstown’s Minor Field at 10:45am Saturday morning July 16th - 45 minutes late. With the game's "official" umpire going to the wrong town and leaving the two Jimmy Fund All-Star teams with no one to call the game, Jeff, a parent from the Manchester team stepped in to fill the void and promised to do his best.
As the temperature approached 90 degrees, Harrison Neff, Goffstown's starting pitcher, walked to the mound and threw hard, but Manchester was ready for him and came out swinging, taking a 4-1 lead after the 1st inning. Manchester built their lead to 6-2 after picking off two runners at 3rd base and halting two early Goffstown rallies.
Goffstown battled back in the 3rd inning with 5 runs and Goffstown pitcher, Zachary Godette kept the team in it with 2 solid innings of work under the baking sun. Manchester came back with 3 runs the next inning, but Goffstown matched them with 3 runs of their own and it went to the final frame with Goffstown holding a slim 1-run lead at 10-9.
Unfortunately for Goffstown's gutsy young pitcher, Owen Sereno, the baseball gods were not kind. Owen pitched well, but fell victim to two bad bounces in the inning (and a dead ball inadvertently called "live") and Manchester rode a seemingly random lucky streak to a 14-10 lead until pitcher Griffin Wilkinson came in to close out the inning, throwing his typical flame-throwing fastballs and striking batters out.
Goffstown wasn't quite done, though. Catcher Max Bridgeman powered the team back into the game with a towering 2-run triple, which brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the final inning. But Manchester only needed one more out, and they got it, before Goffstown could complete the comeback.
The young-guns for Goffstown once again played well. “Farm Kids” Stevie Damboise (single) and Aidan Izzett (3 more walks this game) each produced runs while reaching base, while Levi Locke continues to hit the ball hard – unfortunately right to opposing fielders. Center Fielder, Brady Godette didn't get much of a chance, twice getting hit by pitches, and 1st baseman, Connor Bernard also got hit by a pitch and briefly had to come out of the game. The more experienced “Minor Kids”, Owen Sereno (single), Zachary Godette (triple) had hits and Minor Leaguer Harrison Neff added 2 hits of his own, in addition to his steady pitching performance.
As the game ended and Jeff, the stand-in ump, took off his gear and grabbed a water bottle, a Goffstown official offered him a game check for his work (after all, umpires get paid for their time). He smiled and said, "Sure. I'll take the money on one condition: if you donate it to the Jimmy Fund." And at that moment, the cloud of the disappointing and frustrating loss for Goffstown cleared just a little bit. And for those of us standing there, on a beautiful summer day in the middle of July, surrounded by our kids and our loved ones, knowing we'd all be back to play the game we love on Tuesday night, we were reminded once again that coaching and playing (and umpiring) Little League Baseball isn't truly about wins and losses. It's a lot more special than that.
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.