Goffstown - 28 July 2016: When your team slugs out 10 hits to the other team’s 3 hits, you’d think your team would win easily. Not so fast. Despite their best hitting performance of the season, Goffstown couldn’t seem to get off the field fast enough each inning to lock up a victory. But that’s ok. In this game, the losers had more fun.
Taking a “swing at everything” approach in an attempt to revive Goffstown’s hitting prowess from earlier this season, the team responded with passion and determination.
Max Bridgeman continued his personal pitcher-demolition tour, tearing the cover off the ball and going 3 for 3 with 2 singles and a triple. Reliable Harrison Neff (a single and a double) and Zachary Godette (single) did what they’ve been doing all year: racking up and adding hits to their season totals. Adrie Reeves kept her hit streak alive with her 3rd hit in the last 3 games, and Griffin Wilkinson broke out the bat and joined the hit parade with 2 monster hits (a hard hit single and a towering double down the 3rd base side).
It didn’t stop there. Connor Bernard played one of his best games of the season. Making a sensation unassisted put-out at his usual 1st base position, Connor also drove in a huge run in the 3rd inning with a base-loaded single which tied the game and fired up his team.
Owen Sereno and Brady Godette both added 2 walks, each lying off close inside pitches in a display of tremendous patience. And Levi Locke had a great at bat in the 3rd inning – with a quick two-strike count on him, he battled through numerous foul balls to work a walk and set up Connor for his game-tying hit.
Goffstown likely would have won the game going away (they out-played Manchester in nearly every phase of the game), but as a team, Goffstown allowed 16 walks in 4 innings. The walks, combined with excellent base running by Manchester turned out to be the difference.
But the pitching, or the loss, didn’t stop the fun, however. All those hits got the entire team pumped up. Even the outs Goffstown made were hits that Manchester had to field. Highest hit total of the season, lowest strike out total of the season. The dugout was alive with excited young ball players who couldn’t wait to get their turn again at the plate. No one cared about the score, just give me one more chance with a bat in my hand. Let me show you what I can do.
With all the joy and laughs, there was still one more awesome event to come. Late in the game with Manchester ahead, Connor Bernard got a surprise request from his coach. Without warning, Connor was abruptly pulled from his position and put on the mound to pitch, making his Little League pitching debut to the delight of his teammates and his family. And Connor delivered the goods! Only throwing six pitches as the game was ending, every pitch glided over the plate for a strike. Six pitches, six strikes. With one game left in the season, Connor looks to get a little more work handling the baseball on the hill, and everyone, including Connor himself, is looking forward to seeing what he can do.
And, of course, to getting one more chance to hit. Batter up!
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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.
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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.