Nashua – Top-seed Daniel Webster opened the NECC Championship tournament with a late eighth-inning rally to top fourth-seeded Elms, 8-7 while third-seeded Newbury broke a 6-6 tie with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning and held on for an 8-6 victory over second-seeded Becker Friday at Harvey Woods Field.
The wins set up an Eagles-Nighthawks matchup scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday in the winners bracket, while Elms and Becker play an elimination game at 10:00 a.m. The winner of Elms-Becker and the loser of Daniel Webster-Newbury will face off in a second elimination game at 4:00 p.m.
The tournament concludes on Sunday beginning at 11:00 a.m.
In the opener, the host Eagles (22-17) broke the all-time program record for victories in a season set two years ago, scoring a pair of unearned runs in the eighth to come back from a 7-6 deficit. Rookie Ryan Dupont (Merrimack, N.H.) reached and went to second on a one-out error, and scored on Erick Bordeau's (Alton Bay, N.H.) single to tie it.
After Nate Marshall (Groveton, N.H.) flied out, Josh Chasse (Haverhill, Mass.) singled to right to score Bordeau for the eventual winner.
Korey LeLievre (Hudson, N.H.) came on in the ninth to pick up a one-hit save, making a winner of reliever James Harvey (Nashua), who moved to 1-0.
Kyle Brigham (Hudson, N.H.) and Tyler Bonin (Litchfield, N.H.) knocked in two runs each for DWC. Bonin, Bordeau, Elliot Kilgore (Milford, N.H.), and Darrik Marstaller (Spofford, N.H.) each had two hits.
Anthony Pagano (Cranston, R.I.) and Donny Morse (Alfred, Maine) knocked in two runs apiece for the Blazers (13-22). Brady Forrest finished 3 for 5, while Morse, Steve Fisher (West Boylston, Mass.), Rey Rivera (San Juan, P.R.), Nico Iavicoli (Hampden, Mass.), and Felix Montalvo (Carolina, P.R.) had two hits each.
John Russell (Springfield, Mass.) took the loss (1-4).
Elms built a 3-0 lead after two as Fisher tripled to lead off the game and scored on a Pagano sac fly in the first, while a Forrest RBI single to score Iavicoli and an Andrew Kravontka (Manchester, Conn.) sac fly pushed Montalvo across in the second.
DWC tied it in the third on a Brigham two-run doubled plating Kilgore and Marstaller and Brigham later came home on a double steal.
The Eagles pushed the lead to 6-3 behind a Marshall sac fly RBI in the fourth and a Bonin two-run double in the fifth. But Newbury rallied with three unearned in the top of the seventh which included a Pagano RBI double, and Morse run-scoring single.
Newbury would retake the lead in the top of the eighth as Fisher launched a one-out double and scored on a Morse two-out single, setting up the late Eagle rally.
In the nightcap, Newbury (22-19) scored two runs as part of a five-hit rally in the top of the ninth to top the Hawks.
Matthew Clawson (Tolland, Conn.) sizzled, going 4 for 5, clubbed a three-run homer in the second, and added the eventual game-winning single in the ninth to knock in four and added a save with a scoreless ninth on the mound. Michael Dean (Wethersfield, Conn.) added a 3 for 5 day, while Steven Broy (Gorham, Maine) added two hits including a two-run single in the first.
Mike Marcello (West Haven, Conn.) helped the Becker cause with three RBI while Joseph Corey (Billerica, Mass.) had two hits.
Reliever Zach Griesche (Niskayuna, N.Y.) picked up the win (2-1) for Newbury in relief of starter Chris Ninteau (Lisbon, Conn.) while Clawson allowed just one walk in the night for the save.
Tony Cantalupo (DePere, Wisc.) was touched for the loss (1-4) in relief of starter Jeff DiLorenzo (Coventry, R.I.).
The Nighthawks plated three in the top of the first as Patrick Curry (Hampstead, N.H.) single through the right side of the infield, scoring Michael Dwyer (Hamden, Conn.) and Broy later singled to score both Clawson and Curry.
The Hawks (19-20) answered with three in the bottom of the frame when Marcello ripped a bases loaded single into right, scoring Eric Lajoie (Oakham, Mass.) and Weston Meehan (Thomson, Ga.). Tom Natoli (Suffern, N.Y.) also scored on a throwing error by the Newbury first baseman, making the score 3-3.
The Nighthawks retook the lead in the top of the second inning on Clawson's third of the season, a three run bomb to deep left, for a 6-3 game.
Becker chipped away in bottom of the fourth as Todd Tompkins (West Haven, Conn.) hit a two out RBI single to center, scoring Tony D'Addio (West Haven, Conn.) from second.
Tompkins came up big again for the Hawks in the bottom of the sixth when he scored Corey with a two out single to right, and the Hawks tied it when Tompkins took off from first on a delayed steal. During the theft attempt, Tompkins stayed in a run down between first and second, allowing Lajoie to scamper home from third base with the tying run.
Newbury rallied in the ninth as Clawson hit the first pitch through the left side, scoring pinch hitter Joey Herer (Needham, Mass.) from third. Newbury added an insurance run when Alex Chetelat (Farmington, Conn.) single to left, scoring Dwyer.
2012 NECC Championship Tournament
Friday, May 4
Game 1: at (1) Daniel Webster 8, (4) Elms 7
Game 2: (3) Newbury 8, (2) Becker 6
Saturday, May 5
Game 3: Elms vs. Becker, 10:00 a.m. (Elimination game)
Game 4: Daniel Webster vs. Newbury, 1:00 p.m.
Game 5: Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Loser (Elimination game), 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 6
Game 6: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, 11:00 a.m.
Game 7: If necessary, 3:00 p.m.