Boynton Middle School baseball team takes third title in a row

The Boynton Middle School baseball team.

The Boynton Middle School baseball team. COURTESY PHOTO

By BEN SHIPPEE

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 06-14-2023 2:14 PM

The Boynton Middle School baseball team won its third consecutive Division 4 championship in Nashua June 8 over St. Christopher’s Academy in a 4-2 extra-inning nail-biter.

The Bulldogs started the season under new head coach Doug Nichols, who had the team hitting their stride at the right time.

“The team really came together after a rocky start in the semifinal game” said Nichols. “Down 4-1, a big rally started on a base hit from Emmitt Nichols and that got the boys going to bat through the order.”

With everyone contributing, they carried that momentum into the final game. Boynton and St. Christopher’s took the diamond in a rematch of last year’s final, only this time it was in Nashua.

The home team threatened early in the bottom of the first loading the bases on three walks with two outs, but came up empty. The Bulldogs’ offense struggled early with their first seven batters retired. Brody Honeywell broke the ice in the third with a one-out hit, but a strikeout and a fly out left him stranded.

After 3⅓ innings Tallan Rosenlund left the game (no runs, one hit, six walks, one strikeout on 66 pitches), replaced by Parker Ketola (two runs, five hits, four walks, six strikeouts on 94 pitches). Ketola held the Wildcats off the board until the sixth, when a pair of doubles allowed St. Christopher’s to plate their first run and take the lead.

In the seventh, Honeywell led off by reaching on an error and stealing second. A pinch-hit walk of Evan Sallila, who was then pinch-run by with Preston Krook, had the Bulldogs threatening with speed on the bases and no outs.

A passed ball from the relief pitcher put Bulldogs at second and third, but a groundout and strikeout had the Boynton season on the line. Down to their final out, down 1-0, Grady Krook came through with a single, driving in two runs to take the lead and flip the pressure back to the Wildcats’ offense.

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St. Christopher’s answered with a leadoff single and a pair of stolen bases in the bottom of the seventh put the tying run at third, and single forced extra innings.

The top of the ninth brought the top of the order for Boynton, and Ketola reached on an error then scored on a one-out single from Krook. A stolen base and two passed balls later, Krook found his way to the plate made it 4-2.

The bottom of the ninth lived up to the drama, as a one-out walk followed by a double and another walk had the bases loaded and put the Wildcats in a great position. With the pitch count looming Ketola got a timely three-pitch strikeout for the second out of the inning and a second-pitch fly out to Braeden Michaud in right field to end the game.

“The championship was an epic battle with great pitching and defense from both teams,” Doug Nichols said. “The boys kept fighting.”

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