Top-ranked DS baseball team upset by preseason favorite

Stacy Harrison photo

MANCHESTER, NH – Spurred by the play and leadership of its six seniors, the Derryfield School baseball team earn a 14-1 regular-season record to enter the Division-IV playoff tournament as the top seed, where they rode a 13-game winning streak through a 7-2 first-round victory over 16th-ranked Mascenic Regional High School on Thursday.

That run, however, came to an end in heartbreaking fashion in the D-IV quarterfinals Saturday where Derryfield lost one if its key cogs in midst of a 3-1 loss to No. 8 Littleton (13-5).

“We lost to a really good team that was the preseason number one,” said Derryfield manager Kevin Gray. “Littleton has nine seniors and played a great game. It was an amazing game and a great atmosphere.”

A fourth-inning injury to senior standout Alex Comire, who fractured his hand sliding into home plate, may have changed the course of the game.

“He had just pitched four shutout innings and is the heart and soul of our offense,” said Gray. “At that point, it was a 0-0 game and we kept battling with a lot of heart.”

Stacy Harrison photo

The visiting Crusaders took a 3-run lead in the fifth inning before Derryfield responded with a run in the sixth on a triple from Owen Clemans that plated Keith Townsend.

That was all the Cougars could get going as Littleton pitcher J.P. Perez stifled the the home team’s bats, striking out nine during a complete-game effort.

“We had a difficult time putting the ball in play against him,” said Gray. “Both teams played some amazing baseball yesterday, but unfortunately, we came out on the losing end.”

Of course, losing Comire certainly didn’t help.

“It was absolutely gut-wrenching to see Alex Comire, our senior captain, sitting on the bench in pain with our trainer,” said Gray. “He plays the game with such heart and passion, and to be sitting there, helpless, in the final game of his high school career was tough.”

Following the contest, Gray lamented the end of his team’s magical run.

“This was a dream team to coach because of those six seniors,” he said.

In addition to Comire, Gray and company now bid farewell to Jack Steward, Owen Clemans, Zach Martin, Alex Drake and Rachael Irving.

“The coaching staff will be forever grateful for their dedication and leadership,” said Gray.

See a picture you like? These Stacy Harrison photos and more are available for viewing and/or purchase.