What does it take to win a state championship? Among many things, it takes dedication, teamwork, talent, hard work, a good attitude, coaches who know the game and how to coach it, supportive family members, sometimes a little luck and everyone buying into the vision established by the league and coaching staff. The Berlin-Gorham 12-and-under Cal Ripken all-star baseball team must have had those things going for them as they captured the championship in the recently held N.H. State Cal Ripken Baseball Tournament in Epping.

To add to the complications of winning a title, there were a few rain-outs, lots of travel — 2½ hours from Berlin — pitching counts and work schedules for coaches and parents. Finally, since this was a double-elimination tournament, a team does not want to lose the first game early as it becomes a long road to the finals if a team even gets that far.

As reported here last week, Berlin-Gorham won their first game of the tournament 4-0 over Belmont and then proceeded to lose their second game to Kingswood 13-8, a team they had beaten earlier in a tuneup game for the state action. In that game they were originally outscored 11-0, before they came back with an 8-2 run to make it close.

To even get to the finals, where they would have to beat the team from the winner’s bracket twice, would include winning three more games and then those two in the finals, which includes traveling to Epping probably every day for a week.

Well, the Berlin-Gorham team did the next-to-impossible, winning five games in a row, outscoring their opponents 36-10, (48-23 overall) to become the state champs.

It started in the third game of the tournament, also previously reported on, a nice 4-0 win over Lebanon. Next on the agenda was a 12-4 win over Belmont, with Cooper Ladd pitching four strong innings, allowing three runs, on four hits while striking out seven. Max Moore and Jaxson Vallie closed things out on the mound. Cooper was 3 for 4 at the plate with a whopping five RBI, Nolan Lavigne was 2 for 3, Max Moore with two hits, with singles going to Brody Croteau, Andrew Albert, and Mason Johnson. Berlin-Gorham made it three in a row with a semifinal 5-2 triumph over the team that defeated them earlier, Kingswood. Nolan Lavigne was superb on the hill, giving up the two runs on two hits while striking out 10. Evan Ladd, Lavigne, Cooper Ladd and Brody Croteau all chipped in with singles.

Then it was on to the finals against the undefeated team from Gilford, and the locals wasted no time offensively scoring six runs in the first inning and two runs later, winning 8-2. The Ladd brothers did the job on the mound with Cooper Ladd going four innings, giving up just one hit and two runs. Evan Ladd continued to keep the Gilford bats quiet, surrendering just one hit in two innings of relief. Ten hits came off the bats of Max Moore who was 3 for 3, Nolan Lavigne 2 for 2, Cooper Ladd 3 for 4 and Evan Ladd 2 for 4. Brody Croteau and Andrew Albert also had key hits in the win.

In the second game against Gilford, the boys from Berlin-Gorham brought home the championship with a 7-2 win, thanks in part to a very solid performance on the mound by Owen Lapointe, evidenced by two runs, four hits and five K’s. Jaxson Vallie was 2 for 4 at the plate, Evan Ladd, 2 for 3, with Max Moore and Cooper Ladd adding doubles. The locals came out strong scoring runs in each of the first three innings.

Head Coach Doug Lavigne said: “The players, parents and coaches definitely showed a dedication and commitment to baseball over the past couple of weeks. Aside from having one bad inning against Kingswood, the players stayed laser focused on doing what we had to do to win, and again it was led by a combination of strong pitching, defense and timely hitting. Hopefully, we can take that effort to the Regionals this weekend, which will take place at Memorial Field in Berwick, Maine, from July 16-23.” Berlin-Gorham will open up with a game on Saturday, July 17, beginning at 1:30 p.m. against Connecticut. Teams competing include two from Maine, two from Connecticut, Berlin-Gorham, representing New Hampshire, as well as teams from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Best wishes for much continued success for the kids and coaches from Berlin and Gorham, who won the state championship and are competing in the Regionals for the first time ever for a Berlin-Gorham team at the 12-and-under level.

On another baseball note, Berlin Post 36 Junior Legion Coach DJ Johnson was recently notified by the American Legion Commissioner that he has been selected to be one of the coaches for the College Showcase games coming up on July 20 at Gill Stadium in Manchester. There will be 150 college and Major League Baseball affiliates in attendance at the showcase games. Three local players have been selected to participate in those games — Carter Poulin, Brody Labounty and Henry Shaw.   Congratulations to all four of those guys for the honor of being selected to such a prestigious opportunity.

Have a good day, thanks for making mine, Derek Gagne!

To add to the complications of winning a title, there were a few rain outs, lots of travel — two and a half hours from Berlin — pitching counts and work schedules for coaches and parents. Finally, since this was a double-elimination tournament, a team does not want to lose the first game early as it becomes a long road to the finals if a team even gets that far.

As reported here last week, Berlin-Gorham won their first game of the tournament 4-0 over Belmont and then proceeded to lose their second game to Kingswood 13-8, a team they had beaten earlier in a tuneup game for the state action. In that game they were originally outscored 11-0, before they came back with an 8-2 run to make it close.

To even get to the finals, where they would have to beat the team from the winner's bracket twice, would include winning three more games and then those two in the finals, which includes traveling to Epping probably every day for a week.

Well, the Berlin-Gorham team did the next-to-impossible, winning five games in a row, outscoring their opponents 36-10, (48-23 overall) to become the state champs.

It started in the third game of the tournament, also previously reported on, a nice 4-0 win over Lebanon. Next on the agenda was a 12-4 win over Belmont, with Cooper Ladd pitching four strong innings, allowing three runs, on four hits while striking out seven. Max Moore and Jaxson Vallie closed things out on the mound. Cooper was 3 for 4 at the plate with a whopping five RBI, Nolan Lavigne was 2 for 3, Max Moore with two hits, with singles going to Brody Croteau, Andrew Albert, and Mason Johnson. Berlin-Gorham made it three in a row with a semifinal 5-2 triumph over the team that defeated them earlier, Kingswood. Nolan Lavigne was superb on the hill, giving up the two runs, on two hits while striking out 10. Evan Ladd, Lavigne, Cooper Ladd and Brody Croteau all chipped in with singles.

Then it was on to the finals against the undefeated team from Gilford and the locals wasted no time offensively scoring six runs in the first inning and two runs later, winning 8-2. The Ladd brothers did the job on the mound with Cooper Ladd going four innings, giving up just one hit and two runs. Evan Ladd continued to keep the Gilford bats quiet, surrendering just one hit in two innings of relief. Ten hits came off the bats of Max Moore who was 3 for 3, Nolan Lavigne 2 for 2, Cooper Ladd 3 for 4 and Evan Ladd 2 for 4. Brody Croteau and Andrew Albert also had key hits in the win.

In the second game against Gilford, the boys from Berlin-Gorham brought home the championship with a 7-2 win, thanks in part to a very solid performance on the mound by Owen Lapointe, evidenced by two runs, four hits and five K's. Jaxson Vallie was 2 for 4 at the plate, Evan Ladd, 2 for 3, with Max Moore and Cooper Ladd adding doubles. The locals came out strong scoring runs in each of the first three innings.

Head Coach Doug Lavigne said, "The players, parents and coaches definitely showed a dedication and commitment to baseball over the past couple of weeks. Aside from having one bad inning against Kingswood, the players stayed laser focused on doing what we had to do to win and again it was led by a combination of strong pitching, defense and timely hitting. Hopefully, we can take that effort to the Regionals this weekend, which will take place at Memorial Field in Berwick, Maine, from July 16-23."   Berlin-Gorham, will open up with a game on Saturday, July 17, beginning a 1:30 p.m. against Connecticut. Teams competing include two from Maine, two from Connecticut, Berlin-Gorham, representing New Hampshire, as well as teams from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont. 

Best wishes for much continued success for the kids and coaches from Berlin and Gorham, who won the State Championship and are competing in the Regionals for the first time ever for a Berlin-Gorham team at the 12 and under level. 

On another baseball note, Berlin Post 36 Junior Legion Coach DJ Johnson was recently notified by the American Legion Commissioner that he has been selected to be one of the coaches for the College Showcase games coming up on July 20, at Gill Stadium in Manchester. There will be 150 college and Major League Baseball affiliates in attendance at the showcase games. Three local players have been selected to participate in those games, including Carter Poulin, Brody Labounty and Henry Shaw.   Congratulations to all four of those guys for the honor of being selected to such a prestigious opportunity.

Have a good day, thanks for making mine, Derek Gagne!

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