Home Run Bulldogs are state champs

The Home Run Bulldogs U13 baseball team captured the New Balance Select League New Hampshire State Championship in June. (GINA SALADINO PHOTO)

CONWAY — The Home Run Bulldogs U13 baseball team closed the book on an exciting summer of baseball last Saturday when it competed in the prestigious New Balance Select League New England Regional Championship. The Bulldogs, who hoisted the New Hampshire State Championship on June 27, were one of seven teams from Maine, Massachusetts and the Granite State in the hunt for the regional crown.

The local nine came up just short, falling 5-4 to the Coastal Riptide Teal at Blouin Field in Sanford, Maine. Coastal Riptide qualified for the regionals as the New Balance Select League Maine State Champions.

“It was a good game,” Greg Allain, coach of the Bulldogs, said by phone on Wednesday. “Both teams played well. We played from behind the whole game and just ran out of innings.”

He added: “They were bummed afterward, it was their first loss in the last 12 games. We played really clean baseball for the better part of a month. The coaches and parents are all proud of how well they played, competed and represented the program. They have a lot to be proud of. We brought home three trophies in June.”

Home Run won not only won the New Hampshire State Championship on June 27, by rallying from 7-2 and 9-5 deficits to defeat the Merrimack Valley Prospects 10-9 at Rolfe Field in Concord but also won the Capitol City Challenge in dramatic style with a walk-off win on June 13 in Concord and the Bulldogs Summer Classic at Nasby King Field at the American Legion Post 46 in Conway on June 6.

Members of the Bulldogs (27-8-1) are Alex Allain, Jacob Brown, Jayden Butler, Matt Charrette, Bryce Downing, Serghio Espezua, Jacob Eveleth Jr., Sawyer Hussey, Justin Louis, Quentin Moore, Logan Ramsey, Owen Robertson and Jack Saladino along with Coach Greg Allain, Assistants Jim Hidden and Jeff Locke and team scorer Darrell Louis

The Bulldogs fell behind 2-0 to the Coastal Riptides but trimmed the deficit to 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning.

“We got two really quick outs in the fifth,” said Allain. “They got a base hit that bounced off the third-base bag and then got back-to-back runners on when we had throws to first that drew the first baseman off the base. Then they got a hit to go up 5-1.

In the sixth, the Dogs scored three times to pull within 5-4. In the seventh, Home Run got the lead runner on with a single and then successfully stole second base, but advanced no further.

“It wasn’t meant to be,” Allain said. “This group has come from behind a lot and never gave up. As a coach, I couldn’t be prouder. We had a tough draw. Everyone that was in the regional was good and deserved to be there.”

The Coastal Riptides (25-5-1) advanced to meet the Northeast Longhorns (26-8) in the semifinals later in the day Saturday. The Longhorns won 8-3 to move on to the championship game.

The Longhorns reached the semis by topping the Tewksbury Chiefs (15-4-2), 9-0 in the first game of the day at Blouin Field.

In the other bracket, played at North Common Field at the Ashland Middle School in Ashland, Mass., the New Hampshire runner-ups Merrimack Valley Prospects (16-8-2) beat the Maine Coastal Storm (25-6) 8-0 to advance to the semifinals and played the MWS Devils (25-9).

The Devils beat the Prospects 9-1 to advance to Sunday’s championship game at Memorial Field in Concord.

The Longhorns took the title with a 10-5 victory.

The Home Run Bulldogs are already looking ahead to 2020. Tryouts for the 10U and 12U teams (player age as of May 1, 2022) are this Saturday at the Nasby King Field at American Legion Post 46 on Tasker Hill Road in Conway from 1-3 p.m.

Tryouts for 13U, 14U, 15U and 17U (player age as of May 1, 2022) are this Sunday at the Nasby King Field from 1-3 p.m.

To register for the tryouts, go to tinyurl.com/s9ttm9v5.

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