The Merrimack High School baseball team has found a way to win through adversity this spring. The team has won 13 straight games, including a 2-0 semifinal win over Nashua North on Thursday.
The Tomahawks’ last two wins have come without head coach Ryan Anderson, who was sitting out a suspension for being ejected in the team’s preliminary round win against Alvirne of Hudson.
And it appears that if Merrimack wants to claim its first Division I baseball championship since 2007, it will need to do it again without Anderson.
Merrimack Superintendent of Schools Marge Chiafery confirmed Friday night that she accepted both Anderson’s resignation and Athletic Director Andy Krahling’s resignation prior to the start of Thursday’s semifinal game against North. She would not comment further on the situation.
A source close to the team said that the resignations came after the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association was considering the possibility of having Merrimack forfeit its semifinal contest because Anderson made an appearance during his suspension at Gill Stadium before Merrimack posted a 6-1 quarterfinal win over Exeter.
Anderson participated in his usual pregame routine with the team before leaving Gill Stadium prior to the umpires taking the field.
According to the NHIAA rulebook, any coach who is disqualified “... shall not participate in the next two scheduled interscholastic athletic events...” Furthermore, according to the rulebook, “any coach who is disqualified and participates in the next scheduled interscholastic athletic event, including NHIAA tournament contests, will cause that school’s game or event to be forfeited in the event of a win.”
Said Anderson, when reached Friday night, “It’s an administrative decision at this time. I don’t have any comment.”
NHIAA Executive Director Pat Corbin said “I have no comment on the matter. It’s a Merrimack school district personnel matter.”
Attempts to reach Krahling were unsuccessful Friday night.
Acting head coach Jim Davala said that he has not been informed of any administrative decisions. “I’m just trying to keep the ship upright,” Davala said. “I’m working together with the players and assistant coaches Mike Shupe and Kevin Moyer and trying to keep everyone focused on next Saturday. Right now we’re concentrating on good pitching and good defense.”
Davala, who has been an assistant to Anderson for the past 10 years, said the team has adjusted to adversity.
“These kids have done a lot of growing up,” he said. “We started 0-3 and then 3-5, dealt with a few big injuries along the way and a lot of rescheduled games. They’ve just been finding ways to win.”
Davala said that Anderson was arguing a call in the preliminaries when he was ejected. “Coach Anderson stood up for a call that could have gone either way. He voiced his opinion and did what he felt he had to do. The umpire did what he felt he had to do.”
Third-seeded Merrimack will face top-seeded Concord next Saturday at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium at 4 p.m. in the title game.