Last men standing: With Wednesday win, Hollis/Brookline is last undefeated varsity squad in NH
DURHAM - Two parts pitching and one part defense has been the Hollis/Brookline baseball team's recipe for success for most of the season. Now the Cavaliers are adding offense to the mix.
An 11-run third inning carried Hollis/Brookline to a 13-6 triumph over Oyster River on Wednesday.
The victory improved Hollis/Brookline's Division II record to 6-0. The Cavaliers are the only unbeaten varsity baseball team in the state.
"We've pitched well and we've played pretty good defense," Hollis/Brookline coach Ryan Coulter said. "If you look at our scores, we're not scoring a lot of runs. Our pitchers are keeping us in games.
"We hit the ball better today than we have all season. There's some guys who just haven't hit yet. Hopefully this will help us get the bats going."
The Cavaliers hadn't scored more than five runs in any of their previous five games, but held their opponents to seven runs in those five contests. Four of Hollis/Brookline's opponents have failed to score more than one run.
Coulter said pitching depth is the team's clear strength. The Cavaliers have three starting pitchers and four relievers, all of whom pitched in meaningful innings last season. Tim Rencken allowed four runs on five hits in four innings to collect the win Wednesday.
"We returned most of our pitching," Coulter said. "I'm very confident if we get to Round 2 or Round 4 (of the Division II tournament) our No. 2 pitcher is as good as anybody else's."
Center fielder Mitch Frick provided much of the Hollis/Brookline offense. Frick collected three hits and four RBIs. He also drew a walk in the 11-run third.
The Cavaliers also received three hits from Shea Whalen.
There were early signs that it wasn't going to be Oyster River's day. The Bobcats had to replace starting pitcher Luke Finnachario four batters into the game after he was hit in the right (pitching) arm by a line drive. Oyster River coach Craig Walfield said Finnachario is sore, but will be fine.
Aiden Short and Tim Stringer each had two hits for Oyster River, which fell to 4-5. The Bobcats have lost five of their last seven.
"Hollis/Brookine always has a very sound baseball team," Walfield said. "They usually play very good defense and get good pitching. I know they have been hitting much, so I guess today was not indicative of the way they've been playing.
"There's a lot of parity out there this year, but there were three or four teams I was concerned about coming into the season and they were definitely one of them."