District I champs
Salem walks off into NH finals
John Olivo watches his homerun sail for the fence. (BRUCE TAYLOR/UNION LEADER)
Salem second baseman John Palardy crosses second in front of Bedford runner Evan Schwartz to initiate a double play during the game's first inning. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)
Salem advanced to the best-of-three state finals at Manchester Central Little League. Salem will face District II champion Rye in Saturday's opener at 4 p.m. Game 2 is set for Sunday at 5 p.m., and a third game, if necessary, will be Tuesday, July 23, at 5:45 p.m.
"This is a great example of our kids believing in each other. It was a great job by the kids not to quit," said Salem coach Dean Borrelli. "These kids stayed in there and fought the whole way."
In the third, Salem took its first lead of the game when Nick Robertson hit a grand slam well over the fence in center field to make it 6-5. Scoring on the slam were Olivo, Matt Soldano and Jake Emerson. Delaney followed with a solo homer to make it 7-5 Salem after three.
Those runs came off Olivo, who had come in to pitch to open the fifth. He was able to close the door after Bedford tied the game at 7-7 and pitched a one-two-three sixth to set up his heroics at the plate in the bottom of the frame.
"I said it would be a different outcome. They're a good team and they hit the ball well," Destafani said. "We hit the ball well, too. But they had the timely hits and that was the difference. I think they'll do well against Rye."