New Hampshire Hardball

Tides come up empty

The Northeast Tides and Peabody Champions engaged in a ferocious pitching and defensive battle for eight innings Thursday night in the decisive Game 3 of the North Shore Baseball League quarterfinals at Twi Field.

Neither the Tides nor the Peabody offense could find a way to generate that elusive first run in regulation innings as sixteen consecutive zeroes lit up the scoreboard before Peabody broke through in the top of the ninth and extended its season with a 4-0 victory.

Tides starting pitcher Matt Bergeron entered the game with a 5-0 record and threw 19.2 scoreless innings during the regular season, but didn’t get enough offensive support Thursday.

The Tides had a runner in scoring position in the third, fourth, sixth, seventh and eight innings, but couldn’t get that clutch and timely base hit to get a run across.

Northeast had four hits in the game and two of those came off the bat of catcher Jonathan Dube. Dube had the most consistent offensive series of the Tides regulars as he hit safely in every game and finished the series at .400 (4-for-10). Bryan Woolley and Drew Healey had the other hits. Healey continued to receive much in the way of respect from Peabody player/manager, Mike Giardi as he was intentionally walked four times in the last two games and was pitched around in his other at-bats.

Jordan Gosselin continued to be an on base machine for the Tides as he reached base in three of his four at-bats and added another stolen base.

The Peabody offense had its opportunities to cash in before the ninth inning but the Tides defense made some clutch plays. With runners on first and third and one out in the fifth inning, Bergeron induced a ground ball to shortstop, Keagan Calero, who smoothly fielded the ball, stepped on second and threw over to first for the inning-ending double play.

In the sixth, the Champions had runners on first and third and attempted a double steal to have the runner score from third. The Tides executed this play perfectly as shortstop Calero fired home as Dube held onto the throw and tagged out the Peabody baserunner on an aggressive slide at the plate.

The defense in the eighth inning proved to be even more dramatic for the Tides as Peabody had runners on second and third with nobody out but failed to score as Bergeron refocused, bore down and put out the flame.

Peabody finally broke through in the top of the ninth when it scored four runs, which led to a first-round upset and a trip to the league semifinals.

There’s reason for optimism for the Tides in 2021 as their roster is assembled of young, talented college players with plenty of collegiate eligibility left. The Tides players will grow more experienced between now and May of 2021 when they will embark on their second NSBL season with the goal of attaining the league champion title.

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