New Hampshire Hardball

Players needed for HR Derby

#2 Peabody Champions vs #4 Northeast Tides

Game 1: Aug. 4 at Twi Field (Danvers, Mass.) 7:30 p.m. 
***Game 2: Aug. 5 @Gill Stadium (Manchester) 7 p.m.
Game 3: Aug. 7 @Twi Field (Danvers, Mass.) 5 p.m.
Game 4: Aug. 8 (TBA) if necessary
Game 5: Aug. 9 (TBA) if necessary

*** Game 2 will be the featured event of the New Hampshire “Three States Unite To Fight For Mental Health and Substance Abuse Awareness” campaign as organized by Seacoast Youth Services, The Phoenix and Northeast Tides Baseball. Admission to the event is free, however donations are encouraged. The event will begin at 4:45 p.m. with a welcome introduction by public address announcer Sherm Chester.
A prize-awarded Home Run Derby competition will kick things off followed by a pivotal Game 2 semifinal battle between the Tides and Champions as both teams are fighting for a trip to the NSBL Finals, where they will face either the North Shore Phillies or Beverly Recs in a best-of-seven series. There are still spots open for the HR Derby. There is no charge to enter, but you must be at least 18 to participate. Those interested should contact Tides manager Scott Bleakley at or call 603.370.0168

Both the Tides and Champions are coming off first-round two-games-to-one series wins against their respective opponents, the North Shore Storm and the Manchester Marlins. The first two games of the Champions-Marlins series could not have played out in more dramatic fashion.

Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 1, the Champions scored two to win the game in walk-off fashion. The game winning hit came off the bat of Peabody’s Zach Keenan.

Game 2 proved to be even more riveting as the never-say-die Marlins came back from an early 6-0 deficit to eventually tie the score 6-6 and take this game into extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th, Manchester’s Tim Unczur led off the inning with a walk off home run.

Perhaps more impressive than the walk-off homer is that Unczur pitched 9.2 innings of relief in this game and threw 146 pitches.

The deciding game looked like it was going to be another nail-biter as the score was 0-0 after three-and-a-half innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Peabody scored three times in the bottom of the fourth and added three runs in the bottom of the fifth. The Champions ended up winning this game 8-2.

Nolan Hills was the leading hitter for Peabody in the series as he batted .500 (6-12).

The Northeast Tides and North Shore Storm also met for a deciding Game 3 with the Tides prevailing in a 7-0 shutout win.

Shaun Cormier threw six scoreless innings in another clutch pitching performance by the right-hander from Rochester and New England College.

This first-round series also featured the resurgence of Tides center fielder Ryan Coleman, who hit two home runs and had 4 RBIs in the final game. Coleman was consistent in all three games as he batted .833 (5-6) with four runs scored, two walks and three stolen bases.

This semifinal series is not the first time that the Tides and Champions have met in the NSBL postseason. In 2020 — the Tides inaugural season — they surprised everyone by earning the No. 1 seed in the playoffs for having the best overall record in all of the NSBL during the regular season.

Almost as shocking was the fact that the Champions, the powerhouse team of the NSBL, almost didn’t make the playoffs in 2020 and qualified as the  No. 8 seed.

The reality of postseason baseball is that all playoff teams start out 0-0 and in this case, Peabody proved that their regular season struggles were not an accurate representation of what their team was really capable of. They disposed of the Tides in an elimination Game 3, which was described as an “Instant Classic” game to those that were there.

In that game, Tides pitcher Matt Bergeron went head to head with Peabody starting pitcher Peter O’ Connell and then two additional Peabody relievers as Matt matched them zero for zero for eight-plus innings.

In the top of the ninth, the Champions were finally able to break through against Berg and the Tides as they scored four runs that inning while the Tides bats went silent again in the bottom of the ninth, ending their season.

Peabody proved they were not done yet by beating a talented Rowley Nor’Easters team in their 2020 semifinal series.

Peabody then faced the Kingston Night Owls in the championship series and fell just short in their playoff run as Kingston beat the Champions in a deciding Game 7.

As always with the Peabody Champions, some things change year to year, however most things seem to stay the same. Here are some of the notable offense and pitching regular season performers from the 2022 Peabody Champions squad.

Infielder, Jon Cahill:

The 44-year-old Cahill might have found the “fountain of youth” judging by his 2022 statistics. The one time Anaheim Angels prospect batted .403 (29-72) during the regular season and had 13 RBIs. Cahill played in 23 of the 24 regular season games.

 Infielder, DJ Pacheco:

Pacheco is a St. John’s Prep graduate who is coming off a terrific sophomore season at the University of Richmond. Pacheco batted .290 with 3 HR and 27 RBIs for the Spiders this past Spring.

First baseman, Nolan Hills:

This Fitchburg State Falcon had a tremendous rookie summer for Peabody as he batted .319 (22-69) with 1 HR and a team leading 16 RBIs. Hills also led the team with seven doubles.

Pitcher Scott Weismann:

This 32 year old veteran has logged many innings for Peabody since ending his professional baseball career in the Chicago Cubs system. Prior to being selected in the MLB draft by the Cubs, Weismann pitched collegiately at Clemson University. Weismann finished 1-0 with Peabody in the regular season with a ERA of 1.15

Pitcher Tyler Fitzgerald:

Fitzgerald led the Peabody pitching staff with most regular season innings pitched. He finished the season with a 4-0 win/loss record and had a 2.22 ERA. Fitzgerald has pitched collegiately at Salem State, Keene State and SNHU. He also has previous pitching experience in both the NECBL and Futures League.

 Pitcher Zach Begin:

Begin led the Champions in most pitching appearances and finished with a 4-1 record and a 2.25 ERA. Begin pitches at Wheaton College in Norton Mass. He transferred from St. Joseph’s College of Maine. Begin also has previous pitching experience in the Futures League with the North Shore Navigators and the Pittsfield Suns.


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