CRVBL Crowns Claremont Cardinals as Champions
WALPOLE, NH -A thrilling 6-5 victory by defending league champion Claremont Cardinals over the Walpole Blue came down to the last out at Walpole’s Hubbard Park on Sunday, August 18. Before the game, a spectator who has been watching these players grow up said, “This is like Fall Mountain against Stevens all over again,” noting many players from the high schools attended.
The semi-finals that were played on the previous day saw 2nd seeded Walpole get by the 3rd seeded Sunapee Old Lakers 7-2 and the 4th seeded Cardinals besting the number one seed Chester/Saxtons Crush 6-1, which led up to today’s final. The game was very closely fought and ended on a double play with Walpole’s potential winning run picked off second. All games during this championship weekend were 9 innings long.
A well attempted V-shape of Canadian geese flew over the field right after the national anthem causing the announcer to call it a “Walpole flyover.” When I met a Claremont player before the game and asked him about his feelings going into this championship, he said, “They got their best pitcher and we got ours,” referring to Walpole’s Joey Parrott and Claremont’s John Nicholas. However, Parrott injured himself on the first pitch, according to Walpole Manager and league General Manager, Gary Dennis. Frank Brown filled in admirably and gave the Blue a chance to win the game. Meanwhile, Claremont’s Nicholas went the distance for the win.
The game featured good defense and again, went down to the wire. There was a feeling of excitement in the air as these well-matched teams did battle.
After the game, Claremont manager Gerry Thompson said he “felt fantastic. We never gave up even at our lowest point, we are family here and when you show up and play and respect the game, good things happen.”
Gary Dennis, Walpole’s manager, while clearly disappointed, said, “It was still a great season and one of the best competitive games in CRVBL finals history. Gary stated, “We expect 11 or 12 players to be coming back next season and it is a great fit of players. Thanks to all the supporters and see you next year!”
Walpole gave their fans a season to cheer about and the attendance at this game clearly showed the town’s support. The fans seemed to become a family watching and had something going on with Neal Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” A child on the Claremont side could be heard yelling, “Bring ‘em home dad.” This is truly family baseball at its best.
Thank you to Gary Dennis who not only is Walpole’s manager, but the Connecticut River Valley Baseball
League Coordinator as well and did a mighty fine job.