Royals taking steps to make baseball more viable for future

Mascoma’s Cayden Marquay (7) waits to catch the ball as White Mountains’ Danny Stinson (12) slides back to first base during a varsity baseball game at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, N.H., on Thursday, May 23, 2024. White Mountains won, 14-1. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Mascoma’s Cayden Marquay (7) waits to catch the ball as White Mountains’ Danny Stinson (12) slides back to first base during a varsity baseball game at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, N.H., on Thursday, May 23, 2024. White Mountains won, 14-1. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report for America photographs — Alex Driehaus

Mascoma players shake hands with their White Mountains opponents at the end of a five-inning varsity baseball game at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, N.H., on Thursday, May 23, 2024. White Mountains won, 14-1. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Mascoma players shake hands with their White Mountains opponents at the end of a five-inning varsity baseball game at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, N.H., on Thursday, May 23, 2024. White Mountains won, 14-1. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Mascoma’s Sam Wilson (5) reaches to catch the ball as White Mountains’ Ian St. Cyr (8) runs to first base during a varsity baseball game at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, N.H., on Thursday, May 23, 2024. White Mountains won, 14-1. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Mascoma’s Sam Wilson (5) reaches to catch the ball as White Mountains’ Ian St. Cyr (8) runs to first base during a varsity baseball game at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, N.H., on Thursday, May 23, 2024. White Mountains won, 14-1. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news / report for america — Alex Driehaus

Mascoma head coach Britt Lewis, right, first bumps his players as they leave the diamond after fielding during a varsity baseball game against White Mountains Regional High School at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, N.H., on Thursday, May 23, 2024. White Mountains won, 14-1. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Mascoma head coach Britt Lewis, right, first bumps his players as they leave the diamond after fielding during a varsity baseball game against White Mountains Regional High School at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, N.H., on Thursday, May 23, 2024. White Mountains won, 14-1. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

By TRIS WYKES

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 05-24-2024 4:16 PM

WEST CANAAN — There are plans to raise the necessary funds for scoreboards at the Mascoma High baseball and softball fields. The Royals have played those sports for decades without all spectators being sure of who’s winning at what stage of a game.

Thursday, however, there wasn’t much need of such a device on the baseball diamond. It was clear from the start that the hosts were absorbing a pounding by White Mountains, with the five-inning final coming in at 14-1.

The Spartans are 13-3 in defense of last season’s NHIAA Division III title and have shut out 10 opponents during their last 16 regular-season games. Mascoma ends its season at 4-12, a one-victory improvement over last season.

White Mountains snapped Monadnock’s 43-game winning streak in the 2023 title game and is 31-5 during the last two years. It also won state crowns during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Second-year Mascoma coach Britt Lewis is happy to have had enough players for a JV schedule this spring, the first such squad in years.

“We’ve improved drastically the last couple of years,” said Lewis, who stepped into a 2022 breach on an interim basis when the head coach was fired, helping that team limp home with a single victory. “At one point, we had a soccer player in center field who’d never played this sport. Had never swung a bat.”

Mascoma starter Brodie Goulette allowed nine hits and 14 runs, all but one earned, while striking out two Spartans, walking five and hitting one in 4⅔ innings.

He surrendered a pair of Noah Covell home runs and a triple that hit the top of the fence. White Mountains stole six bases.

“We have confidence in Brody, and he was doing a relatively good job,” Lewis said. “They just hit the ball well.”

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Mason Ballard had the Royals’ lone hit. The hosts struck out seven times, including three looking during the fifth inning, and walked four times.

Lewis, whose previous baseball coaching experience was with a U14 team in his native Texas, said he’s worked to instill excitement and accountability in the Royals, who have dealt with substantial coaching turnover during the last decade.

Mascoma played with only two seniors but seven juniors Thursday, and Lewis said there’s work being done to reinvigorate baseball at Indian River Middle School.

“The kids have to want it,” Lewis said. “You can’t coach participation, and you can’t coach effort. The kids have to bring those.”

The Royals had only one or two pitchers two years ago, Lewis said. Now he feels comfortable with as many as seven, a necessity during northern New England’s condensed, three-games-a-week season.

Throw in a JV slate and the program might face six contests in seven days with 22 players.

“We’ve been fighting the lack of a feeder program,” Lewis said, noting that the area has a newly formed summer baseball team for teens.

“We need a long progression for our youth in this sport and to get more parental interest and involvement.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.