WESTMINSTER — Two days after a longshot named Rich Strike shocked the world by finishing first in the Kentucky Derby at 80-1 odds, Jamison Nystrom’s wild trip around the bases was almost as unlikely.
In the third inning, the leadoff hitter was nearly picked off twice, was running for his life on three different occasions, and seemingly traveled the race’s mile-and-a-quarter distance, before eventually going out of the baseline when avoiding a tag near third.
It was about the only mistake that Nystrom made during the Bellows Falls varsity baseball team’s 11-2 victory over Windsor on Monday at Hadley Field.
“It was a stellar performance,” BF coach Bob Lockerby said of his hurler. “We have been stressing pitching instead of just throwing. ‘Jamo’ threw a lot of breaking balls and was changing speeds.”
After giving up two hits and two runs in the top of the first, Nystrom pitched six straight one-two-three frames. He finished with eight strikeouts.
“Our defense, for being such a young team, played very well,” mentioned the winning skipper.
Jack Cravinho (SS) showed off his strong arm three different times. Jesse Darrell (2B) made a nice play to his right. Outfielders Patrick Barbour and Walker James each made a spectacular catch.
Barbour also went 3-for-4 to lead the attack. Nystrom finished with two hits, while Jeb Monier, Cole Moore, Jake Moore, Eli Allbee and James all had a knock. Cravinho contributed with an RBI sacrifice fly.
Trailing 2-1, the Terriers rallied for three runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good. Nystrom led off by taking one for the team, which was the beginning of his long adventure on the base paths. Windsor pitcher Johnny Clark threw behind him at first and later second, but the speedster was able to advance each time on a wild rundown. When Nystrom finally reached third safely, he tried to score as the ball rolled into foul territory and then decided to turn back as the catcher received a throw just in front of him, only to be called out for dodging a tag and going way outside the baseline after choosing to slam on the brakes and make another bid for the plate.
Monier would double to right and eventually score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
You would have thought the tired Nystrom might struggle on the hill in the fourth, however he blew a 3-2 pitch by cleanup hitter Charles Palmer, then let his defense take care of Dalton Clifford and Lee Bevis.
“Nystrom and Cravinho have been excellent on the mound for us over the last five or six games,” Lockerby explained.
The Terriers (7-3) would put it out of reach with a four-run fourth frame.
“Just stay within yourself: line drives and ground balls,” the first base coach said to Nystrom as he got ready to face reliever Adam Dufour with a runner on second.
Nystrom had other ideas, burning left fielder Richie Young with an RBI double. Allbee would later contribute with a run-scoring single.
Windsor’s lineup: Adam Dufour SS, Maison Fortin RF, Johnny Clark P, Charles Palmer C, Dalton Clifford 1B, Lee Bevis 3B, Austin Gauld CF, Richie Young LF, Gavin Martin DH (for Ryan Connelly 2B)
BF’s lineup: Jamison Nystrom P, Jack Cravinho SS, Jeb Monier CF, Cole Moore 3B, Eli Allbee C, Jesse Darrell 2B, Patrick Barbour LF, Jake Moore 1B, Walker James RF