PORTSMOUTH – Geoff Jablonski and the Portsmouth Booma Post 6 American Legion baseball team ended the 2021 New Hampshire tournament with five straight wins and took home the program’s first State Championship since 2008.
Jablonski is hoping the hot streak continues in this week’s Northeastern American Legion regional tournament.
“It’s still a bit surreal to have been able to win those five playoff games,” Jablonski said ahead of Monday’s practice at Leary Field. “We played against very good teams. It was a lot of fun, we’re state champions, and I can’t believe we made it, but here’s another tournament. We are trying to reach the World Series now.
The road to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina, later this month, begins Wednesday in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.
“We’re all very excited,” said Colin Marshal, an aspiring senior at Portsmouth high school who hit 0.444, the team’s third best, in the state tournament. “I think it will be a good experience for all of us, and I think we have a good chance to compete and win games. ”
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Booma will begin the eight-team double-elimination tournament on Wednesday, playing at Windsor Locks, Connecticut, at noon at Fitton Field, Holy Cross’s home baseball facility.
“I think it’s going to be pretty fun,” said Marshall, who earned a win and a save and a 1.00 ERA on the mound for Booma in the state tournament. “I think we have a good chance of winning a few games and maybe going to the national championships, which would be great.”
The other six teams in the tournament include Harrisburg, New York; Newport, Rhode Island; Bangor, Maine; Beverly, Massachusetts, Essex Junction, Vermont; and Shrewsbury, Mass., the host team.
The winner from New England will advance to the American Legion World Series. The last time a New Hampshire team qualified for the World Series was in Bedford in 2011.
“It had been a long time since a New Hampshire team made it through New England,” Jablonski said.
A win on Wednesday would see Booma play against the winner of Essex Junction and Shrewsbury on Thursday at 7 p.m. A loss on Wednesday would put Booma against Essex Junction or Shrewsbury on Thursday at noon.
Jablonski said Boden Driscoll, a junior left-handed moving to Portsmouth, will start on Wednesday. Driscoll had a perfect match in the seventh inning of the State Championship game against Nashua.
Booma lost in the championship game in his only other Northeast regional appearance.
“We hope to do them better,” Jablonski said.
Booma went 6-1 in the state tournament, falling into the loser category after a 4-2 loss to Nashua in his second game of the tournament. Booma won five straight games to win the championship, beating Dover (12-2), Keene (3-1), Laconia (9-7) and Nashua (8-5, 4-0).
“Once we fell (in the losing group), we only took one step at a time taking teams out as we went,” said Marshall.
Myles Sargent, a 2021 graduate of Portsmouth High School who will play baseball at the University of Maine, had a 0.379 percentage on base for Booma in the state tournament and played excellent defense from the standstill -short.
“(Sargent) is a silent leader,” Jablonski said. “He shows up, works hard and uplifts all the kids around him. Children see him working hard, and they work hard; it’s great to see.
Sargent had his last summer season before starting his college career.
“I can’t wait to be there,” Sargent said. “It was my last go-around with a lot of these guys I’ve played with for the past two years in Portsmouth. It was quite fun playing with them one last time. I think we fought pretty hard in the state tournament, and it will be a good challenge to see where we are and how we can play.
Other team members include Max Lalime (Portsmouth), Will Hindle (Portsmouth), Owen Fox (Phillips Exeter Academy), Bailey Wright (St. John’s Prep), Brandon Kady (Portsmouth), Devon Paquette (St. Thomas d ‘Aquin), Jake Carlisle (Portsmouth), Will Shaheen (St. John’s Prep), Arjay Sidney (Winnacunnet), Gavin Coates (Winnacunnet), Owen Moore (Portsmouth), Frank Krupp (Portsmouth), Finn Garside (Berwick Academy) and Damon Chase (Portsmouth).