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Northbridge Ends Legion Season with Playoff Berth

The Northbridge legion baseball team overcame a lack of depth and experience on its roster to earn a postseason bid this summer, and Post 343 manager Dave Meech said he was impressed with the way his group was able to battle over the course of the year.
"We beat [eventual Zone 4 champion] Shrewsbury, we played Leominster tough, but when you only have 12 guys your pitching is going to be thin," Meech said. "But we only had 12 or 13 guys and they showed up every day, they all improved, and they competed."
Northbridge finished the regular season 9-15 overall, earning the eighth and final playoff spot in a zone that is traditionally among the deepest and most competitive in the state. Post 343 fell to Leominster 5-2 in the opening game of the double-elimination tournament. A 6-4 setback against Grafton Hill brought the campaign to a close.
"It was about what I expected. I expected around 10 wins or so with all the young guys we had," Meech said. "They did really well."
Among the key cogs driving Northbridge's success this year was Nipmuc's J.P. Lucier. The number three hitter in the lineup through most of the summer, Lucier hit .309 this season, including four doubles, a home run and a team-leading 16 runs batted in.
A sore arm limited Lucier's time on the mound, Meech said, but he is hopeful that will change next season. "We did not throw him much," the manager said, "next year we think he will be able to throw more and contribute more on the mound."
Oxford's Dave Meech led the team in hitting with a .404 clip. A total of 12 of the 13 players on this year's roster are eligible to return next season.
Among this year's highlights included Post 343 out slugging Shrewsbury 16-13 in a game in late June and playing well enough to fend off other would-be playoff teams down the stretch. Northbridge swept a doubleheader against Sturbridge and Main South on the final day of the season to hold off challenges from Sturbridge and East Side. The latter two teams finished just two games behind Post 343 in the standings.




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