By Tris Wykes

WEARE, N.H. – Get used to seeing and hearing the name Nick Brill when future discussions turn to Lebanon High sports. Thursday, the rising sophomore tossed a two-hit gem for the city’s American Legion Post 22 junior baseball team, powering it to a 5-1 victory at Weare Middle School. 

Post 22’s Oliver Sperry dances to safety at first base. Copyright Octopus Athletics. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to ctwykes@aol.com.

The righthanded Grantham resident went the full seven innings, striking out seven foes and walking three while surrendering an unearned run. Brill threw 93 pitches while Post 22 built a 3-1 lead after four innings and scored its last two runs during the final frame.

“He’s been putting the work in,” said Post 22 coach Chauncey Wood, who figures to benefit from Brill’s growth during his springtime gig as Lebanon High’s bench boss. “He’s worked on his balance, which has helped his control and efficiency.

“If you can stay balanced when you reach the top of your delivery, that stops a lot of issues from cropping up.”

Shortstop Oliver Sperry, a Hanover High student, had two singles, as did Lebanon High’s Bennett Hewett. Holderness School student and diminutive, backup catcher Zander Doyle delivered a late, pinch-hit single that elicited rousing cheers from the visitors’ bench.

Brill, however, was the evening’s standout. Blessed with noteworthy speed, he was a constant breakaway threat as a JV soccer forward last fall and stole bases virtually at will for the Raiders’ JV baseball team this spring. Brill pitched for the latter squad, but struggled with control at times, so Thursday’s outing was an improvement.

Post 22 assistant coach Chris Bahara delivers a pep talk to Steven Rheaume. Copyright Octopus Athletics. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to ctwykes@aol.com.

“The next step for him is to establish a breaking ball,” Wood said. “He’s not really known for his pitching and that’s something he needs to add to his arsenal. He takes the game personally, though; he’s extremely competitive.”

Wood said playing baseball without Covid-19 restrictions is refreshing.

“We were stuck in our local pod all spring and it started to get stale,” the coach said. “The masks are gone and it’s great to get out and see some other teams around the state. It feels like baseball again.”

Notes: Weare is 0-2… The field was, to be generous, a rough track. The pitcher’s mound elevation might have been six inches, the backstop was literally three steps behind the catcher’s box and the infield dirt was so dry that any movement unleashed a cloud of drifting dust… Playing first base for Post 22 was Lebanon High rising junior Bodie Benoit, the younger brother of former Raiders infielder Kobe Benoit. The latter hopes to play for Plymouth State next spring… Post 22 assistant Chris Bahara has taken to cheering on player Freddie Mierke with the nickname “Freddie Mercury”, the name of the late singer of the rock band Queen. “No one knows who I’m talking about,” Bahara sighed.

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Post 22’s Nick Brill delivers one of his 93 pitches. Copyright Octopus Athletics. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to ctwykes@aol.com.