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Cal Ripken District 4 Tournament: 10s earn convincing triumph, 12s post dramatic comeback

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On opening night of the Cal Ripken District 4 Tournament at Fairbanks Park last Friday, conditions were splendid for a baseball festival. A massive volunteer presence had gotten the site ready with features such as a tent, grill, snack shack, bleachers, souvenirs, raffles and well-lined fields, and daylight on the warm June evening lingered well past 8 o’clock.

In the early game of 10-year-olds, Erik Leonard hit for the cycle and drove in eight runs as the hosts rolled to a 12-1 conquest of Mansfield on Collins Field. Even as Erik and the offense found their groove, hurler Scott Nosky (5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 67 pitches) and the fielders had similar success.

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In the top of the first the visitors grabbed a 1-0 advantage on an infield single, stolen base, fielder’s choice and sacrifice fly. Dedham responded with two runs in the home half of the first on a double by JoJo Powers, a single by Andrew Mercuri, two stolen bases and a single to right-center by Erik. Matt Ryan and Alex Georgantas followed with singles before the visitors got out of the jam.

In the top of the second Scott fanned a batter and JoJo fielded two grounders cleanly to render a single harmless. In the bottom of the inning Matt Zirilli led off with a single to center, and with one out Andrew doubled to right to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Scott drew a walk to load the bases, then Erik fulfilled the cleanup hitter’s role by connecting on a triple to right-center to make it 5-1. Matt R. walked and purposely started a pickle, allowing Erik to cross the plate before the former was tagged out. Alex walked to keep the rally going, but Mansfield escaped the inning with no further damage.

In the top of the third a groundout fielded by second baseman Liam Flynn with a throw to Erik at first helped strand a runner at second. Dedham added two more in the bottom of the frame on Liam’s single, Matt Z.’s fielder’s choice, Andrew’s single to left to load the bases and Erik’s double to left-center that rolled under the fence to make it 8-1.

In the top of the fourth Scott fooled two more opponents by strikeout, as he changed speeds to keep the green jerseys guessing. In the home half of that inning a single to left by Alex, followed by Jack Roslonek’s walk and a double steal set the table for Will Shuley. He drove in Alex on a fielder’s choice, then JoJo’s single up the middle plated Jack for a 10-1 lead.

Three substitutions on the diamond heading into the fifth helped the maroon jerseys stay fresh, as Will went to second, Maddie Friday to left and Shea Banks to right. Maddie made her presence felt by settling under a towering fly ball to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth Scott led off with a walk and took second before Mansfield reacted. Erik then rocketed a 2-1 offering over the fence in left-center for a two-run homer that ended the contest via mercy rule.

In the nightcap the 12s trailed most of the way but pulled out the win with an improbable rally in the last inning to edge Norton 3-2. Righthander Alex Cherry got the call and did not disappoint (6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 11 K, 91 pitches), going the distance and combining with the defense including outfielders Tyler Martel, Nolan FitzPatrick and Ryan Lahiff to give the offense a chance to figure out Norton’s talented hurler.

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The visitors got on the board in the opening frame on a walk, stolen base and single. But Dedham’s starter, teaming with battery-mate Shawn Nosky, shut the door by tossing nothing but strikes to the final two batters to retire the side.

The hosts threatened a few times in the first five innings but the purple jerseys were equal to the challenge. In the first Alex was hit by pitch, after which Ben Dean connected for a single up the middle but Norton got out of the inning unscathed. In the bottom of the second Peter Coughlin singled to left but the Norton defense tightened up.

In the bottom of the third Shawn drew a walk, then Ben D. hit a sharp single to left. The outfielder bobbled it briefly and Shawn tried for third then turned back but was nabbed at second on a solid play by the purple jerseys.

In the bottom of the fourth Alex fanned the first batter, shortstop Ben Shumway threw out the second hitter and Alex notched another K for a 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the frame Peter reached on a single but got no further.

In the top of the fifth new second baseman P.J. DeVirgilio made a smooth throw to Ben D. for an assist. That was all the help Alex needed, as he again whiffed two batters relying mostly on hard stuff and an occasional offspeed delivery.

In the top of the sixth Norton’s shortstop launched a solo four-bagger over the fence onto Rustcraft Road to make it 2-0, putting the pressure on the home team heading into their last at-bats. Alex began the rally by beating out an infield single. After a 6-4 putout Ben S.’s single put Ben D. at second.

With the ballgame on the line, Billy Casey connected for a single to right-center to cut the deficit in half at 2-1. With two outs Elian Rivera stepped to the plate. The Norton starter gained an 0-2 count, but on the next pitch Elian stroked a single up the middle to plate Ben S. and move Billy to third. Next up was Aidan Kelly, who hit a walkoff single to left to bring in the winning run.

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Written by shiretown99

June 22, 2013 at 10:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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