Published in the July 7, 2016 edition


NORTH READING — Last summer, the North Reading A’s went 6-18 in the regular season. They squeaked in as the eighth-seed into the North Shore Baseball League playoffs and lost, two-games to one, to the top-seeded North Shore Phillies in the first round.

Nearly half the roster from that team is gone but 15 players returned when the season opened on May 23.

“We lost a lot, but the core 10 players from our team returned,” explained A’s player-manager Joe Dardeno, who is in his fifth year at the helm. “We have added some players from the start of the year who were playing college ball when our season started.”

After 14 games this summer, the A’s find themselves in eighth place again with a record of 5-9. However, North Reading has won the last two games heading into the July Fourth break beating Peabody, 6-5, on June 22, and Marblehead, 5-2, on June 25. Both of those wins came on the road.

“We have a full roster now and that has helped us,” pointed out Dardeno, who is also from North Reading.

Along with Dardeno (third base), the four other A’s from town are Rich Giannatassio (second base), Ben Harrow (utility), Matt DiVecchia (first and third base) and Jeff Mejia (left field). Mejia played on the North Reading High team that lost in the state title game a few weeks ago.

Harrow is not only leading the team but is also fifth overall in the league in hitting after 14 games with an average of .489. Second for the A’s is Mike Bailey who is hitting .314. Bailey also leads the team in runs batted in with seven. He also has the team’s lone homer so far.

Anthony Capurano leads the team in walks with six.

The A’s top pitcher is Anthony Lupi who is 2–2 with a team–low earned run average of 1.66. Bobby Barry is 2-1 with an ERA of 3.43.

After 14 contests, North Reading is ranked sixth out of 11 teams in hitting and seventh in pitching.

Dardeno feels that Beverly and Kingston (N.H.) will be the teams to beat in the league this summer. Kingston is the two-time defending champions.

On Friday night, the A’s host Malden. Next Monday evening, the A’s welcome Peabody. On July 13, Kingston comes to town.

All three games will take place at 6 p.m. at North Reading High School. Admission is free.