NRLL To Crown Three Champions, Hold 12-Year-Old Appreciation Game
Published in the June 15, 2017 edition
NORTH READING – The spring baseball season draws to an exciting close this weekend at Benevento Field as North Reading Little League will have championship games in three divisions as well as hold the 5th Annual NRLL/Tim Chaloux 12-Year-Old Appreciation Game.
It all starts on Friday as players in the Tee-Ball, Instructional, and Farm divisions participate in Field Day, starting at 5 p.m. Following Field Day activities, the Farm League title game takes place under the Benevento lights.
On Saturday morning, the Majors and Minors champions will be decided. The Diamondbacks and the Orioles will battle in Game Two of their Majors championship series, starting at 10:30 a.m. on field one. If a third game is necessary, it will immediately follow. Over on field two, the Minors finalists will battle in a winner-take-all affair.
The action continues on Sunday with the 12-Year-Old Appreciation Game, NRLL’s way of celebrating those players who are completing their small diamond careers while also remembering the life of Tim Chaloux, a former NRLL All-Star who died tragically five years ago when he was a senior at Pingree. Players are invited to arrive as early as 10:30 a.m. to play “Family Catch” before the game; first pitch is scheduled for 12 noon.
Recent NRLL action included the following results:
The Blue Jays toppled the Reds in the Farm League playoffs last Saturday afternoon. They were led by Owen Bouchie, who connected in all three of his at-bats, including driving in an important run in the fourth inning. Frankie Dearborn had one of his best days at the plate, keeping two innings alive with hits while being part of a key inning that produced three big runs for his team. He also was one of three catchers to anchor the plate for the Blue Jays, along with Bouchie and Brendan Nelson.
Christian Lava and Tyler “TB” Boviard flashed some leather that would have made Mel Allen proud and prompted a This Week in Baseball “How About That” play. On a hard hit ball, Lava made a nifty backhanded stop at shortstop and threw a bullet to first base. At first, “TB” took a major league stride and dug out the throw for the out.
Jack Gattuso enjoyed an outstanding game in the field, playing all over the infield and outfield, and Patrick McGaffigan did the same with a nice inning at second base and three good at-bats. Damion Pagliuca made big plays at pitcher and second base and continued his hot streak at the top of the order, while his brother, Vincent “VP” Pagliuca, was solid at third base and went 4-for-4 in the leadoff spot.
James Nelson came to play, and turned in a great game at pitcher, second base, and shortstop – notably making a nice play at second in the later innings to save a run. Dylan Harris was the general in the outfield and showed off the power swing that he has been working on with a nice hit in the fifth inning.
In the Majors semifinals, the Orioles prevailed over the White Sox in two straight games, including an 11-1 win in Game One of the series.
The Orioles’ bats were locked in right from the start. The first five batters reached base, with Alex Carucci (2-for-2, 2 runs scored), Craig Rubino (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored), Aidan Driscoll (2-for-2, 3 runs scored, 2 SBs), and Sam Morelli (2-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored) helping stake a 4-0 lead.
In the third inning, the top of the Orioles’ order was at it again. After Carucci led off with a walk, he was driven in on Rubino’s two-run blast.
Rubino also continued his dominance on the mound by striking out seven consecutive batters between the second and fourth innings. He was efficient on the evening, too, needing only 49 pitches to get through five innings of work. His final stat line read 5 IP, 1 H, 10 K’s – good for his second victory of the postseason.
The Orioles received some big plays in the field from Jonathan Mangano and Garrett Trentsch. Offensively, Anthony Corvino came through with two key hits and Brandon Eng smashed his first career home run in the fifth to pad the team’s lead. Eng then pitched an efficient sixth inning, striking out two batters to close out the game.
Prior to the start of the Minors playoffs, the Scrappers beat the Iron Birds, 9-3, to secure the top seed. The winning formula was once again solid pitching. Jackson Wesley started and went four innings, striking out eight and surrendering only three hits and three runs. Nick Torra entered in the fifth inning and delivered two no-hit innings of relief, striking out four and not allowing a run.
At the plate, Finn Rodger’s 3-for-3 game led the way, which included a triple down the left field line. The Scrappers also showed off some glove work behind their hurlers. Gavin Wesley made two outstanding catches at second base, ranging into right field on both of them. Zach Emery iced the game with a catch in center field on a deep bomb hit by the IronBirds’ Jason Curran.
The Scrappers had jumped out to a quick lead by scoring five times in the bottom of the first. Torra, Nick Santiago, and Jackson Wesley all had RBI singles, while Rodger delivered the big blow with his two-run triple. Ryan Stringer and Brendan Trentsch contributed to the offense with big hits throughout the game.
On the Big Diamond, Dante Centofanti went 3-for-3 with a home run and a double, and Matthew Capozzoli pitched five sparkling innings to lead the Rays past the Wakefield Nationals, 15-5, Monday night at Carey Park in the Senior Division Playoffs.
Centofanti led off the fourth inning with an inside-the-park homer to right-center field, a shot that came after driving in runs with a first-inning single and a second-inning double as the Rays rallied from an early 3-0 deficit.
Ryan Babcock also laced three hits, including a double, and Andrew DeBenedetto and Ryan Connor had two hits apiece. On the mound, Capozzoli allowed just two hits and struck out five after inheriting a bases-loaded situation in the opening inning.
With the win, the third-seeded Rays improved to 8-4 and advanced to the Middlesex Big Diamond League semifinals, where they will face either Lynnfield or the North Reading Yankees.
The Rays gained momentum for the playoffs by winning their final three regular-season games. The run started with a 17-5 win over the Woburn Angels. Trailing 4-2, the Rays put up 10 third-inning runs to seize control. Capozzoli drove in two runs and earned the win on the mound (4 IP, 2 H, 1 K, 1 ER), DeBenedetto had two hits and three RBI, and Ryan Veneziano contributed two hits and two RBI.
In an in-town battle against the North Reading Yankees at the Hood School, the Rays held on for a 5-4 victory. Veneziano started on the hill and pitched six strong innings, walking just one and striking out eight. He also swatted a three-run home run over the left field fence that snapped a 1-1 tie in the third inning. For the Yankees, Dan Lignos, Chris Gwozdz, Will Carpenter, and Demitri Boulas had doubles.
The Rays closed out the regular season by defeating the Wakefield Red Sox, 12-2, last Thursday. Cam Randazzo launched a pair of doubles, Connor had three hits, and Centofanti contributed two RBI and threw a pair of shutout innings.