MELROSE Little League’s 10-year old All-Stars end their post-season run at the state tournament in the championship round.
12-Year Williamsport All-Stars
Sectional Pool Play vs. Dorchester
July 21 at Sacramone Park in Everett
Melrose’s Michael Martin was the starting pitcher in the first game of the Section Three tournament. Martin worked fast and effectively, fanning the first three Dorchester batters he faced. In the bottom of the first, Melrose pushed 1 run across as Brody MacMaster singled, Robert Pino got on via fielder’s choice. Nate Geer hit a ground rule double down the right field line to score Pino.
Martin again overpowered Dorchester in the top of the second, walking one and recording three more K’s. The bottom of the second was quick. Jay Dennison led off with a single. Liam O’Brien got on via fielder’s choice before Dot defense snagged a hard hit off the bat of Martin to execute a 4-6-3 double play.
In the top of the third, Dot got two runners on: one HBP and one defensive error. Neither would advance. Thomas Santoriello would relieve Martin with two outs in the inning. In all, Martin would face 10 batters and strike out seven. Pitch counts and availability is a huge component of this tournament.
In the bottom of the third, Melrose bats woke up. Anthony Kiatos led off with a single and would get forced out at 2nd by a MacMaster fielder’s choice. Pino stung a triple to score MacMaster. Geer stepped in next and went yard for two runs and his 2nd home run of the tournament. Repici would then single with Picariello following suit scoring Repici. Brian Fogarty and Jack Ludlow both kept the inning alive each with a fielder’s choice. Thomas Santoriello would battle but go down swinging to end the 3rd.
In the top of the fourth, Santoriello K’d the side. Dorchester was still scoreless. It was 5-0 Melrose going into the bottom 4th. Justin Santoriello popped up to third, MacMaster lined out to shortstop, Pino doubled to left, Geer popped up to the mound to end the fourth.
Dorchester got a single among two walks to load the bases in the top of the fifth. Dorchester bunted successfully to push their first and only run across home plate.
In the bottom of the fifth, Repici would pop up, Picariello singled then was forced out at second via Dennison fielder’s choice. Liam O’Brien then knocked in Dennison adding some insurance, now 6-1 Melrose.
Santoriello was relieved in the sixth due to pitch counts. Finishing with 7 k’s of his own. Picariello would finish this off getting the last two outs and preserving the win for Melrose.
Sectional Pool Play vs Needham National
July 22 at Sacramone Park in Everett
Chris Repici would start for Melrose. First batter went down looking. Two of the next three batters would score off a couple Melrose miscues with a walk sprinkled in.
In the top of the second, Repici fanned the 7th, 8th and 9th batter of the Needham order.
In the bottom of the second, Repici would lead off with a single but get caught stealing third; Picariello and Dennison would end the inning in order for Melrose.
In the top of the third, Needham would scrape together another run with their “small ball” and “bunt and run” style of baseball. In the bottom of the inning, Liam O’Brien would single to start the inning. Justin Santoriello drew a walk and Anthony Kiatos singled to score O’Brien. The inning ended with Needham 3, Melrose 1
In the top of the fourth, Needham batted around and scored four during a less than sharp inning for Melrose on defense making it 7-1. In the bottom of the fourth, Repici singled to start the inning. Nicholas Picariello struck out then Brian Fogarty and Jack Ludlow walked to load the bases. Thomas Santoriello would strike out leaving Michael Martin up with the bases juiced.
Martin had a sharp hit ball toward second that hit base runner Ludlow to end the rally.
Repici would be relieved by Liam O’Brien. Needham would add another two in the top of the 5th making it 9-1. In the bottom of the inning, Melrose would not give up. MacMaster hit a lead off triple and scored on a Pino single. Geer continued to rake at the plate and went yard for his 3rd dinger of the tournament. Repici, Picariello and Dennison went down consecutively to end the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, Needham added four more, extending their lead to 13-4.
Sectional Pool Play vs Brookline
July 23 at Sacramone Park in Everett
Brookline won the coin toss and elected to be the visiting team. This move foiled Melrose best opportunity to gain ground on the tiebreaker, “runs against”. Nate Geer would start the game. Brookline went down 1,2,3 in the top of the first with one strikeout. Then, MacMaster went down swinging, Pino walked, Geer singled, Repici K’d and Picariello grounded out to end the first.
In the second, Brookline went down in order again. Geer was working efficiently and effectively.
Then, Dennison singled, O’Brien grounded out, Martin got hit by a pitch and Ludlow grounded out to end the second.
In the top of the third, Brookline again went down in order with their 7, 8, and 9 batters. On the reverse, MacMaster led off with a single, Pino flied out. MacMaster scored off a Geer triple down the right field line. Repici would get hit by a pitch, then Picariello hit a sacrifice fly to center field with Geer tagging up to score. Brian Fogarty would ground out to end the third.
In the top of the fourth, Melrose up 2-0, Brookline would get their first hit of the game but nothing more.
In the top of the fifth, Brookline would threaten, getting two runners aboard via a single and walk. Geer would record his 4th, 5th and 6th K to retire the side.
In the next inning, Melrose would get three more runs. MacMaster led off with a single, Pino followed with a single, Geer lined out to second, Repici hit with a fielder’s choice scoring MacMaster and forcing Pino out at second. Jay Dennison would continue with a hot bat and single to score Repici. O’Brien then grounded out to end the inning, 5-0 Melrose.
Geer was in good shape with pitches to finish this game. In the top of the sixth, the first two Brookline batters grounded out and flied out. The third batter singled and the 4th batter homered to cut the lead. Geer struck out the last batter to hang on to the victory. And it ended 5-2 Melrose.
This win did not push Melrose through to the championship game. Melrose, Needham and Brookline all ended with 2-1 records but Melrose had the highest “runs against” and the journey ended. Needham would beat Brookline in the championship and advance to the State Tournament in Gloucester starting July 29. One of these teams will emerge and go to the Regional Tournament in Bristol CT. This where all the New England States winners battle to see who gets to represent our region in Williamsport.
As coach Matt Repici said, “So many things have to align to be successful in this tournament. So much luck needs to bounce your way to advance. So proud of the effort my team displayed… no regrets. Little league is over for this coach and these boys… the big diamond awaits.”
10-Year Old All-Stars
The Melrose Little League 10 year old all star team competed in the Massachusetts final four state championship on July 24 in Andover, MA. They were the first 10 year old squad to advance that far and just the fourth Melrose team to advance to the state championship round.
The Section 3 champion Melrose played the Section 2 winner Swansea Little League at the Blanchard Complex. Melrose was shorthanded as Declan Flaherty was out of the lineup with a hand injury and Reid Sterling was unavailable due to family commitments.
Swansea got off to a quick start with the first three batters getting hits and jumping to a 2 run lead. Melrose starter Charlie Recinito settled in and struck out the side to leave the bases loaded for Swansea.
Swansea tacked on another run in the top of the 3rd to take a 3-0 lead. The Melrose offense gotrolling in the home half of the 3rd inning. Mason McLean led off the inning with a base hit, followed up with hits by Christian Fogarty and Cooper Anderson that resulted in Melrose tying the game at three.
Bryce Phillips caught the entire game for Melrose holding runners from advancing as well as having 3 hits at the plate. Connor Barrington played first base and had several nice picks off the dirt to secure outs for Melrose. Adam Rasner who was all effort and hustle during the playoff run as he played a strong outfield for Melrose. Parker Sarata who led the team in hits during the playoff run stepped in to play left field on Saturday. Ben O’Donoghue smoked a ball to third base that the Swansea defender made a great play to rob a hit and end the inning.
Swansea got a run in the 4th inning to retake the lead. Calvin Hoag came into pitch in the 5th inning and threw gas to get out of a jam, stranding a Swansea base runner. Melrose threatened in the 5th inning with 3rd baseman Chase Cameron reaching and big bat Rocco Motroni blasting a deep double to tie up the game.
Swansea squeezed in a run in the sixth inning to take a one run lead. Melrose’s first two hitters made outs to start the bottom of the 6th. The Melrose second baseman slapped a base hit followed by the catcher advancing him to third base to give the home team a chance. The Swansea pitcher threw a wild pitch, the Melrose runner at third broke for home, the ball bounced off the backstop back to the Swansea catcher who dives to apply the tag for the controversial third out of the game. Swansea gets the 5-4 win.