Published in the August 10, 2017 edition


NORTH READING – It all came down to one game for the North Reading Northeast Baseball team (ages 15-18) as they played host Lowell in the third game of their best-of-three finals last Thursday night at Shedd Park.

Lowell won game one at Shedd, 12-2, on July 31st. North Reading evened the series on Aug. 1st winning, 12-6, at North Reading High to set up this game.

However, North Reading ended up losing in heartbreaking fashion losing, 2-1, in nine-innings. The host scored the game-winning run with no outs on an error in the infield.

“Both teams played a great game,” said North Reading manager Marco Vittozzi.”We just couldn’t get the key hits.”

Ryan Connor was the losing pitcher finishing at 6-1. He went 8 + innings allowing only one earned run, five hits, two walks and he struck out eight.

“He deserved to win with the way he pitched,” stated Vittozzi.

Lowell scored its first run in the bottom of the fifth inning. North Reading tied it with two outs in the top of the seventh as pinch hitter, John Day, came up big with a RBI triple to right field to plate Matt Devendetho, who reached on a double.

Those two were two of the four North Reading finished up with.

Lowell was the top seed as they won the North division at 11-1. They finished at 17-3 overall as they beat Tyngsboro in the first round and Dracut in the second.

Third-seeded North Reading, meanwhile, finished 12-6-1 overall. They went 7-4-1 in the South division to finish in second place behind Billerica. They then Tewksbury in the first round and Wilmington in the second round.

In game two of the finals, Day was the winning pitcher going 4 1/3 innings. Joe Wallace then pitched the final 2 2/3 frames to preserve the victory.

“Our offense took advantage of their walks and batters they hit,” said Vittozzi,” We also had nine hits.”

Derek Reilly led the way going 2 for 3 and was also hit by a pitch to reach base three times. Dan Lignos and Marco Vittozzi Jr. were both 2 for 4 with two RBI each. Wallace walked with the bases plugged for one RBI with Alex Vercolen had an RBI single.

North Reading stormed out to a 9-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The scored once in the second and two more in the fourth. Lowell scored three times in the top of the third and once more in the forth.

In game one, it was Lowell who got off to the great start plating seven runs in the bottom of the first. They then scored three in the second and single runs in the third and fourth innings.

“They hit the ball well and were able to find the holes in our defense,” recalled Vittozzi, whose squad scored single runs in the third and fourth frames.

Alex D’Ambrosio was the losing pitcher going four innings. He gave up 12 runs.

The North Reading offense had only two hits in that game.

Overall, Vittozzi, who just completed his 19th season as manager, was pleased with the way his team performed this summer.

“The kids played great,” he stated. “Their attitude was fantastic and they did very well to make it this far.”

The Northeast Baseball season lasted nearly two months as North Reading’s first game took place back on June 11th.