WWW.NRLL.ORG: Jr. & Sr. League News/Recaps
2017 MBDL Junior and Senior Schedules, Results, and Standings
For the latest on the Middlesex Big Diamond League, please visit the official MBDL website:
Sunday, March 11
North Reading Little League to compete in the MBDL in 2018
For North Reading youngsters ages 13-16, there’s a great opportunity to “Play Ball” this spring.
North Reading Little League is again participating in the Middlesex Big Diamond League (MBDL), a fun and competitive league involving six area towns: Lynnfield, North Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Wilmington, and Woburn. North Reading is a founding member of the league, which is now in its sixth year.
The MBDL is a sign-up league – meaning it’s open to anyone who’d like to play – and is divided into a Junior Division (for ages 13 and 14) and a Senior Division (ages 15 and 16).
“We want to make sure youngsters know their Little League careers aren’t over once they leave the Small Diamond,” said NRLL president Eddie Madden, who helped formulate the multi-town concept back in 2012. “The MBDL is the perfect way for those who love the game to continue playing it competitively with their friends while developing their skills and representing their town.
“What makes it even better is that the league is separated into two divisions, so youngsters are facing age-appropriate competition,” continued Madden. “The league has been a success and you can see that in how it’s grown since its inception. Towns are looking to offer quality baseball to this age group, and the MBDL provides it.”
The Junior Division targets players coming off the Small Diamond and those preparing for high school baseball, while the Senior Division is made up primarily of high school freshmen and sophomores. Players on the freshman and junior varsity teams are encouraged by the coaching staff to play in the MBDL as a way to supplement their high school experience, and the league’s games are scheduled to avoid conflicts with high school contests.
Both the Junior and Senior divisions have a 14-game regular season that runs from early April through early June, followed by a short playoff involving all the towns. North Reading’s home games take place at Carey Park and at the Hood School, while away games are no more than a 15-minute ride.
Registration for the Middlesex Big Diamond League is now open at www.nrll.org. The price is $225 for ages 13-15, while 16-year-olds are invited to play for just $45. It’s NRLL’s way of saying thank you to those youngsters who have “grown up” in the program and are completing their Little League careers. Players are encouraged to sign up ASAP as teams will be formed later this month.
Also, as the result of a generous donation from the Red Sox Foundation, North Reading Little League is offering spikes for just $10 each to any player who signs up. Registered players will be contacted by NRLL in the coming weeks with more information.
North Reading Little League offers fun, instructional, and competitive baseball programs for boys and girls ages 4-16. For more information and to register for the spring season, visit. www.nrll.org.
Monday, June 26
Yankees Reach MBDL Senior League Title Game
The 7th-seeded North Reading Senior Yankees played the best baseball of their season by winning three games in a row on the road to the Middlesex Big Diamond League championship game.
Sunday, June 11: Yankees 8, Stoneham Phillies 0
The Yankees first playoff win was against the Stoneham Phillies with Jimmy Currier starting on the mound with six shutout innings and picking up 9 strikeouts for the 8-0 win. Demitri Boulas started the seventh inning and protected the shutout with 2 more strikeouts. The runs started for the Yankees in the fourth inning with doubles by Dan Sweeney, Storm Davis and Chris Gwozdz. Gerry Callagy and Dan Lignos crossed the plate in the fifth after they both singled and Aidan Wyatt knocked them in with a double. Dan Hornby lead of the sixth with a single and scored off of a Gwozdz hit (3 for 3). Gwozdz then scored the eighth run for the Yankees off a Currier sacrifice fly to center.
Tuesday, June 13: Yankees 7, Lynnfield 4
The Yankees traveled to Lynnfield to face the #2 seeded team in the league and won behind 5.2 efficient innings pitched by Alex Wallner, impressive defense and a seven-run fourth inning. In the first inning the Yankees defense came through by preventing a run with a perfectly executed relay from the outfield. Will Carpenter quickly fielded a bouncing ball off of the left field fence to relay it to Chris Gwozdz at third base who threw a laser to catcher Gerry Callagy to drop the tag at the plate for the out. In a unique second inning situation the pitchers for the Yankees changed where Wallner the starter went to Shortstop and Gwozdz was required to pitch to one batter and efficiently struck out the Lynnfield batter on three pitches. Dan Hornby then had a great defensive play for the second out of the inning going across his body to field the ball at second base to then throw out the runner. For the third out Carpenter made a terrific running catch to end the inning. The Yankees defense remained solid in the fourth behind Demitri Boulas who fielded a hard hit ground ball at shortstop, stepped on second base and then threw to first for the double play. The Yankee Bombers scored their seven runs in the fourth inning with seven hits in the inning with Alex Waller and Gerry Callagy reaching base twice in the inning. Boulas came in for relief and pitched an inning and a third with 4 total strikeouts to close out the game.
Friday/Saturday, June 17/18: Yankees 7, North Reading Rays 6
The Yankees won the North Reading playoff match-up which took two days to finish due to the rain on Friday night. The lead-off hitter Jimmy Currier started the game off with a single to left field and the lower seeded Yankees came out swinging to pull in five quick runs. Dan Lignos and Aidan Wyatt each hit hard singles and Chris Gwozdz reached on an error to load the bases. Will Carpenter then cleared the bases with a deep shot to right field that ended him up on third base with a triple. Carpenter then crossed home after a single by Demitri Boulas. Starting on the mound for the Yankees was Alex Wallner who went four innings and sat down seven Rays via the K, including striking out the side in the bottom of the fourth. The Rays did chip away at the score starting in the first with a leadoff triple by Joey Frammartino who then scored off a hit by Ryan Connor. Mario Perrone scored in the second behind a double from Andrew DeBenedetto and then Connor scored in the third. In the top of the fifth inning Gwozdz drew a walk and eventually scored the sixth run of the game for the Yankees just before the hard rain started to fall postponing the game to Saturday. On Saturday the Yankees and Ray picked up where they left off but now playing in Worburn as the winner moves on to face the Worburn Tigers for the MBDL Championship. Both teams made it an exciting game with Frammartino leading off with a hit and eventually scoring to bring the game to 6-4. The Yankees picked up another run in the top of the seventh with a double by Will Carpenter and single from Storm Davis. The Yankees used a combination of pitchers (Currier, Boulas, Lignos, Callagy) in the 3 innings of work on Saturday as the Rays looked to come back for the win. Ryan Veneziano and Matt Capozzoli both got hits in the bottom of the seventh. With two additional runs scored, and Capozzoli and Zach Rinaldi on base with two outs Gerry Callagy was able to force the last Rays batter ground out to get the 7-6 Yankees nail-biter of a win. Either side deserved to move on to finals to represent NR once more against the rival Woburn Tigers.
Saturday, June 17: MBDL Championship Game – Woburn Tigers 11, Yankees 1
The NR Yankees fought hard against the stacked #1 seed Woburn team that lost one game all season but were not able to bounce back later in the day on Saturday for the win in the Championship game. Jimmy Currier and Demitri Boulas took the mound for the Yankees and combined for five strikeouts. In the fourth inning Dan Lignos singled and was driven home by a monster hit to the fences by Gerry Callagy for a standup triple. The Yankees played as a team and supported each other on the field in the Championship game including injured Yankee player Matt Solecki stepping in as assistant coach. The team can be proud to represent North Reading in the Middlesex Big Diamond League Championship and playing with respect to the game.
Monday, June 12
Rays Win Quarterfinal Contest
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 Middlesex Big Diamond League Senior Playoffs.
Centofanti led off the fourth inning with an inside-the-park homer to right-center field, 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.
The Rays took the lead with a five-spot in the bottom of the first as they got eight straight base hits – by Ryan Connor, Centofanti, Ryan Veneziano, Capozzoli, Zach Rinaldi, Cam Randazzo, Mario Perrone, and DeBenedetto. They tacked on six more runs in the second inning, with Connor and Centofanti picking up their second hits of the night.
With the win, the third-seeded Rays improved to 8-4 and advanced to the MBDL semifinals, where they will face either Lynnfield or the North Reading Yankees.
Monday, June 12
Rays Make A Run Into Senior League Playoffs
The North Reading Rays stormed to victory in their final three regular-season games, finishing 7-4 and claiming third place in the Middlesex Big Diamond League standings. That earned the team a first-round bye.
The run started with a 17-5 win over the Woburn Angels. Trailing 4-2 after two innings, the Rays put up 10 third-inning runs to take control. Matthew Capozzoli drove in two runs and earned the win on the mound (4 IP, 2 H, 1 K, 1 ER), Andrew DeBenedetto had two hits and three RBI, and Ryan Veneziano had two hits and two RBI.
In a rematch against the North Reading Yankees, the Rays held on for a 5-4 victory at the Hood School. Veneziano started on the hill and pitched six innings, walking just one and striking out eight. He also swatted a three-run home run that snapped a 1-1 tie in the third inning. Dante Centofanti had a pair of hits and drove in a run in the victory. For the Yankees, Dan Lignos, Chris Gwozdz, Will Carpenter, and Demitri Boulas had doubles.
The Rays then closed out the regular season by defeating the Wakefield Red Sox, 12-2. Cam Randazzo launched a pair of doubles, Ryan Connor had three hits, and Centofanti contributed two RBI and threw a pair of shutout innings.
Tuesday, May 23
Yankees Clip The Cardinals
The Senior Yankees clipped the wings of the Wilmington Cardinals with a final score of 13-3 in five innings of play at Wilmington High School on Sunday afternoon.
The bats started to fly early for the Yankees in the first inning, netting 3 runs behind doubles by Matt Solecki and Chris Gwozdz and singles by Aiden Wyatt and Jimmy Currier. In the second inning, the Yankees picked up 5 more runs behind hits by Alex Wallner, Michael Vittozzi, Wyatt, Gwozdz and Currier.
Wallner went the distance on the pitchers mound and was helped by strong defense throughout the game. He had a 1-2-3 inning in the third aided by a heads-up throw from right field to first by Gerry Callagy to catch the unsuspecting runner. In the fourth inning Wallner pitched to four batters and benefitted from a well-executed relay started by Wyatt in left field to catcher Vittozzi, who swipped the tag on the Cardinals runner to end the inning. In the fifth, Wallner struck out the leadoff batter, and Matthew Capazzoli fielded consecutive groundballs at third base and made the throws to first for outs to end the game.
Currier, Gwozdz and Vittozzi all had three solid hits during the game.
Saturday, May 13
Senior Rays Rule Over the Phillies
Ryan Veneziano had a triple and a double to drive in four runs, and Joey Frammartino fired four strong innings to help guide the Senior Rays to a 13-3 triumph over the Stoneham Phillies Saturday afternoon at Carey Park. Matthew Capozzoli went 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBI, and Andrew DeBenedetto chipped in with two hits and two RBI for the victors.
The Rays jumped out quickly, scoring three times in the first inning – with Capozzoli, DeBenedetto, and Mario Perrone all generating RBI. And they blew things open with a seven-run second inning. After Frammartino walked and Dante Centofanti was hit by a pitch, Veneziano rocketed a ball to the wall in left-center for a double that plated two runs. Capozzoli, DeBenedetto, and Zach Rinaldi added run-scoring hits before the inning was through.
On the mound, Frammartino kept the Phillies off the board until the fourth inning. He yielded just one hit on the day, walked two, and struck out seven, including setting down the side in the third inning. Centofanti came on to pitch the fifth, striking out two batters.
In the bottom of the fifth, Frammartino started a one-out rally with a walk and Centofanti was safe on a bunt. Veneziano brought them both home with his triple to left-center, and Capozzoli's single to right plated the game's final run.
With the win, the Rays improved to 4-2 on the spring.
Monday, May 1
Yankees Bounce Back In A Big Way
Matt Solecki had an outstanding day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a single, double, and two-run home run over the left field fence at the JT Hood School as the Yankees took down Lynnfield, 13-2, on Sunday afternoon. The Yankees started to rack up the runs in the second inning with seven consecutive hits producing five trips across home plate, then tacked on six runs in the fourth inning to take control of the game.
Will Carpenter legged out a triple to open the fourth, which was followed by RBI doubles from Alex Wallner and Gerry Callagy. Everyone on the team got in on the hit parade with 19 hits over the five-inning affair. Dan Lignos went 3-for-3 on the day with Wallner, Callagy, Carpenter, Aidan Wyatt, Demitri Boulas, and Jimmy Currier all having multiple hits against Lynnfield.
Currier took the mound for the game and came out strong "pitching to contact" throughout the afternoon and trusting in his defense. Both Storm Davis and Chris Gwozdz had multiple putouts from third base and shortstop and Carpenter stayed busy at first base. Currier was in control the entire game, highlighted by back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the second and third. He walked only one batter and struck out three over five innings of work.
Sunday, April 30
Rays Shine In Weekend Battles
Rays 12, North Reading Yankees 2
Rays 8, Wilmington Nationals 4
On Saturday at Carey Park, the Rays tripped up the Yankees, 12-2, in the first of two meetings between North Reading's in-town Senior League teams. Matthew Capozzoli threw five efficient innings – yielding just four hits and striking out four – to pick up the victory while adding a double and a single to aid his own cause.
Ryan Venezaino had a pair of doubles among his three hits, the first of those a shot that stayed inside the third base line to plate the Rays' first run and the second a one-hopper against the center field fence in the sixth inning for another RBI. Dante Centofanti had a pair of hits, Dylan Babcock launched a long double to left-center, and Joey Frammartino reached base all three times he batted.
The game was knotted at 1-1 in the third when the Rays erupted for eight runs. Cam Ranadazzo was the first of 13 batters in the inning, lining a single to right field and coming around to score on a passed ball. Much of the damage was done with two outs as Zach Rinaldi, Mario Perrone, Andrew DeBenedetto, and Frammartino all had base hits to extend the inning.
For the Yankees, Aidan Wyatt drilled an RBI double to deep left in the first inning and Storm Davis lined a run-scoring single in the third frame.
On Sunday, the Rays traveled to Wilmington to meet the highly touted Nationals and came away victorious, 8-4. Randazzo, Frammartino, Eric Doucette, and Babcock took turns on the hill, racking up 10 strikeouts and masterfully working out of trouble.
Offensively, Babcock reached base all four times he batted and scored three times. The game was tied 3-3 in the fifth when the Rays broke through with a two-out rally that plated three runs. Rinaldi got things going with a single to left, followed by a Babcock rope to center field. Centofanti's single scored the go-ahead run and Veneziano followed with a double down the left field line that brought home two more runs.
Alex VerColen chipped in with a pair of hits, including a sixth-inning double that led to some insurance runs. After a Frammartino single and stolen base, Doucette belted a hard single to right-center that brought home the team's final two runs.
Randazzo pitched into the fourth inning before Frammartino entered to get out of a bases-loaded jam. Doucette then inherited two runners in the fifth, but managed a strikeout to stop the threat, and Babcock took to the mound in the final frame and fanned the Wilmington batter that represented the tying run with two outs and the bases loaded, putting the game in the Rays' win column.
The victory improved the Rays' record to 3-1.
Sunday, April 23
Yankees Improve To 3-0 By Flying Past Angels
Dan Sweeney accounted for what would be the game-winning RBI with a sixth-inning single that scored Chris Gwozdz, propelling the North Reading Yankees to a 9-5 win over the Woburn Angels in Senior League action.
With the game knotted at 5-5, Gwozdz drew a walk and Demitri Boulas laid down a perfect bunt for a hit. Following Sweeney’s shot up the middle, Boulas scored on a passed ball and Sweeney crossed the plate on a Storm Davis single. Davis trotted home with the inning’s final run when Matt Solecki stroked a sacrifice fly to deep center.
Earlier in the contest, key hits by Alex Wallner and Aidan Wyatt put the Yankees ahead, 3-0. They added two more runs in the third, with Wyatt reaching home on a stand-up double by Gerry Callagy, who then scored on a Gwozdz single.
Wallner started on the mound and struck out four batters, with Gwozdz fanning four in relief and Boulas closing out the game and netting the win, which included a nasty pick-off move to end an Angels rally in the sixth. The victory improved the Yankees to 3-0 in the Middlesex Big Diamond League.
Sunday, April 16
Senior Rays Start the Season with a Win
Doucette started the game-winning rally with a sixth-inning single, his second
hit of the day, as the North Reading Rays downed host Lynnfield, 10-5, in
Middlesex Big Diamond Senior League action on Saturday afternoon.
to bat with one out and the game knotted 5-5, Doucette lined a ball that landed
safely in right-center field. Following a Dylan Babcock walk, both runners
advanced on a wild pitch, and Doucette came in to score what proved to be the
decisive run on Ryan Connor's sharp single to left. Dante Centofanti then
provided the insurance, hammering a triple to deep left-center field that
plated two more runs. He later scored on a wild pitch that made it a 9-5 game.
Neither team cracked the scoreboard in the first two innings, but the Rays broke through with five runs in the third, ignited by consecutive hits from Mario Perrone, Andrew DeBenedetto, and Doucette. Perrone added a seventh-inning RBI single to account for the Rays' final run.
Joey Frammartino scored two of the Rays' runs and also started on the mound, pitching effectively into the fifth inning. He walked just one and struck out a batter while getting solid support from his fielders, including two outfield grabs by Zach Rinaldi. Matthew Capozzoli earned the win in relief, recording three strikeouts and not allowing a run.
Tuesday, June 28
'O' My! It's All Orioles in Junior Division Playoffs
In Big Diamond action, the Orioles won the NRLL Junior Division crown and then went on to capture the Middlesex Big Diamond League City Series championship.
The titles were earned with a series of late-inning heroics. In the town semifinals, the Orioles trailed the Rays, 3-2, in the seventh inning until Connor MacIntyre smacked a two-out, two-run double for a 4-3 victory.
In the best-of-three championship series, the Orioles edged the Mariners. Joey Frammartino was victorious in Games 1 and 3, offsetting a fine outing by the Mariners’ Gerry Callagy in Game 2. It still came down to the final at-bat of the series with Evan Steele delivering a towering walk-off shot to the gap that scored the winning run.
The Orioles found themselves down, 7-1, in the City Series semifinals against Wilmington when Nick Shea took the mound in the third inning. He proceeded to shutdown Wilmington over the next five innings, while Steele sparked the offense with a home run to deep left-center at Carey Park in what became a 12-7 victory.
Frammartino then hurled a masterpiece against Lynnfield in the title contest, going the distance and allowing no earned runs in a 72-pitch performance. Trailing 3-2 in the seventh, the Orioles scored three times, the key hit being Aidan O’Sullivan’s two-out double to left that knocked in the tying and go-ahead runs.
Sunday, June 5
June 4: Sr. Rays Rally Past Woburn Tigers
An outstanding duel went the way of the Senior Rays, who scored four times in the sixth inning to overtake the Woburn Tigers, 4-1, Saturday afternoon at the Hood School. The win clinched the MBDL regular-season title for the Rays, who finished 9-3 on the spring.
Jake Doucette threw a 91-pitch complete game, shutting down the visitors after yielding a first-inning run. He allowed six hits, walked none, and struck out 11 batters.
The Rays were held scoreless until their next-to-last at-bat. Dan Sweeney opened the inning by reaching on an error, and eventually advanced to third with two outs. Trevor Wilson then lined a hard single to left to tie the game. A Mark Desmond single and a Ryan Connor walk again loaded the bases, and Ryan Veneziano drew a walk on a full count to force in the go-ahead run. Mike Mikula followed with a towering drive to left-center that resulted in a ground-rule double and two more Rays runs.
Sunday, June 5
June 3: Jr. Blue Jays get the best of Lynnfield White Sox
Saturday, June 4
June 3: Senior Rays Hold Off Woburn Angels
Ryan Connor struck out 11 batters over five innings of work, and Joe Wallace fanned five more in his two innings, keying the Senior Rays 6-2 win over the Woburn Angels on Friday night.
Connor walked one and allowed just one hit, leaving the game with a 3-1 lead. The Angles put a run across in the sixth, but Wallace stranded a man at second to maintain a one-run advantage, then set down the side in the seventh to earn the save.
Aidan Wyatt and Andrew Giannattasio had RBI singles in the second inning to give the Rays an eary 2-0 lead. Ryam Veneziano led off the third with one of his three hits on the night, and came around to score on a Cole Doke single.
The game was just 3-2 heading into the seventh. Giannattasio and Mark Desmond led off the inning with singles, and after back-to-back Rays were retired, Mike Mikula drove a run-scoring single up the middle to make it 4-2. Matthew Capozzoli then singled to right field to bring home two more insurance runs.
With the win, the Rays improved to 8-3 with one regular-season game remaining.
Tuesday, May 31
May 31: Yanks Complete Sweep of the Rays
The Yankees blanked the Rays, 10-0, on Tuesday night to complete a two-game season sweep of their in-town MBDL rival. Last Friday, the Yankees took a 6-5 decision.
In this second confrontation, the Yankees struck fast with two first-inning runs as Colin Boucher, Greg Sawyer, and Matt DeBenedetto opened the game with consecutive doubles. DeBenedetto would go 4-for-4 on the night with six RBI, including two on a sixth-inning double that closed out the game.
Alex D'Ambrosio earned the win, starting on the mound and throwing two shutout innings, pitching out of a bases-load jam in the second. He then aided his own cause with a two-run triple in the third inning that extended the Yankees lead to 6-0. Dylan Babcock took to the mound in relief and hurled three shutout innings, and also contributed a run-scoring single in the third.
Also for the Yankees, Ryan Babcock ripped a double to left-center and would score two runs, and Dante Centofanti reached base twice, highlighted by a single that started the team's sixth-inning rally.
For the Rays, Ryan Veneziano, Mike Mikula, Joe Wallace, and Jake Doucette had base hits.
Monday, May 23
May 22: Sr. Rays Slip Past Stoneham Dodgers
Clutch hitting and a combination of five pitchers carried the Senior Rays to a 5-4 win over the visiting Stoneham Dodgers on Sunday at Benevento Fields.
The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the second on an RBI single by Dan Sweeney and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Trevor Wilson. The score stayed that way until the fifth inning, when Matthew Capozzoli chased home two runs with a hard single up the middle and Ryan Veneziano followed with an RBI triple to deep left field, making it 5-1.
Although the Dodgers would get close, the Rays held on. Ryan Connor, Jake Doucette, Veneziano, Cole Doke, and Capozzoli all took the mound in the victory, with Capozzoli getting the save with a one-two-three seventh inning.
Sunday, May 15
May 14-15: Senior Rays Win A Pair
The North Reading Senior Rays improved to 6-1 in the Middlesex Big Diamond League with a pair of weekend victories. They defeated the host Woburn Tigers, 5-2, on Saturday before returning to Carey Park to rally past the Wilmington Cardinals, 6-5.
Against the Tigers, Joe Wallace, Cole Doke, and Dan Sweeney each recorded RBI, and the pitching trio of Ryan Connor, Jake Doucette, and Wallace limited the Tigers to five hits.
One day later, the Rays found themselves in a 5-1 hole heading into the bottom of the third, but fought their way back. They tied it in the fifth on a Mike Mikula two-run triple and Matthew Cappozoli's RBI single; in the sixth, Trevor Wilson led off wtih a double and scored what proved to be the winning run three batters later on a Dante Centofanti double down the left-field line.
On the mound, Capozzoli earned the win, working five innings of solid relief with nine strikeouts, and ending things by striking out the side with his team protecting a one-run lead in the seventh. Aidan Wyatt made two strong plays in left field, including an assist while helping gun down the leadoff hitter at third base in the sixth, while Andrew Giannattasio made a fine running catch in right to end the same frame.
Tuesday, May 10
May 8/9: Junior Rays Show Some Sting
Sunday, May 8
May 8: Blue Jays Take Flight In Victory
The Blue Jays turned in big plays on offense and defense to upend the Wilmington Astros, 7-4, on Sunday morning in a MBDL Jr. Division contest.
Trevor Lundy and Jack Keller both had two hits and drove in runs, and Joe Hoadley added an RBI single for the victors.
But the day's biggest play came in the field. With the Blue Jays clinging to a one-run lead in the fourth inning and facing a bases-loaded situation, Will Taylor made a diving catch in center. He then hit cutoff man Jack Keller, who threw a laser to catcher Sean McCullough to nail the runner at home to complete an inning-ending double play.
On the mound, Robbie Tammaro started and pitched two solid innings before giving way to Ryan Caviasca (2 innings) in middle relief and then Devin Ouk, who closed out the game throwing 2.1 innings.
Saturday, May 7
May 7: Big Inning Carries Rays Past Wilmington Cardinals
The Rays snapped a 1-1 tie with a seven-run third inning and then held on to defeat the host Wilmington Cardinals, 8-4, on Saturday afternoon.
Matthew Capozzoli slammed the bit hit, a two-run single to left that plated Cole Doke and Derek Reilly, who had both walked, to break the deadlock. After the Cardinals recorded the second out of the inning, the next seven Rays batters reached base. Among them were Aidan Wyatt and Dan Sweeney, who added RBI hits, with Sweeney's hit a double to deep left-center that made it 7-3.
Capozzoli also started and threw five strong innings to get the victory, striking out three and only allowing four hits, all in the fourth inning. Doke and Jake Doucette came on in relief, throwing an inning each to close out the game without yielding another hit. Trevor Wilson stepped up in a pinch and artfully handled the duties behind the plate, catching the first six innings.
North Reading scored first when Ryan Veneziano ripped a one-single to left and came around to score when Doucette drew a bases-load walk. But the Rays also wasted opportunities to pad their run total, stranding 13 runners on the day.
With the win, the Rays improved to 4-1 in the Middlesex Big Diamond League Senior Division.
Wednesday, April 27
Jr Blue Jays Win Over Wilmington Opponents
The NRLL Jr. Blue Jays began their season with a pair of wins, beating the Wilmington Giants, 20-5, and thn slipping past the Wilmington Cardinals, 8-7, in extra innings.
Against the Giants, the Jays broke things wide open with a 13-run second inning. Jack Keller, Sean McCoullough, Trevor Lundy, Michael Luker, and Will Carpenter all had multiple hits and multiple RBI on the day.
On the mound, Chris Gwozdz pitched four strong innings, yielding just one earned run, while Joe Hoadley was solid at second base.
In the Cardinals game, Carpenter started and went four innings before Devin Ouk threw four scoreless innings of relief. Luker game provided the game-tying hit in seventh inning and Lundy drove home the winning run in the eighth.
Defensively, Hoadley and Joey Caviaca provided key plays at second base, Ryan Caviasca delivered strong infield and outfield defense, and the duo Sean McCullough flawlessly handled the duties behind the plate.
Tuesday, April 26
April 23/25: Junior Rays Sting the Reds, Beat the Blue Jays
Erik Doucette pitched six strong innings, striking out six and allowing only four hits as the North Reading Junior Rays slipped past the Stoneham Reds, 4-3, on Saturday at Carey Park. Aidan Guimont and Andrew DeBenedetto saved extra base hits with running grabs in the outfield, and Jimmy Currier came on in the seventh to close out the game with a pair of strikeouts to preserve the win.
The Rays then topped the North Reading Blue Jays, 8-6, on Monday thanks to a pair of hits from Kyle Moore, who also scored two runs, and two hits from Sean Brown.
Tuesday, April 26
April 24: Sr. Yankees Score A Big Win
The Yankees defeated the host Wilmington Cardinals, 16-6, on Sunday afternoon. Alex D’Ambrosio went 4-for-4 at the plate and pitched three scoreless innings, while Dylan Babcock had three hits, including a bases-clearing double. Ryan Babcock and Matt Debenedetto chipped in with two hits apiece, and Greg Sawyer scored all four times he reached base. Defensively, Joey McCarthy made a shoestring catch to end the fourth inning. With the victory, the Yankees improved to 1-1 on the season.
Sunday, April 24
April 24: Rays Complete Weekend Sweep
The Rays completed a big weekend at Carey Park by surging past the Woburn Angels, 11-4, on Sunday afternoon.
Joe Wallace fired four shutout innings of relief to earn the win, while Mike Mikula and Matthew Capozzoli paced the offense. Mikula went 3-for-3, highlighted by a fourth-inning triple that tied the game. He then scored what proved to be the game-winning run moments later on a Mark Desmond single. Capozzoli had a double and a triple of his own, with his three-bagger in the fifth inning plating the first of six runs for the Rays that inning.
Cole Doke started for the Rays and went three innings, striking out three and exiting with his team behind, 4-3. Wallace stepped in and struck out the side in the fourth, got some help from a line-out double play in the fifth, and was effective in the final two innings to keep the Angels at bay.
Andrew Giannattasio and Mark Desmond each had a pair of hits for the victors. Derek Reilly knocked in the team's first run with a single that brought home Ryan Connor, who had started the game with a single of his own.
With the win, the Rays improved to 3-1 in the Middlesex Big Diamond League Senior Division.
Sunday, April 24
April 23: Rays Sting the Astros
The Senior Rays pounded out 11 hits, four by Matthew Capozzoli, to knock off the visiting Wilmington Astros, 18-5, on Saturday afternoon at Carey Park.
Capozzoli had a pair of doubles, including one that brough home two runs during the Rays' seven-run first inning. Trevor Wilson added a two-run single during the team's early rally. Ryan Connor, Derek Reilly, and Dan Sweeney also had two-hit games.
After the Astros sliced the deficit to 7-5 in the top of the third, the Rays countered with four runs in the bottom half of the inning, helped along by Ryan Veneziano's two-run single and Reilly's double to deep left field. The Rays then put up seven more runs in the fourth inning, scoring all of them with two outs.
Veneziano, Capozzoli, and Joe Wallace took care of things on the mound. Veneziano went the first two innings, followed by Capozzoli in the third and fourth, before Wallace closed things out with an eight-pitch fifth.
Wednesday, April 20
April 16-17: Senior Rays Start Out 1-1
Matthew Capozzoli threw 5.2 strong innings and launched a two-run double to spark the Rays to a 12-4 Senior League win over the host Wilmington Astros on April 16.
Capozzoli allowed just three hits, while walking two and striking out four before giving way to Joe Wallace, who closed out the game with 1.1 innings of strong relief.
The Rays scored six times in the second and third innings without hitting the ball out of the infield, parlaying seven walks, three infield hits, and a hit batter into runs while going ahead 6-1. After the Astros closed to within 7-4 heading into the fifth, Capozzoli launched a double to right field that brought home Ryan Veneziano and Wallace. Veneziano reached base all six times he came to the plate, with three singles and three walks.
Ryan Connor padded the lead in the seventh inning, ripping a two-run double to left-center that scored Aidan Wyatt and Dan Sweeney.
On the following day, the Rays nearly climbed out of a seven-run deficit but ran out of time in a 10-7 setback. Mike Mikula, Dan Sweeney, Ryan Veneziano, and Matthew Capozzoli each had two hits in the setback. Sweeney also pitched 2.1 innings of solid relief to keep the game close.
Tuesday, June 30
13/14 All-Stars Score Second Straight Win
Derek Reilly fired six stellar innings, Matt Solecki sparkled in center field, and Dan Lignos turned in a titanic effort behind the plate to lead the North Reading 13/14-year-old All-Stars to a 6-2 victory over Woburn Monday night at Ferullo Field. Reilly allowed just one run – keeping Woburn off the scoreboard from the second through the sixth inning – and spread out four hits before reaching his pitch count. He walked two and struck out three.
The Hornets were terrific in the field, with Solecki leading the way. He had five putouts, including a diving grab to end the fifth inning and strand two Woburn runners on base, and then recorded an outfield assist in the seventh inning when Woburn was threatening. Lignos stepped in for Reilly behind the plate and was more than up to the challenge with his play, which included chasing down a difficult popup for a key out in the sixth inning. Overall, the Hornets' defense recorded 18 outs with plays in the field while committing just one error.
North Reading jumped on top in the first when Reilly, who had been hit by a pitch, came around to score on an RBI single by Ryan Veneziano. After Woburn knotted up things in the bottom of that inning, the Hornets quickly regained the lead. Trevor Wilson beat out an infield single to start the second inning and would eventually cross the plate following three straight hit batters.
The score remained 2-1 until the top of the sixth when North Reading exploded for four runs. Lignos opened the frame with a walk, stole a base, and advanced to third on a Solecki hit. Alex Wallner then laced an RBI single up the middle to make it 3-1. Wilson followed with a hot shot that was snared by the Woburn pitcher, but the throw to first sailed wide and allowed two runners to race home. Ryan Connor's sacrifice fly to deep left made it 6-1.
Reilly kept the lead at 6-1 in his final inning of work, but Woburn wouldn't go quietly when it came to bat in the seventh. The home team strung together four straight one-out hits, but Solecki's throw to third base erased one runner and then he fittingly caught the final out on a long shot to center.
North Reading has one more game remaining in pool play, a home contest vs. Wakefield on Wednesday (North Reading High School), before playing in the District 13 Championship Game next Tuesday night at Ferullo Field. That game will be a rematch vs. either Stoneham or Woburn.
Sunday, June 28
13/14s Open Tournament Play With Victory
Alex D'Ambrosio slammed a first-inning triple that put two runs on the board while Ryan Connor threw three innings of pristine relief to help North Reading's 13/14-year-old All-Star Team score a 7-5 win over Stoneham Saturday afternoon at NRHS.
D'Ambrosio's hit to right-center brought home Connor and Derek Reilly, who had both walked. Alex Suny then followed with an RBI single up the middle that made the lead 3-0.
Stoneham, playing as the home team, answered with one run in the first and two more in the second to draw even. The game remained that way until the fifth inning when Matthew Capozzoli brought home the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Danny Lignos, who had reached on an error.
North Reading's lead grew to 5-3 in the sixth on an RBI single by D'Ambrosio, and the Hornets padded that lead in the seventh with two more runs, one crossing on Connor's RBI hit and the other scoring on a wild pitch.
On the mound, D'Ambrosio started and pitched into the third inning before giving way to Connor. The righty then pitched into the seventh, yielding just one hit, walking one, and striking out five to earn the win. Suny got the final three outs for the save.
D'Ambrosio, Connor, Suny, and Alex Wallner each had two hits in the victory.
Saturday, June 20
Mariners Rule the Big Diamond Seas
The Mariners captured the NRLL Junior Division championship with a pair of playoff victories, and are now headed as the town representative to the MBDL playoffs. Here's a recap of their playoff wins:
Mariners 11, Rays 1: Mathew Capozzoli went the distance on the mound, striking out eight. Ryan Babcock reached base three times and scored three runs. He also made two stellar defensive plays to limit the Rays in the third inning, including a circus catch to end the inning off a long drive by Seam McCollough. Good defense also ended the fourth when a diving catch by Chris Gwodz at first base led to an inning-ending double play. Ryan Landers swatted a bases-clearing three-run triple in the first inning and
Alex D’Ambrosio launched a two-run home run in the second.
Mariners 15 Yankees 2: In the championship game, Alex D’ambrosio went the distance on the mound, striking out fourand scattering three hits, supported behind the plate by Daniel Lignos. The Mariners put up 11 runs in the first inning on their way to the victory. Derek Donovan, Zach Rinaldi, and Brett Clark all had big at-bats with two outs in the first to contribute to the victory. Max Dorington’s diving stab of a line drive off the bat of Dylan Babcock was a key defensive play for the Yankees early in the game. D’Ambrosio contributed a three-run home run for the Mariners.
Monday, June 8
Blue Jays Beaten, Then Bounce Back
Last week's NRLL Big Diamond action featured an in-town battle at the Hood School, won by the Orioles, 9-1, over the Blue Jays.
Ryan Connor pitched 6.2 innings, striking out seven, and added a single and a double for the victors. His first-inning single brought home two runs as the Orioles staked a quick 3-0 lead.
The Blue Jays got one of those runs back when Trevor Wilson walked, advanced to second, and then scored from there with some heads-up base running on 6-3 groundout by Kyle Sovak.
But the Orioles tacked on one in the fourth to go up, 4-1, then scored three times in the sixth. Connor and Andrew Debenedetto had hits, and Nick O'Donnell brought home a run with a sacrifice fly. Justin Hoadley and Gus Franco later scored seventh-inning runs.
Dante Centofanti had a pair of hits for the victors, Matt Luciano was on base three times, and Gerry Callagy had a hard-hit double.
One night later, the Blue Jays were back on the Hood School field...with much different results. The bats came alive in a 15-5 triumph over the Lynnfield Padres as they finished the year with a 10-4 mark.
Wilson had a pair of hits, scored three times, and drove in three for the winners, who scored in each inning. Ryan Veneziano had a pair of hits and pitched four innings for the victory.
Also starring for the Blue Jays were Andrew Giannattasio and Mike Mikula, who scored three times, Alex Suny, who had a pair of RBI, and Cole Doke, who had two hits and pitched two innings of shutout relief.
The first five Blue Jays reached base in the first inning – with hits by Wilson, Veneziano, Sund, and Mikula – and all came around to score.
Monday, May 25
The Rays Get on A Roll
Monday, May 25
Blue Jays Fly Past the Orioles
Alex Suny had three hits at the plate and pitched a five-inning complete game as the Blue Jays battled past the Orioles, 12-1, Tuesday night at NRHS. With the game scoreless heading into the fourth, Suny led off the inning with a single, stole a base, and came around to score the first of six Blue Jays runs that inning. He then hammered an RBI triple to left field during a sixth-run fifth. On the mound, he needed just 55 pitches to go the distance while walking none, striking out eight, and giving up four hits.
Colin Gover had a pair of line-shot singles and drove home three runs for the victors, Kyle Sovak had an RBI single, Ryan Veneziano went 2-for-3, and Demitri Boulas scored twice. Defensively, Mike Mikula made a pair of stellar catches in center field.
For the Orioles, Ryan Connor laced a double to right field and came around to score on a Gerry Callagy single. Andrew DeBenedetto and Dom Gallo also had hits.
Saturday, May 16
Blue Jays Get Back on Winning Track
Cole Doke went 4-for-4 at the plate – with a triple and two doubles – and drove in three runs as the Blue Jays handled the Wilmington Giants, 10-0, Saturday afternoon at the high school. Alex Suny added three hits and struck out eight while throwing four scoreless innings.
Mario Perrone laced a pair of hits, including a two-RBI double to right-center field, while Coin Gover and Sean Haynes also had multiple-hit games.
The Blue Jays scored five runs in the first inning, hilighted by a Perrone RBI single, and tacked on three runs in the second. Ryan Veneziano plated Gover and Haynes with an opposite-field single to right and came around to score on Doke's triple. They added another run in the third and closed it out with a run in the fifth when Suny scored on Doke's double to right field.
On the mound, Suny pitched out of a first-inning jam. With runners at the corners and one out in the first tinning, he induced a grounder back to the mound and then a groundout to shortstop. Wilmington also had a pair of runners on in the second, but Suny struck out a batter with two outs to end that threat.
Monday, May 11
Blue Jays Best the Dodgers to Improve to 5-2
Alex Suny threw six efficient innings and then sparked a big seventh-inning outburst with a bases-loaded triple as the Jr. Blue Jays defeated the host Lynnfield Dodgers, 13-6, on Saturday afternoon. The game featured plenty of offense with the teams combining for 28 base hits.
Suny's blast to deep left center at the Lynnfield Middle School field brought home Colin Gover, Sean Haynes, and Ryan Veneziano and gave the Blue Jays a 12-5 lead. The team had entered the final inning holding a slim 6-5 advantage.
Trailing, 2-0, heading into the fourth, the Jays erupted four runs, all with two outs. Veneziano singled to get things going, but was still at second base with two outs. Cole Doke then walked, and Trevor Wilson, Mike Mikula, Kyle Sovak, and Mario Perrone all followed with hits.
The game was again knotted in the sixth, 4-4, when Veneziano singled to start the inning. Doke then got a hit, and both players would score on RBI from Wilson and Sovak. In the seventh, Perrone, Griffin May, Andrew Giannattasio, and Gover all reached base to get the Blue Jays' big rally started.
On the mound, Suny walked just one and struck out 10 before yielding to Veneziano for the seventh. Doke made a pair of nice catches in center field, the second one to end the game.
Monday, May 11
Jr. Orioles Split A Pair
The Orioles went 1-1 over the past week. On Thursday, they edged in-town rival the Rays, 7-2, getting a strong pitching performance from Gerry Callagy, who went four innings and struck out five batters. Matt Luciano was 3-for-3 at the plate and scored a run, and played a solid game at catcher. The Rays received multiple-hit games from Alex Wallner and Jimmy Currier.
On Sunday afternoon, the Orioles traveled to Wilmington to face a solid Braves squad. The Orioles fell short, 3-2, but not before fans saw a great diving catch at third base by Dom Gallo, plays deep in the hole at shortstop courtesy of Ryan Connor, and a heads-up play by first baseman Ryan Kavanaugh on a quick catch and tag to save an out.
The Orioles tied the game, 2-2, in the last inning. After Gus Franco was hit by a pitch, Kavanaugh advanced him to third with a single and Luciano plated them both with his second hit of the game. Unfortunately, the Braves rallied in their half of the seventh and won the contest with a walk-off single.
Tuesday, May 5
Mariners Brush by the Blue Jays
Dylan Babcock and Daniel Lignos paired up on the mound, Alex D'Ambrosio had two big hits, and some key defensive plays all lifted the Mariners to a 7-3 win over the Blue Jays in MBDL action at North Reading High School Tuesday evening.
Babcock pitched into the fifth inning, exiting with a 6-3 advantage. He walked three and struck out five; Lignos entered the game and spread out three hits over the next three innings, while striking out two, to earn the save.
D'Ambrosio's hits included a first-inning double that plated the Mariners' first run. Dylan Babcock, Derek Donovan, and Zach Rinaldi also had hits for the winners, who rallied after trailing, 3-0. They scored in each of the first five innings, taking the lead for good, 4-3, in the Lignos' RBI ground out to second base in the third. Dylan Babcock's hit two batters later made it 5-3.
The Blue Jays did all their scoring in the first inning on consecutive hits by Ryan Veneziano, Alex Suny, and Cole Dole, who each came around to score. The Jays then stranded eight runners over the next six innings — thanks in part to clutch pitching and great defense. Dylan Babcock pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third, Ryan Babcock snared a deep drive to center with two runners on in the fifth, and Will Carpenter made a nifty stop at third to end a threat in the sixth.
Overall, the Blue Jays had eight hits, with Veneziano and Doke leading the way with two a piece. Mike Mikula and Griffin May recorded their first hits of the season for the Jays.
Monday, May 4
Mariners Making A Statement
The Mariners are looking strong in MBDL Junior Division play, winning twice and tying one game over the past week. Here's a look back at their recent games:
Sunday May 3 - NR Mariners vs. NR Yankees
A combination of strong pitching by Matt Capozzoli and the bats staying alive throughout the entire game resulted in a 19-3 victory over the NR Yankees. “Chewy” was efficient on the mound, staying under 20 pitches for each inning pitched and did not face more than five batters in any one inning. He had solid defensive support in the infield and outfield, where fly balls hit by Evan Steele and Chris McCann were caught by Ryan Landers in left field and Ryan Babcock in center. Matt Solecki and Peter Demitri each legged out triples for the Yankees. Alex D’Ambrosio picked up a triple for the Mariners and went 4-for-4 on the day.
Thursday, April 30 – NR Mariners vs. Stoneham Reds
Six solid innings on the mound by Dan Lignos and a solid stream of singles lead the Mariners to a 11-6 win against the Stoneham Reds at NRHS. Lignos kept his pitch count down throughout his six innings on the mound with four 1-2-3 innings and a total of 5 strikeouts. Brett Clark’s patience at the plate drew him a walk and he touched home with a run in the same inning. Will Carpenter and Alex D’Ambrosio both reached base four times. Chris Gwozdz closed out the game with one inning of relief in the seventh.
Tuesday, April 28 – NR Mariners vs. Lynnfield Nationals
The Mariners put up four runs in the top of the sixth to even the score with a final of 9-9 against the Lynnfield Nationals before the sun went down on the turf at Lynnfield High School. Mariners pitchers Ryan Babcock, Chris Gwozdz, and Dylan Babcock kept North Reading within striking distance. Gwozdz struck out the first two batters he faced in the fourth and was also helped out by a one-handed grab off the turf by shortstop Alex D’Ambrosio for another putout. Going into the sixth and down by four runs, the top of the order was up for the Mariners. Derek Donovan drew a walk and Dan Lignos helped the caused by being hit by a pitch and was able to stroll down to first base. Alex D’Ambrosio then blasted a pitch to deep left center and easily rounded the bases for home run. Still down by one, Matt Cappozolli drew a walk and reached home on a clutch single by Chris Gwozdz to tie the game. The Mariners then needed to put down the Lynnfield Nationals in the bottom of the sixth. Closer Alex D’Ambrosio did that by striking out the side on 12 pitches to end the game.
Monday, May 4
Orioles Overcome Woburn A's
The North Reading Orioles fought back from a five-run deficit to beat the Woburn A's, 9-8, Sunday afternoon at the NRHS. Ryan Connor led the birds with five hits, and scored the game-winning run on Andrew Debenedetto's single in the bottom of the seventh. Both Dom Gallo and Joseph Hoadley had run-saving catches in the win.
Sunday, May 3
Jays Trip Up the Rays
On Saturday afernoon at NRHS, the Blue Jays got the best of the Rays, 19-3. Sean Haynes belted out three hits and had four RBI, Colin Gover scored twice, and Mario Perrone launched an RBI double for the victors. On the mound, Alex Suny needed just 41 pitches to go four strong innings, walking none and striking out a pair. Haynes closed it out with a 1-2-3 fifth inning.
Aidan Wyatt smacked a two-run double for the Rays, who also received hists from Joey DiSanto and Haley MacIntyre.
Friday, May 1
Junior Orioles Play To a Draw at Woburn
In MBDL Junior Division action, the North Reading Orioles played to a tie 4-4 against the Woburn Rangers. The Orioles jumped out to a 2-0 lead but had to battle back after host Woburn went up, 4-2, in the bottom of the third. They got one run back in the top of the fourth and tied things up in the sixth inning. The Orioles had two-hit games from Dante Centofanti, Ryan Connor, Andrew DeBenedetto, and Nick O'Donnell.
Sunday, April 26
Blue Jays Battle To Another Win, 6-4, over Stoneham Diamondbacks
Alex Suny threw a complete-game six-hitter, Kyle Sovak drove in the winning run as part of a three-run seventh, and Ryan Veneziano slugged three hits to lead the Blue Jays to their third straight win, 6-4, over the Stoneham Diamondbacks at the Stoneham Recreation Park.
Suny struck out 11 – including fanning the side in the first inning – and walked just three. He also fielded his position well, snaring three ground balls and catching a difficult pop up. And with the tying run at the plate in the seventh, he induced a game-ending groundout to shortstop.
The Blue Jays opened the scoring when Cole Doke's single brought home Veneziano in the top of the first. Veneziano then lined a double to open the third inning and came around on a Sovak poke to the outfield. Demitri Boulas' RBI single followed, putting the Blue Jays ahead, 3-2.
With the game knotted in the sixth inning, Boulas turned a nifty double play from the second base position, tagging the passing runner before firing to Mario Perrone for the final out.
It was in the seventh inning that the Blue Jays plated the winning runs. Doke reached safely on an error, and call-over Jason DiNapoli followed with a walk. Following a double steal, Sovak's grounder to third scored the team's fourth run. Boulas and Perrone then followed with RBI singles to push the lead to 6-3.
Suny took to the mound in the seventh with 16 pitches left on his count. Stoneham managed one run, but on Suny's 95th pitch of the day, he forced a ground ball up the middle that Veneziano fielded before tagging second for the force out and the win.
Sunday, April 26
Senior Division Orioles Storm Out to 3-0 Start
The Senior division Orioles start the season off with a 3-0 mark. A competitive 4-2 win over Stoneham started the season. Three shut out innings by Drew Delano were capped by a nice save by Jake Doucette. A couple of RBI from Ty Cullen were all the Orioles needed.
The second game was played Friday night under the lights in Woburn in incredibly cold and very
windy conditions.The game ended with the Orioles pulling out a hard fought victory, 11-6. The boys put the bat on the ball with a couple of solid doubles from Greg Sawyer and Anthony Betancur. A late game triple was added by Ryan Bratton as he inched toward the cycle, falling only a double and home run shy.
On Sunday, the Orioles had a beautiful come from behind win against the Woburn Indians. They found themselves down two runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Derek Reilly walked stole 2 bases and was driven home with a nice single from Jake Doucette, who then scored the tying run on an infield single by John Stringer. Kevin Sovak closed out the top of the seventh with some strong pitching. In the bottom of the seventh, Joe Gonthier got to first on a walk then stole second and advanced to 3rd on a pass ball. Ty Cullen battled off some strikes then singled down the third base line to plate the winning run. Some great defensive plays were made by Greg Sawyer at second and Matt DeBenedetto at the plate. Derek Reilly pitch terrific for four innings.
Saturday, April 25
Blue Jays Trip Up Lynnfield Nationals, 5-4
Cole Doke threw five solid innings and Alex Suny and Kyle Sovak each drove in two runs to help the Blue Jays improve to 2-0 with a 5-4 victory over the Lynnfield Nationals Saturday afternoon at the Hood School Field.
Doke struck out nine and walked just two, leaving the mound with a 5-2 lead. Ryan Veneziano picked up the save, throwing the final two innings and pitching out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh — getting two defensive gems from shortstop Sean Haynes before striking out the final batter.
The Blue Jays jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings. Haynes, Veneziano, and Suny each reached base and scored in the first frame, the last of those runs crossing on a solid Sovak single to center field. Haynes and Doke singled in the second inning, helping the Jays add to their lead, and in the fifth, with the score 4-2, Sovak's hard grounder to first base plated the team's final run.
In their season-opener on April 19, the Blue Jays edged in-town rival the Mariners, 8-7. Veneziano earned the win with five innings of work, while Demitri Boulas singled twice and scored three times, including what proved to be the winning run.
Friday, June 20
Yankees Draw Even in MBDL FInals
Jr. Yankees 11, Jr. Blue Jays 10
Andrew Ressler's seventh-inning brought home the go-ahead runs, rallying the Yankees to victory in Game 2 of the MBDL North Reading/Lynnfield Division finals. The Yankees had entered their final at-bat trailing 9-7.
The game was a back-and-forth classic. The Blue Jays scored twice in the bottom of the first with Matt DeBenedetto, Matt Corrieri, and Tim Peach delivering three consecutive hits. The Yankees stormed back in the top of the second, plating five runs, two of those scoring on Marco Vittozzi's double though the Blue Jays gunned down another runner at the plate to end the frame.
By the end of the second inning, it was 5-5. Ian McGown and Joey McCarthy had hits and the Blue Jays capitalized on a pair of errors. Ryan Veneziano's single brought home Corrieri in the third inning to give the Blue Jays a 6-5 lead and the Yankees pulled even in the top half of the fifth on Kyle Bythrow's sacrifice fly.
It appeared to be going the Blue Jays' way when the plated three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Four straight hits, the last of those a Tim Peach RBI single that scored Corrieri, handed the home team a 9-6 advantage.
The Yankees scored once in the sixth on a Joey DiSanto triple that saw him awarded home on an overthrow, and had stormed in front in the seventh. Jackson DeAngelo's bases-loaded walk with one out made it a one-run game and Ressler followed by poking a ball through the right side that brought home two runs. A third baes runner was awarded home as the result of the ball being thrown out of play.
Though the Blue Jays avoided further damage, they could only muster one run in the bottom half of the seventh, coming up short, 11-10.
Burke Riesenberg (Blue Jays) and Peter Demetri (Yankees) each went to their pitching limit, both lasting into the sixth and giving their teams a chance at victory. Bythrow pitched the final frame to earn the win.
Game 3 of the series takes place Monday night at North Reading High School, starting at 5:30 pm. The series winner will face the Wilmington Astros on Tuesday night in the MBDL City Series semifinals.
Tuesday, June 17
MBDL Finals: Blue Jays Edge Yanks in Game 1
Jr. Blue Jays 5, Jr. Yankees 4
Burke Riesenberg opened the seventh inning with a single and came around to score on Trevor Wilson's infield single to break a 4-4 tie and give the Blue Jays the victory in Game 1 of the Best-of-Three MBDL North Reading/Lynnfield championship series. The game was played Tuesday night at North Reading High School.
Riesenberg singled to left-center, stole second and third, and following a Ryan Veneziano walk, scored on Wilson's slow roller that stopped on the third-base line.
Alex Suny retired the Yankees in order in the bottom of the seventh — the only inning the Yankees didn't have a base runner — to finish off a complete game effort. He threw 94 pitches, didn't walk a batter while striking out three, and spread out 12 hits.
The Blue Jays put up single runs in the first and fourth innings. In the first, Matt Corrieri walked and eventually came around to score on a Matt DeBenedetto ground out. Corrieri would make it 2-0 following a single, eventually crossing the plate on passed ball. Shortstop Marco Vittozzi made sure they Yankees avoided bigger trouble, snaring a low line drive off the bat of Ryan Veneziano and turning it into a double play.
Then, in the bottom of the fourth, the Yankees knotted things up as Kyle Bythrow singled and came around to score on when Mark Desmond was safe on an error. Andrew Ressler's infield single brought home Desmond to make it 2-2. In the fifth, the Yankees pulled ahead, 4-2, thanks to consecutive singles by Vittozzi, Peter Demetri, and Bythrow, and a pair of Blue Jays errors.
But in the top of the sixth, the Blue Jays answered back. Michael Mills led off the inning with a walk and Joey McCarthy and Suny then followed with singles. Corrieri was out on an infield fly, but the ball hit the ground in shallow left field and Mills galloped home to make it 4-3. A DeBenedetto ground out then scored McCarthy with the tying run, setting up the seventh inning excitement.
Game 2 of the series is tentatively scheduled for Thursday night at the high school, but could be moved depending on the success of North Reading's 8th grade team in the EMIBL playoffs.