SEPARATION FROM THE PACK
Time to pick up where we left off last time.
On May 26th, Harp & Bard took on Playwright. With Jimmy McNiff scattering 8 hits over 6 innings, the team in red took a 16 - 7 decision. McNiff allowed only three earned runs among those seven. Mike Boudreau and Brad Morrill led the offense - Boudreau with two home runs and Morrill driving in five with a homer of his own and a triple. In the second game of the night, Shenannigans remained undefeated by way of a 27 - 7 drubbing of Cranberry Café. After spotting Cranberry a 6 - 0 lead after two complete, Shannys scored an amazing 17 runs in the top of the third. Greg Trudell drove in six during that uprising with a double his first time up and a grand slam later. Closing out the evening, Boston Beer Garden defeated Dragon Ass, 19 - 13, with both Preziosi brothers - Mark and Mike - hitting home runs for BBG.
The next night, the Pirates maintained their perfect record with a 24 - 13 decision against Lincoln Tavern. With the issue of the time limit looming, and a right by rule to end the game after six innings leading 16 - 13, interim Pirates manager Pat Pickup showed good sportsmanship and class by agreeing to play the seventh. His boys responded with an eight-spot and then Pat went out and worked a 1 - 2 - 3 bottom of the inning to seal it. He also contributed a game-high 6 RBI, so it was very much Pickup's night! The Boston Bombers got off the schneid with a win over Dorset Club, 11 - 0. It was the first shutout of the season, and the first thrown in league play by Drew Atton. He was helped offensively by Kris Manilenko's two home runs. The finale of the evening was a tense 9 - 7 win by Playwright over Boston Beer Garden. Playwright had a 9 - 3 lead after three, but Beer Garden kept chipping away and brought the winning run to the plate twice in the seventh, but no cigar.
Coming off of the previous night's shutout performance, Drew Atton and the Boston Bombers returned the following evening and found stiffer competition awaiting. Cranberry Café tagged young Mr. Atton for 15 runs. His teammates responded with 14 of their own, but a rudimentary grasp of math tells you that's still one short. It was a very entertaining game, with Cranberry scoring 5 in the bottom of the sixth (time limit) to walk off with the win.Jerry Remy's then took the field and plastered Local 149, 18 - 4. Brian Fiermonte went the distance for the team in the black-and-white camouflagejerseys, allowing only six hits. In the last game of the night, a strong Warehouse squad put the hammer down on Village Pizza, 14 - 3. With the score 2 - 0 in the first, Bret Belcastro homered for a 4 - 0 edge and that was all Warehouse needed with Ryan Martin scattering 8 hits.
June 3rd began with a good game as Boston Beer Garden bested Lincoln Tavern, 10 - 9. Beer Garden piled up a 10 - 4 lead after six-and-a-half innings, but Lincoln rallied furiously in the bottom of the seventh, scoring five. And they had two on with two out, but couldn't get the game-winner home. Max Vigliotti had two home runs and six RBI in the losing cause. The second shutout of the season followed, with Jerry Remy's taking a 14 - 0 decision from the Boston Bombers (who, as you'll recall, were on the winning end of the first shutout of the season.) Mark Senna gave up only 4 hits and a walk, while Ryan Turgeon and Tim Fitzgerald combined to drive in seven runs.
The next night saw Cranberry Café flex their muscles via a 23 - 3 beatdown of Dragon Ass. Multiple-time league MVP John Gregorio made his season debut as pitcher for Cranberry, limiting the opposition to six hits. The Cranberry lineup produced SEVEN home runs, including two apiece by brothers Mark and Brian Goodman. Lincoln Tavern once again was in a game with a 10 - 9 score, but this time Lincoln came out on the winning end. The Warehouse were the tough luck losers, coming back with four runs in the seventh but having the game tying run thrown out at the plate to end the game. Max Vigliotti continued his torrid hitting for Lincoln with two doubles and a triple. The Boston Bombers then found themselves on the wrong end of another shutout, 15 - 0, at the hands of Playwright. Peter Drummey was the winning pitcher and Sean Morgan put the mercy rule into effect without authority by clouting a long three-run homer to end the game. Going back two games previous, this ran the young Bombers string of consecutive scoreless innings to 12, a season high for the league.
In the only game on Monday, Playwright could not keep the momentum going, dropping a decision to Jerry Remy's, 18 - 7. They did score four in the first, on Sean Morgan's grand slam, but it was Remy's thereafter, with Chris "Killer" Kowalski lighting things up via two doubles and two home runs, driving in 5 and also scoring four times himself. Joey Fabiano also contributed two round-trippers, while Turgeon, Irvine and Fitzgerald added their own bombs.
On Tuesday, Lincoln Tavern DID keep their momentum going, winning their second straight, 17 - 2, over Dragon Ass. Max Vigliotti again cleared the fences, but the man following him in the lineup, Jesse "Tuna" Carlton, did him one better by going long twice.Harp & Bard won 11 - 6 over Playwright. Mike Boudreau homered his first two times to the plate, giving him four round-trippers in six at-bats over the course of two games.In the evening's final game, the Boston Bombers ran their scoreless streak to 14 innings, but then showed some pop by scoring 13 runs late in the game. It wasn't enough, though, as Boston Beer Garden beat them, 17 - 13.
Wednesday saw what would be considered the biggest upset of the season thus far when Village Pizza took down Boston Beer Garden, 14 - 13. Two of the Skenderian brothers, Tucker and Tyler, combined to drive in 7 of the runs for Village Pizza. For Beer Garden, another furious rally fell short. They scored 5 in the 7th and had the winning runs on when it ended. Lincoln Tavern took care of business against the Dorset Club, 26 - 6, led by the 5-for-5 three home run performance of G. J. Vincente. After those fireworks, there were another kind in the nightcap. Both benches cleared at one point as Jerry Remy's remained undefeated via a come-from-behind victory over Cranberry Café. With Cranberry holding a 12 - 7 lead in the bottom of the fifth, an argument about an errant throw escalated into a meeting between both teams in and around second base, with Steve "Cooch" Couturier, the Café's starting SS, being ejected from the game. Couturier still ended the game as co-leader in RBI that night (with Remy's Patrick Irvine, four each) so who knows if the result may have been different had cooler heads prevailed. Take nothing from Remy's, though, as they battled back for the 15 - 14win against pitcher John Gregorio. As anyone who has been in the league for a long time knows, Johnny G is no pushover, so this gives the Remy lineup some cred after they had scored scads of runs in previous games against mostly lesser pitchers.
Rounding things out, Thursday saw Village Pizza pick up a win against Local 149. It was a Back-and-forth affair until the top of the seventh. In that frame, the Pizza boys showed their crust by scoring 10 times to salt away a 23 - 11 victory. Mike Poudrier led the way with two home runs and a big eight RBI. The middle game resulted in a hard-fought 12 - 10 win for The Warehouse over Cranberry Café. For the second night in a row Cranberry couldn't hold a big lead - this time 10 to 4 - allowing Warehouse eight runs late. Cranberry's Scott Simpson had three hits, including a home run, and four runs batted in. Sean Sylvester drove in the game-winner for Warehouse. Then came maybe the most entertaining game of the year. It wasn't full of web gems, but it sure was exciting, as Dorset Club secured their first win of the year against Dragon Ass, 22 - 20. The line score should give you some idea of the interesting lead changes:
Through the first two innings of the game, Dorset Club had scored only 14 runs all season, but they then exploded for 21 in three innings alone, three times coming from behind to take the lead and then stoning Dragon Ass in their final turn at the plate. For Dragon Ass's part, they came back twice and did have the go-ahead run at the plate in the final inning. Dorset turned three inning-ending double plays in the first three innings, all by picking off runners following pop-ups or fly balls. As fellow recap writer Mark Senna likes to say… Mercy!
So that brings things up-to-date through June 15th. The Pirates, Shenannigans and Jerry Remy's are the teams to beat because nobody has beaten them - they all remain undefeated as of this writing. Lincoln Tavern, The Warehouse, Boston Beer Garden, The Playwright, Harp & Bard and Cranberry Café have all proven dangerous and shown they can strongly compete on any given night. Village Pizza stand at 2 and 3, but those two wins were their last two games and they may be making a move. Bringing up the rear are Dorset Club, Dragon Ass, Boston Bombers and Local 149 (but all of them are full of fire and fun to watch.) It has been an enjoyable - if unusually high-scoring - first part of the season and, as the top tier teams meet in upcoming games, will likely be worth a trip to the ballpark to see what happens.
[Jim Sullivan - "Sully", to most at the ballpark - is a freelance writer who has been published in the Boston Herald, Boston Globe, The Patriot Ledger, Los Angeles Times, Discover magazine, Funny Times magazine, the South Boston Tribune, South Boston Today and other places. This year, he is the full-time official scorer for the league and will be in the stands every night. Bring him a roast beef sandwich and make a friend for life!]