Sixty-five teams started their season with dreams of winning the Cal Ripken Eastern Massachusetts State Tournament, held in Marshfield.
The Dracut Diamond Dogs entered the playoffs with a huge target on their back as the Massachusetts Cal Ripken District 2 National Champs. Dracut played well in this double elimination format and finished seventh overall in the state, losing only to fifth-place Plymouth 4-1 and the eventual 2012 state champs, Quincy, 11-8. One of the highlights of the tourney was knocking off sixth place Marshfield 7-4.
The boys had a blast the day of the opening ceremonies with a luncheon at the historic Daniel Webster House, a motivating speech by former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni, and competing in Around the Horn, Accuracy Throw, Team Relay Race and the Home Run Derby.
States vs. Marshfield
With a tough and determined Matt Sidemen (2 hits and 5 stitches) leading the way, the Dracut Diamond Dogs defeated Marshfield 7-4 in the Eastern Massachusetts Cal Ripken State Tournament.
Dracut jumped ahead 2-0 after Cam McCullough and Jeremy Gray knocked in Derek Ripa and Joey Petka, who both walked earlier in the inning. The Diamond Dogs added 2 more runs to their lead in the third after a Kyle Hould home run over the center field fence. Marshfield rallied to score two to make things close, 4-2.
Allyn French scored as Dracut roared back with 3 to make the score 7-2 after singles and RBI's from Matt Robichaud and John Cormier (2). The Rams added single runs in the fifth and sixth to close the gap.
States vs Quincy
Dracut lost a hard fought 11-8 game to a hard-hitting Quincy team. The boys fell behind 8-1 but never quit as they scored 7 runs in the last tw0 innings to put a scare into last year's state runner-ups.
Allyn French had a huge day and won the game's offensive pin with a double, home run and single. Also hot at the plate were Jeremy Gray (3 singles, a double and RBI) and Kyle Hould (2 singles, a double and RBI). Kevin Carney extended his hit streak to four games with a single, a double and 2 RBI. Also collecting hits were Derek Ripa, Matt Sidemen, Cam McCullough, John Cormier and Matt Robichaud.
Michael Patterson and Peter Sawyer played well in the outfield as third basemen Joey Petka and Brad Keefe were flawless defensively.
States vs Plymouth
The boys dropped a 4-1 game to a talented Plymouth squad. A strong pitching performance by the Panthers kept the Diamond Dogs off the scoreboard until the final inning. Dracut was held to 6 total hits in the game -- Derek Ripa, Kyle Hould (triple and single), Cam McCullough, Allyn French and Jeremy Gray. Michael Patterson stabbed a hard line drive and got a double play at third base. First baseman Kevin Carney made an outstanding twisting grab of a pop up down the right field line. John Cormier made a nice catch in left field and Joey Petka had a stolen base. Matt Robichaud, Peter Sawyer and Brad Keefe played well in this tight contest.
The Diamond Dogs leave the Massachusetts State Tournament knowing they can compete with the best teams in the region.