DRACUT — What a great game! That was the consensus of all the fans who just watched one of the best and most exciting Dracut Baseball Association championship games.
The Dodgers edged the Orioles, 10-9, in an extra-inning heavyweight bout. Both teams entered this Major 60 title game on a roll. The Orioles knocked off the Red Sox and top-seeded White Sox, while the Dodgers defeated the Mariners and Mets during the playoffs.
Despite missing Lincoln Lessard, their leadoff hitter and their feared cleanup slugger, the Orioles jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after Landyn Murphy’s hot shot to third base. Matt Morris’ ground ball to second base helped the Dodgers tie the game up 2-2. The Dodgers left two men on as Thomas Everly’s rocket down the line was fielded by the Orioles first baseman to end the first inning.
The Orioles scored 3 runs and regained the lead, with Jake Zawadzki’s walk and Josh Sablone’s single. Ronnie Rossetti made a great running catch for the Dodgers off a flare over second base, as the Orioles were threatening again with runners on second and third. The third inning ended with the Orioles on top 5-4, as the Dodgers responded with a Ryan Talbot double and RBI singles by Matt Morris and Allyn French. Orioles’ third baseman Adrian Kimborowicz knocked down a hard-hit ball earlier in the inning.
After walking Sean Murphy and Danny Warner, the Dodgers snuffed out an Orioles’ scoring opportunity. Then Michael Pilato singled and scored for the Dodgers to tie things up 5-5 in the fourth.
Dylan Estavao’s double scored 2 runs in the top of the fifth and Colby Manzueta came through with an RBI single to put the Orioles ahead, 8-5. The Dodgers rallied in the bottom of the sixth, tying the game up 8-8 and had two game-winning runners thrown out at the plate. Orioles’ shortstop Joe Donnelly made both outstanding cutoff throws to home.
Going into extra innings, Kevin Carney walked and scored the go-ahead run for the Orioles on Zack Gray’s single and third RBI of the day. With 2 outs in the bottom of the seventh and their championship dreams fading fast, Brad Connelly, Dylan McCarthy and Zachary Day’s patience at the plate paid off as they all walked to load the bases for the Dodgers. The boys in blue knotted the score at 9-9 before Kyle Knight’s infield grounder knocked in the championship-winning run for the Dodgers.
“The kids pulled it together for the whole playoffs,” said Dodgers head coach Steve Talbot. “I think the biggest key was that our pitchers threw strikes and only walked a few guys combined in three games. Also, we made the important plays when we had to. It was a fun, rewarding season from a coaching standpoint.”
“Congratulations to the Dodgers for winning the championship,” added a gracious Oriole coaching staff. “Both teams played well and tried their best. We’re proud of all the boys and they certainly gave the fans a game to remember.”
Best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery to the Orioles’ Cobb Yirrell and Philip Tesoro of the Dodgers.