The following story appeared in the Boston Globe on August 28.
By Marvin Pave GLOBE CORRESPONDENT AUGUST 28, 2016
The Lexington Blue Sox captured their second straight Intercity League baseball title on Tuesday night with a 5-4 victory over Andre Chiefs at Morelli Field in Melrose.
But their celebration was subdued, their thoughts quickly turning to prayers for their stricken teammate, Dave Ahern.
A 28-year-old outfielder/pitcher who starred at Bedford High and then Babson College, Ahern has been treated at Tufts Medical Center since going into cardiac arrest last Thursday.
According to his family and Blue Sox manager Rick DeAngelis, Ahern had not regained consciousness since last week. He had suited up for the Blue Sox in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the Intercity League playoffs.
His No. 41 uniform was displayed in the Blue Sox dugout and also delivered to his hospital room where family, friends and teammates – past and present — have congregated.
Blue Sox players also wore navy blue AHERN 41 t-shirts under their game uniforms and ‘DA’ decals on their helmets and caps as they swept the three-game series against the Chiefs.
“Dave started playing for us in 2012 and right away became a major contributor, a team leader and a mentor to our younger players,’’ said DeAngelis.
“We rallied around Dave Ahern and his family this past week because he is a special young man and a tremendous human being.’’
A post on the team’s Facebook page said: “Dave, we took pressure off the game and put things in perspective. We all love you, we’re praying for you to make a full recovery . . . your contributions to our championship are immeasurable.’’
Another Facebook posting, by Ahern’s sister, Rachael, said, in part, “your prayers are appreciated. We are all holding David close to our hearts.’’
Last Thursday, before he was stricken at his home, Ahern went to the Granite Links Golf Club to sharpen up for a tournament the following day benefitting the Babson baseball program. He works fulltime as a sales manager.
As a Babson senior, he hit .438 while compiling a 5-2 record on the mound with a 1.19 earned run aveage. He broke or tied nine of the program’s game, season or career records. He was Babson’s Male Athlete of the Year for the senior class.
“He’s the best player I’ve ever had at Babson,’’ said Matt Noone, who has coached at the Wellesley school for 15 seasons.
“Dave has a larger than life personality and he was the guy our team looked to for strength. He was our rock. We’re all hoping and praying that Dave’s strength leads to his recovery.’’
To help defray Ahern’s medical bills, student loans, and rent, his friends have set up GoFundMe page, www.gofundme.com/DaveNeedsUs.
Marvin Pave can be reached at email@example.com
Lexington wins 12th ICL Championship By Bruce Hack Lexington Blue Sox Media Relations Director Melrose – Determined to win for their stricken Blue Sox brother and teammate, Dave Ahern, Lexington held on for a hard-fought 5-4 win and a sweep of the Andre Chiefs for its 12th Intercity League Championship in 22 seasons. For […]
Intercity League wins Amateur Baseball Classic for third time
First league to win consecutive titles
By Bruce Hack
Lexington Blue Sox
Media Relations Director
Melrose – The Intercity League hosted the Fifth Eastern Mass Amateur Baseball Classic and again played the role of poor hosts as they won 6-3 over the Cranberry League in a rain-shortened five-inning contest at Morelli Field.
The ICL hosted the inaugural event in 2012 at Lexington High School and defeated the Cranberries 6-5 for the title. Last year the ICL won 6-3 over the Yawkey League at Brockton’s Campanelli Stadium.
The hosts struck for four runs in the first, the biggest first inning in tournament history, as all nine batters came to the plate. Mike Burgoyne (Andre Chiefs) started the inning with a single to right and moved to second on a walk to Jon Barber (Watertown Reds). After an infield out moved both runners up, Zac Talis (Reading Bulldogs) walked to load the bases for Watertown’s Dan Chaisson. The slugging third baseman doubled down the right field line to drive in two runs and it was 2-0 ICL. After the second out, Kyle Boudrais (Arlington Trojans) singled to center to drive in Talis and Chaisson and it was 4-0 Intercity League.
The offense struck again for the ICL in the second inning. After two infield outs, Scott Searles (Wakefield Merchants) doubled to right. Talis walked again, and Chaisson singled to right to plate Searles and it was 5-0. Watertown first baseman Justin Forman drove in Talis with a single to left for the 6-0 lead.
Chaisson was a unanimous choice for Tourney MVP. On the day, he was 3-for-3 with three RBI, and a run scored. He drove in three of the first five ICL runs in the championship game.
Reading Bulldogs pitcher Wayne Lundgren started the championship game and pitched two shutout innings for the win. He gave up two hits and struck out three. Lundgren set down the first five batters he faced, three by K. He did not allow a ball out of the infield, until consecutive singles snapped the streak.
Sam Kasten (Andre Chiefs), who in his two innings of work also struck out three, walked one, and gave up the first CBL run when Tyler Beach singled to score Marc Doyle, followed Lundgren on the mound.
The Cranberries cut the lead to 6-3 on a two-run single by Matt Nicholson off Mike Curtis (Reading Bulldogs) in the fourth inning.
This year’s tournament had seven inning games, instead of nine, as in the past. Due to that the championship game started almost an hour ahead of schedule, but unfortunately still was cut short by the rain.
Intercity League players had taken the field for the top of the sixth when the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down. The teams waited for 15 minutes and then the umpires declared the game called.
In the first game of the day the Intercity League defeated the Boston Park League 6-3 (sound familiar) to move into the championship game for the third time in five years.
Ben Johnston (Arlington Trojans) had a bases-clearing triple in the second inning to give the host team a 3-0 lead.
The ICLers added two runs on a double by Searles and an RBI single by Tom Petry (Melrose Americans) for a 5-3 lead in the fifth. They closed out their scoring with an RBI single by Barber in the sixth that scored Kyle Devin (Reading Bulldogs).
The Park League chipped away at the Intercity’s 3-0 lead and tied it in the fourth with their third consecutive one-run inning.
With one out in the fourth, the Parkers had three consecutive singles, with JP Knight driving in Sam Miller to knot the score at 3-3.
Knight’s RBI double put the Park League on the scoreboard in the second inning as he drove in Grant Bowen.
In the second the Park League’s Chris Hoyt leadoff with a walk, stole second and took third on a throwing error. He scored on an infield out by Alex Venditti.
Lexington manager Rick DeAngelis guided the ICL All-Stars to victory for the second time. He also led the squad in 2012. Melrose manager Kevin Burgoyne, Wakefield manager Dave Ellegood, Somerville manager James McConville, and Chiefs assistant coach Anthony Durkee ably assisted him. Warming up the relief pitchers were bullpen catchers Derlin Tejeda and Connor Green from the Blue Sox.
For the second time a championship, game was shortened by weather in the five years of the event. Both times the Cranberry League has been on the losing end. In 2013, they lost to the Yawkey League 7-6 in a three-inning game called because of fog.
All three games featured good baseball and entertained the crowds all day long. In the fifth year of the event, that features the best players from the four Greater Boston amateur baseball leagues, once again displayed the best baseball talent in Eastern Massachusetts.
Thanks to the hard work of Joe Paolucci of the Cranberry League, Walt Bentson of the Park League, Rick DeAngelis of the Intercity League, and Marc DesRoches of the Yawkey League this event was again a success. Also thanks to the Kevin Burgoyne and Orazio Azzarello of the Melrose Americans for hosting the event. In addition, thanks to the Melrose DPW who got the field ready for play for all three games.
All four leagues thank all the fans that came out and watched a great day of amateur baseball.
2016 Fifth Annual
Eastern Massachusetts Amateur Baseball Classic
Game One Cranberry League vs. Yawkey League
9 July 2016
At Morelli Field, Melrose, MA
Park– 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 – 3 8 1
Intercity – 0 3 0 0 1 1 x – 6 9 2
Park – Kyle Musco, Connor Farrell (2), Rich Scanlon (3), James Bussiere (4), Tom Simas (5), Kenny Henry (6) and James Patti, Mike Davis (5); ICL – Aidan Freeburg, Tim Dunphy (3), Steve Keskinidis (5), Christian Rosatti (6), Jimmy Hill (7) and Alex Voitik, Kyle Devin (5).
WP – Steve Keskinidis (1-0). LP – Tom Simas (0-1). SV – Jimmy Hill (1).
No Home Runs
Game Two Yawkey League vs. Cranberry League
9 July 2016
At Morelli Field, Melrose, MA
Yawkey – 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 – 1 4 1
Cranberry – 0 0 0 2 1 0 x – 3 5 3
YL – Mike Smith, Stephano Stravoravdis (3), Joe Skoczylas (5), Lamarre Rey (5), and Nate Hodor; CBL – Nate Koneski, Tim Troup (2), Ian Searles (4), Ryan Earle (6), Trevor Cooley (7) and Brendan Kates
WP – Ian Searles (1-0). L – Stephano Stravoravdis (0-1). SV-Trevor Cooley (1).
No Home Runs
Cranberry League vs. Intercity League
9 July 2016
At Morelli Field, Melrose, MA
Cranberry – 0 0 0 1 2 – 3 6 0
Intercity – 4 2 0 0 0 – 6 8 1
Game called after five innings on account of rain.
CBL – Zack Schindler, Mike Nolan (2), Tom MacDonald (4) and Aaron Clancy; ICL – Wayne
Lundgren, Sam Kasten (3), Mike Curtis (5), Shawn Smeglin (5), and Jordan Pallazola, Chris Butler (5).
WP – Wayne Lundgren (1-0). LP – Zack Schindler (0-1). SV – Shawn Smeglin (1) .
No Home Runs
– 30 –
Almost three hundred people were in attendance on Saturday evening when the Intercity League celebrated its 6th Hall of Fame, Awards & Reunion Dinner at the Montvale Plaza in Stoneham.
Twenty-two new members were inducted into the Hall of Fame. The ICL also presented plaques and commemorative Zorian Bats to the 2015 Award Winners.
Local radio and television personality and Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley served as Master of Ceremonies for the sixth consecutive year.
Special thanks go out to Dinner Chairman Orazio Azzarello as well as Kevin Burgoyne, Bill Smeglin, and Dave Ellegood, who all contributed to the program book.
EDDIE LARSON MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD
Mike Hart, Lexington Blue Sox
Mike Hart, Lexington Blue Sox
Jonathan Bishop, Watertown Reds
Mike Hart, Lexington Blue Sox
Ross Curley, Lexington Blue Sox
PLAYOFF MVP PITCHER (co-winners)
Aidan Freeburg, Lexington Blue Sox
Matt Karis, Lexington Blue Sox
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Chris Sharpe, Melrose Americans
ROOKIE PITCHER OF THE YEAR (co-winners)
Andrew Hamel, Arlington Trojans
Nick Quattro, Reading Bulldogs
LES DEMARCO SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
Steve Tramontozzi, Watertown Reds
Melrose – It was the baseball equivalent of Ali vs. Frazier, Hagler vs. Hearns, or Marciano vs. Charles. The Lexington Blue Sox and Andre Chiefs stood toe-to-toe and exchanged blows before the Blue Sox Josue Feliciano delivered the knockout punch in the bottom of the ninth to give the Sox a 16-15 victory and the title.
Both teams appeared to be down and out only to get back up and rally to keep going what will go down as one the greatest playoff games in league history.
Down 15-14 after the Chiefs scored in the top of the ninth, the Blue Sox had one more rally in them finally bringing the season to a close.
Ross Curley led off with a double to center and took third on the overthrow by Chiefs center fielder Tony Serino. With the squeeze play on, Garret Smith bunted down the first line and as Curley crossed the plate with the tying run, Smith was safe when his bunt hit the first base bag and rolled into fair territory. Mike Hart reached on an infield single to put runners on first and second. Dan Graham lifted a fly ball to center and both runners tagged and moved up a base. The Chiefs appealed that Smith had left the base early and the umpire ruled him out for the second out of the inning. The Chiefs intentionally walked Steve Gath and John Puttress worked a walk on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. All of this coming against the Chiefs ace Jared Freni in his third inning of relief work. This set the stage for Feliciano, who bunted for a single to start the Sox seventh inning rally. After swinging at the first pitch, he then bunted the next pitch down the first base line and as Hart raced home with the winning run, Feliciano slid into first to avoid the tag and give the Sox the championship.
No matter how you measure the game, it will go down as an epic battle. Game three started on Thursday August 20 at 8:36 p.m. After almost three hours of playing, a 29-minute delay occurred when the outfield sprinklers came on. With no way to turn them off the game was suspended and would be resumed on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Mother nature intervened and the game was rained out and postponed until Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Finally, 67 hours and 45 minutes after the game began play started again. The teams played three more innings that took an hour and 16 minutes to play. The game took 4:40 to play including the 29-minute delay. From first pitch to last play was a total of 68 hours and one minute, or almost three days.
Besides being epic in time, the teams combined for 31 runs, 40 hits, five doubles, three home runs, 15 walks, 16 strikeouts and the nine moundsmen threw 450 pitches, 281 for strikes. The Chiefs and Sox left a combined 33 runners on base, including the bases loaded seven times. The third and eighth innings were the only ones in which neither team scored and both teams scored in five of the innings. In the 18 innings played, there was only one 1-2-3 inning, the Chiefs fifth authored by Lexington starter Alsis Herrera.
In the first five innings, the teams combined scored 14 runs with Lexington holding a 9-5 lead. In the final four innings, the teams combined to score 17 runs, which included seven runs by the Chiefs in the sixth inning.
That is where we will start this part of the story. With the Blue Sox leading 9-5 and six outs away from victory, it seemed the Chiefs were down and almost out. Someone forget to tell them that as they put together a rally for the ages with eight straight batters reaching base after the frame started with a strikeout. Juan Portes drove in the first run with his fourth hit of the game. Mike Burgoyne had an RBI fielder’s choice and Mike Barbati followed with an RBI single that knotted the game at 9-9. With the bases loaded, a run scored when pitcher Mike DiCato was hit by a pitch. Three Blue Sox errors also contributed to the Chiefs rally, as all of them directly leading to runs.
The Sox kept battling and worked two walks off of Chiefs ace Freni, the last one to Graham that brought in Adie to cut the lead to 12-10.
The game went to the top of the seventh and Johnny Welch had a 2-2 count on him when the sprinklers came on halting the action and leading to the suspension of the game.
Now we move to late Sunday afternoon and play finally resumes. Only to see the Chiefs have to make another move. Welch, who was supposed to be up, could not make the game due to a work commitment, was pinch hit for by Nate Witkowski. He worked a walk and two pitches later came home on Portes fifth hit of the night, a two-run home run to left that give the Chiefs a 14-10 lead.
Now Lexington appeared to down and facing one of the best pitchers in the league had to score at least four runs to keep playing. An offense that had scored 192 runs in the regular season was up to the task. Feliciano began with a bunt single and went to third on Kevin Davis’ single to right. Adie followed with a single up the middle to score Feliciano and it was 14-11. A pair of ground outs to the second baseman moved the runners up with the second one driving in Davis for a 14-12 score. On an 0-1 count Hart drove a Freni fastball to left that just cleared the leap of Chiefs left fielder Burgoyne for a 2-run home run that tied the score at 14-14.
The Chiefs loaded the bases in the eighth with one out, but could not capitalize. Witkowski was retired on a foul pop up to third baseman Curley and Portes was set down for the first time on a come-backer to Blue Sox hurler Aidan Freeburg, the ninth pitcher of the game.
Freni struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth, but did allow a two out single.
In the top of the ninth, the Chiefs retook the lead for the third time. Burgoyne began with a single to right, stole second base, and Barbati sacrificed him to third. He then scored on Serino’s single to center past a drawn-in infield to make it 15-14. Freeburg struck out the last two batters to give his teammates another shot at coming back.
Now back to the beginning of our story.
The Chiefs struck quickly scoring twice in the top of the first scoring on RBI singles by Welch and Portes. Lexington came right back with a lead-off home run by Adie, his second in as many nights and then a 2-run double by Jeff Vigurs to take a 3-2 lead. After Mike Gedman’s RBI double in the top of the second tied the game at 3-3, the Sox responded with three more runs on two sacrifice flies and an RBI single by Curley. Portes drove in two more for the Chiefs with a double in the fourth and Lexington came back with another three spot in the fifth courtesy of Hart’s RBI single, a bases-loaded walk to Dorian Rojas and an error.
This was the fifth straight finals meeting between these two teams and Lexington now hold a 3-2 lead in that run and is 4-2 in six finals matchups against the Chiefs. The teams have won the last nine league championships, with Lexington holding seven of them.
While the 2015 Intercity League season has come to close and the lights are turned off for the final time the fans will have plenty to talk about over the offseason as they remember the great finish to the 2015 season.
For a complete box score and play-by-play please go to http://www.pointstreak.com/baseball/scoreboard.html?leagueid=789.