Somerville 11& 12 Year Old, Little League Division 12 All-Star Baseball Team, Shines on the Diamond

By Skip Murray

From pure baseball point of view, last Monday night’s game at Gillis Field in Medford, between Somerville and Medford was one of the best games a person is likely to participate in or to have had the good fortune to have been on hand to watch. For all those, it will be one game that will stay in the memory forever.

Both team’s bats announced their arrival early, slamming the ball all over the field, hitting hard
line drives and scorching ground balls. And while both teams were hammering the ball, both teams played stunning defense, fielding ground balls cleanly or knocking a ball down and often getting runners by a whisker, while the outfielders ran down, stretched out, and caught seemingly impossible line drives.

In fact, in a decisive moment early in the game, a Somerville rally was cut short by Medford center fielder, Matt Mitchell. While running full speed and with his back to the infield, he chased down a line drive and speared it with an over the head, backhand catch just before it got past him. Had that ball landed and hit up against the left center field wall, Somerville’s runners on base would have scored easily, blowing the game wide open.

Come the fifth inning, all that hard hitting and scoring came to an abrupt stop. Up stepped the pitchers and that was the end of that. They shut the opposition down with power pitching and with finesse. It was as if both pitchers decided, “That’s it, no one is scoring, no matter what.” And as the game progressed from one inning into the next, the pitchers got even tougher and tougher. What a performance by each pitcher. One Medford Babe Ruth player watching from the stands said, “I’m glad I don’t have to hit against these guys.”

The Medford pitcher, Ryan Normile, reared back and fired fastball after fastball, throwing strike after strike, challenging the hitters, overpowering them, seemingly saying, “Here it is, hit it if you can.” He knew he was at his best. The hitters had no chance.

Conversely, the Somerville pitcher, Ronan Fitzgerald, using guile and guts, showed those in attendance at the game, as well as the hitters trying desperately to hit him, what a game pitched with finesse looks like. He continually changed speeds, located the ball up and down, in and out, keeping the hitters guessing and off balance. They could hardly get near the pitch. What a masterpiece.

Any time a hitter happened to hit the ball, which was rare, the fielders were right there to handle the ball, stopping any idea of a rally before it began.

As one inning went to the next, each inning tightening more and more, tension built on both sides, neither team giving the other any room to move. To even think of scoring a run was next to impossible, and for the next five innings it was. The game went into the fifth, the sixth, the seventh, the eighth, the ninth, each team bearing down harder and harder.

At some point you would think these pitchers would tire. The hitters no doubt were hoping they would. Neither did.

Finally, in the tenth inning the game was decided when Medford pushed across the runs they needed to win the game.

For each player on Somerville’s team, you played so well, at such a high level, you deserve a parade. This game you played has got to be one of the highlights of all sports in the city of Somerville this year. Any year.

The game you played at the high level you played it, showed us all why baseball is the greatest game. As a spectator, and I think I speak for all in attendance, we tip our hats to you, Somerville, and we feel a bit of luck we were there to witness this great, great game you played.

Coach Sean Fitzgerald had this to say:

“It was easily the best game I’ve ever been involved in over 6 years of coaching Somerville Little League baseball. The kids were focused and played hard down to the final out. They really put a scare in a stocked Medford team. They deserve all the credit.”

And here are the names of the players and coaches:
From left to right-

Jake McDonald
Coach Rich Johnson
Aidan Johnson
Kevin Downs
AJ Feldman
Peter Novick
Aidan O’Donovan
Ayden Resmini
Cameron Butler
Cameron Laws
Matthew Portle
Manager Sean Fitzgerald
Ronan Fitzgerald
Austin Pacheco
Coach Matt Pacheco

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