The North Reading Little League Pirates entered the Major League Playoffs as the number 1 seed after winning the Regular Season Championship with a record of 16 wins and 4 losses.
The Pirates outscored their opponents 133 to 70 during the 2014 Regular Season Campaign. The Marlins finished the regular season in third place with 11 wins and 7 losses and advanced to the League Finals by defeating the number 2 seeded Diamondbacks 2 games to 0 in the semifinals. The Pirates went 6-1 in the playoffs and defeated the number 3 seeded Marlins 2 games to 1 to win the Championship Series. The Pirates rallied from an 8-0 deficit to win game 1 of the series 13-12 and won the rubber game of the Championship Series 10-7 over the Marlins to capture the 2014 North Reading Major League Championship. In 7 playoff games the Pirates outscored their opponents 67 to 31.
Game 1 of the Championship Series saw Pirates hurler Sean Haynes face off against Marlins pitcher Joey Frammartino. The Pirates, normally solid defense, had a hard time initially, and the Marlins put up 4 runs in the first inning off some hard hit balls by Nick Pasquale, Matt Luciano, Mario Perrone, Framartino and a huge double by Andrew DeBenedetto. The Pirates tried to answer in the bottom of the 1st when they loaded bases. But Marlins second baseman Luciano made some great plays to keep the Pirates off the board. The Marlins attacked again in the 2nd inning, loading the bases and setting up Luciano for a monster grand slam to left center making it 8-0 Marlins.
It looked like the Pirate ship was all but sunk, but like so many times during the season, the Pirates would fight back. Things got started in the bottom of the 2nd with a lead off hit by catcher Kenny Mills. The bottom half of the order then followed with hits by Will O’Leary, Stuart Glover, and Ryan Good, a walk to Sam McGeachie and a shot smoked down the left field line by Michael Luker for his first of 2 doubles on the day. Veterans Cam Randazzo, Dante Centofanti and Haynes then followed with hits to make the score 8 - 5 in favor of the Marlins. The Marlins then countered and added runs over the next few innings with hits by Ryan Landers, Colin Gover, Joe Giacalone, Colby Bryant, Zach Sampson and Aidan O’Sullivan. The Pirates Brendan Fitzgerald and Robbie Tammaro answered back with some clutch hits to bring the Pirates within 1 run at 12-11 after 4 innings.
The Pirates brought in pitcher Cam Randazzo in the top of the 5th. Randazzo kept the Marlins from scoring any further runs in the 5th and 6th innings. In the bottom of the 6th Randazzo led off with a triple. With the tying run on third base Dante Centofanti came to the plate. Centofanti doubled down the leftfield line plating Randazzo to tie the game. The next 2 Pirates batters flied out. With 2 outs Ryan Kavanaugh came to the plate. With a full count and 2 outs Kavanaugh connected for a line drive to left-center bringing Centofanti home and capping off a fantastic 13-12 comeback win to give the Pirates a 1-0 game lead in the 2 out of 3 Championship Series.
Most teams would be deflated after a tough loss like in game 1, but the Marlins came back to North Reading’s Beneveto Field on Saturday looking to revenge Friday night‘s loss. Zach Sampson was on the mound for the Marlins. The Pirates countered with Dante Centofanti followed by Sean Haynes. The Pirates loaded the bases in the first inning but the Marlins’ defense stood firm and held the Pirates scoreless. In the bottom of the 1st, after a walk to Marlins’ Nick Pasquale, Joey Frammartino dropped a bunt single advancing Pasquale to third. Andrew DeBenedetto followed with a hit to give the Marlins an early 1-0 lead. The Marlins would have scored more, but with bases loaded Haynes made a spectacular diving catch in left center to rob Mario Perrone of an extra base hit for the 3rd out of the inning.
The Marlins scored runs in the 3rd and 4th inning off hits by DeBenedetto, Perrone, Pasquale, and Joe Giacalone. The score remained 3-0 in the Marlins favor until the 6th inning when the Pirates seemed ready for another comeback. Pirates Will O’Leary lead off the 6th with a line drive single to center field followed by walks to Sam McGeachie and Ryan Good. Cam Randazzo then knocked in 2 runs to bring the Pirates within 1. This time the 6th inning rally fell short and the Marlins held on to win 3-2. Sampson pitched a complete game with 7 strikeouts to keep his team alive. It was then onto a game 3 rubber-match for the Town Championship.
In the rubber game the Pirates called Cam Randazzo to the mound to start game 3. He was on his game, mixing fast balls with changes ups and had some great movement on his curve and slider. In five innings he held the Marlins to just 5 hits and struck out 6 batters. The Pirates struck in the first inning scoring 2 runs off hits by Randazzo, Sean Haynes, Ryan Kavanaugh, and Robbie Tammaro.
In the 2nd inning the Pirates scored 3 runs with the help of youngsters Will O’Leary, Sam McGeachie, and Ryan Good who all came up big with singles, followed by a double from Randazzo giving the Pirates a 5-1 lead after 2. In the 3rd, Haynes, Brendan Fitzgerald and Kavanaugh rifled consecutive hits to make the score 7-3 in favor of the Pirates.
Ryan Kavanaugh relieved Randazzo in the fifth and immediately went to work with 2 big strike outs. In the bottom of the 5th catcher Kenny Mills singled and knocked in Tammaro for the eventual winning run. The Pirates added 2 more insurance runs to make the score 10-3 after 5 innings. The Marlins made it interesting in the top of the 6th inning with some good at bats by Pasquale and Matt Luciano, and hits by Aidan O’Sullivan and Andrew Debenedetto to score 4 runs and close the gap to 3 at 10-7. Kavanaugh and his Pirates kept their cool and ended the game with some great pitching and defense with Haynes making another running grab in centerfield for the 3rd and final out of the series to give the Pirates an exciting 10-7 win and the 2014 North Reading Major League Championship.
TEAM PHOTO CAPTION:
Members of the 2014 North Reading Major League Champion Pirates are: (L to R) Front Row: Robbie Tammaro, Kenny Mills, Brendan Fitzgerald, Stuart Glover, Ryan Good, and Sam McGeachie. Middle Row: Ryan Kavanaugh, Cam Randazzo, Michael Luker, Dante Centofanti, Will O’Leary, and Sean Haynes. Back Row: Coach Rob Tammaro, Head Coach Mike Randazzo, and Coach Jim Kavanaugh.