Blue Jays take home AAA division championship.
WEST BOYLSTON - The Blue Jays captured the West Boylston Youth Baseball League AAA division championship last Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Jays, a West Boylston team, defeated the Boylston Cubs, 6-3, to win the title. The game was played on Richard Townsend Field at Goodale Park.
The Blue Jays were the dominant team in the seven-team league this season, losing only one game. They were undefeated in the season-ending tournament, posting a 3-0 record.
During the regular season, the Blue Jays finished in first place with an 11-1 mark.
The Cubs came in second place in the league with a 7-4-1 record, and they were 3-2 in the playoffs.
It was a pitchers' duel over the first four innings between Blue Jays left-hander Justin Cranston and Cubs right-handed hurler Dawson Felch.
Cranston, the winning pitcher, went 42/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits, and striking out 11 batters. Blue Jay Sam Welsh shut the door in relief, getting all four batters he faced.
Felch also pitched 42/3 innings, giving up six runs, of which only one was earned. He scattered five hits, while fanning seven.
Cub Jake Florio finished the game in relief.
The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. AJ Pirro led off the frame with a single to center field, and he went to second on a passed ball.
With one out, Noah Dobbins singled to left field, putting runners at the corners.
With two outs, Parker Ronn looped a two-RBI single to right field.
The Blue Jays tied the game with two runs in the home half of the second.
Flynn Mitchell got things started with a walk and, after an out, Nick Pichierri singled to center field. Mitchell scored on a passed ball, and Pichierri crossed the plate as Alex Vinkels reached first on an error.
The Cubs went ahead 3-2 with a solo run in the third inning.
Florio was the first batter of the inning, and he blasted a double to left field. He then advanced to third base on a wild pitch, and scored on a passed ball.
The Blue Jays tied it at 3 with a run in the bottom of the fourth.
Ryan Gardiner opened the inning with a booming double to center field. Cranston then singled to right, sending Gardiner to third, from where he scored the tying run on a throwing error.
The Blue Jays won the game in the fifth inning.
Corey Shea and Pichierri both singled to center to start the frame. After an out, Patrick Brimner reached on an error, with a run scoring on the play. Two wild pitches and a passed ball accounted for the other two runs.
Pichierri led the Blue Jays with two hits. Defensively, Welsh made all the plays at shortstop for the Blue Jays.
Pirro, at first base, wore the gold glove for the Cubs.
"This was a great game," Blue Jays manager Jeff Cranston said. "We only lost one game all year. It was a total team effort.
"We have 12 kids, and everyone contributed today," he said. "The pitching was good on both teams.
"It was just a great league this year," Cranston added. "The teams were very equal, and it was a well run league."
Cubs manager Tony Pirro was pleased with the way his team played during the season and in the tournament.
"I'm so proud of these guys," Pirro said. "They worked hard all season, and we represented Boylston very well."
PHOTOG: Banner photos/CHRIS RUCHO
CUTLINE: (1) The members of the West Boylston Youth Baseball League AAA division champion Blue Jays are (front row, from left) Ricky Shaw, Corey Shea, Ryan Gardner, Ryan DiFronzo, Andrew Fraser, and Justin Cranston; (middle row, from left) Alex Vinkels, Patrick Brimner, Nicholas Pichierri, Michael Fratantonio, Flynn Mitchell, and Sam Welsh; and (back row, from left) coach Rick Shaw, Mike Mitchell, Manager Jeff Cranston, and Tim Shea. (2) The members of the West Boylston Youth Baseball League AAA division runner-up Boylston Cubs are (front row, from left) Taylor LaRusso, Aiden Knowles, Scott Porter, Jake Florio, and Ryan Hartford; (middle row, from left) Noah Dobbins, James Wright, Parker Ronn, Dawson Felch, and AJ Pirro; and (back row, from left) coaches John LaRusso, Tony Pirro, and Scott Porter.