Wyoma Little Leaguers win clinic with Sox star Pedroia
By Joyce Erekson
Welcome to the Laser Show.
That could be the mantra for the Wyoma Minor League Red Sox next season if they take to heart some hitting advice from a guy who walks the walk.
The Red Sox submitted the winning video in Salem Five’s Uncomplicate Hitting contest and the prize is a two-hour hitting clinic with Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia will be at Wyoma’s Charlie Reinfuss Field on Friday, July 28, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to share some hitting tips with the aspiring ballplayers and their coaches. The public is invited to watch the clinic from the stands (participation in the clinic is limited to the Red Sox players). There will also be a question and answer session with Pedroia.
“This is a great opportunity for the kids,” Red Sox manager Ryan Newhall said. “We do the best we can and the kids have come a long way, but this is someone they’ll definitely listen to and learn from. “
The Wyoma video, thanks in large part to the technical skills of Red Sox coach Kevin Ronningen, beat out four other finalists for the top honor. Once the field was narrowed to five finalists, it came down to 10 days of voting by the public. The winning video can be viewed on the Salem Five website (www.salemfive.com or www.pedroiasworld.com).
Newhall, who is also the Wyoma boys Minor League director, said his team was kind of down after losing in the playoffs, so the news the Red Sox had won the contest was a big pick-me-up. Newhall said the parents are also pretty excited.
“The board members are excited to have him come to Wyoma and I’ve received a lot of calls from parents. We have a lot of parents who volunteer a lot. They live at the field. This is good.”
Salem Five is taking care of all the arrangements.
“Salem Five has been great,” Newhall said. “They just asked us to have a few parking spots available.”
Salem Five loan officer Sean McCarthy, who is from Lynn, was thrilled to see a Lynn team win the contest.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for these kids to meet Dustin Pedroia. It’s great for the city. We want to make it as festive an atmosphere as possible.”
Although Pedroia has been a spokesman for Salem Five for years, this is the first time for the Uncomplicate Hitting contest.
Classical teams bow out of tournament early
By Joyce Erekson
As tough as it is to qualify for the state tournament, sticking around to enjoy it can be even trickier.
The Classical High baseball team, the No. 1 seed in Division 2 North, lost to Marblehead, 6-2, Monday in first round play at Fraser Field. The loss not only brought the season to an abrupt end, but it also marked the end of a long, shared ride by the four senior captains who have been teammates since making the move up from Little League to the big diamond as Babe Ruth 13s.
Tyler Way, Andrew Moccia, Matt Lauria and Herbie Newton will go their separate ways this fall. Way is off to the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Moccia is going to Assumption College, Lauria to Bridgewater State University and Newton to Bridgton Academy in Maine. Pitcher George Dimis, who got the start against Marblehead, and Nick Lilja and Mike Tarasuik round out the Rams’ senior contingent.
“It was definitely tough to go out this way, but I’m proud of all my teammates, especially the captains,” Moccia said. “We struggled to get into the tournament last year and this year we were 19-1. I’ll never forget this. It was good. It was a lot of fun. It never seemed like a burden going to practice every day. It was great.”
Way, who hopes to run track in college, scored the Rams’ first run in the bottom of the first inning when he walked, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and came home on a sacrifice fly by Lauria. He’s proud of what the team did despite the early exit and he knows it will seem strange next year not to be back with his fellow captains.
“They (Moccia, Lauria and Newton) have been teammates of mine for about seven years. Next year will be the first time we won’t be teammates,” Way said. “It was great to accomplish so much. Not to underestimate our team, but we came so far.”
Newton figured in the Rams only other run in the game. Marblehead had taken a 3-1 lead with two runs in the top of the second inning and one in the third. In the bottom of the third, Classical loaded the bases on a single by Christian Burt, a walk to A.J. Luciano ad an infield hit by Lauria. With two outs, Newton walked to drive in Burt, cutting the deficit to 3-2. That was as close as the Rams would get. Marblehead scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning to put the game out of reach.
“It was a tough way to end the season,” Newton said. “I wish we had gone a lot further. We definitely had the talent to go a lot further, but it was fun while it lasted, playing with all my friends. I’ll miss it a lot. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Lauria said he and his fellow captains have been playing together so long they’ve basically grown together.
“We’ll all keep in tough and keep growing,” he said.
Lauria also played football (quarterback) for the Rams, but he’s hoping to play baseball at Bridgewater State University.
Classical coach Mike Zukowski was disappointed by the loss, but proud of the season.
“This is not the way you want to end the season, especially with a 19-1 (regular season) record and the Northeastern Conference championship (the first in 14 years). I feel for these guys. This is such a good group of seniors. They worked so hard over so many innings,” he said.
Zukowski said his captains basically all started since they were freshmen.
“They’re like my own kids. I spend more time with them than my own family when baseball season comes around. I’m going to miss them,” he said.
In talking about the loss, Zukowski said it wasn’t working for them against the Magicians.
“When we hit the ball, we hit it right at them. We made a few errors and some of the pitchers fell behind in the count.
“When you’re hitting and you’re ahead in the count, you jump all over the ball, and that’s what they were doing,” he said.
The Classical High softball team didn’t fare any better against Haverhill. The Rams only run came in the bottom of the fourth inning when (trailing 6-0) senior first baseman Alaina Gridley doubled, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Meghan Leavitt. The Rams struggled against Hillies’ pitcher Bryana Michitson, who will be playing at Assumption College (Division 2) next year.
“She (Michitson) was a really good pitcher,” Classical coach Erica Richard said, adding that Haverhill also hit the ball well.
“They’re a very good team, one through nine,” Richard said. “She (Michitson) did what she had to do. She kept us off balance.”
As painful as the loss was, Richard and the Rams have plenty to look forward to next season. The team will lose four seniors, two of them (Gridley and centerfielder Emma DeJoie) are starters.
“We’ll come back next year even hungrier and with our battery (pitcher Tori Adams and catcher Leavitt) intact,” she said.
Richard said she doesn’t thing anyone expected the team to get off to a 9-0 start, but she said she did expect the team to start off strong. She said during the season, the Rams never lost a game by more than two runs.
“With the year she (Adams) had, we were in every game,” Richard said.
The Rams finished the season 15-4.