When it was all said and done, it was the Tigers that won the 2010 NEAA/Nazzaro Center Majors Baseball Championship with a 9-0 shutout of the Indians who led the 2 of 3 series one game to none.
The Tigers came out swinging led by a first inning three run home run over the left field fence by series MVP Anthony Freni.
Robert Pagliuca and Eli Swab both singled setting the stage for Freni’s game winning bomb against the regular season (8-3-1) champion Indians.
The Tigers first eight batters reached base giving the 2010 champs a 5-0 lead and they were never challenged throughout the game.
Zach Knopf and Joey O’Brien continued the 1st inning rally reaching base and scored on back to back singles by Vance Battersby and DJ DiCenso who had a great series with 3 hits, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored.
Freni also contributed big time on the mound pitching three scoreless innings. Throughout the three game series Freni faced 29 Indian batters striking out 23 of them while allowing only 1 hit.
Pagliuca also tossed three scoreless innings allowing only 1 hit, a double by Nicole Cerulli.
Freni (4 hits), Knopf (3 hits), Swab (3 hits) and Pagliuca (2 hits) led the Tigers hit parade.
"It was the most complete game of the season for our team," boasted assistant coach Dominic DiCenso who has a son and daughter playing for the Tigers.
"Everything just went perfectly for us," assistant coach Jerry Knopf noted. He has a son on the Tigers team.
Longtime coach Ralph Martignetti who is rumored to have coached his final game in the NEAA Majors said, "He is proud of the way the Tigers came storming back after losing the first game to the Indians 1-0."
"If the rumor that Ralph is leaving the league is true, the Tigers sent him out in style, with a league championship," NEAA Baseball co-commissioner Frank Iudiciani said.
"Ralph Martignetti has been a coach, teacher and supporter of NEAA Little League for as long as I can remember," NEAA Baseball Commissioner John Romano said. "If he does decide to leave, he will be sorely missed and hard to replace."
NEAA President Dom Campochiaro congratulated the Tigers for capturing the 2010 championship. He also congratulated the Indians who won first place in division play.
Tomasone Club Tigers: Vance Battersby, Dominic DiCenso, Anthony Freni, Alana LaBella, Richard Pagliuca, Victoria DiCenso, Zach Knopf, Robert Pagliuca, William Parsons, Eli Swab, Eamon Szostac, Joseph O’Brien. Coaches: Ralph Martignetti, Jerry Knopf and Dom DiCenso.
The following is a recap of the first two playoff games.
Game One…Indians win 1-0 without a hit.
Tigers pitchers Anthony Freni and Robert Pagliuca hurled a combined no-hitter with 15 strike outs but lost to the Indians 1-0 in the first game of the NEAA Majors 2010 playoffs.
Four consecutive base on balls did the Tigers in. T.J. Shea walked with the bases loaded scoring the only run of the well played game.
The Pagliuca brothers started what looked like a 6th inning rally. Richard walked and Robert doubled. Eli Swab hit what appeared to be at least a double down the first base line but T.J. Shea snagged the hard hit ball, tagged first and threw to the plate nailing the runner trying to score from third base. Catcher Nicole Cerulli made a nice play getting the tag down just in time to get the out.
"It might be the best double-play ever made in the last innings of a championship playoff game in NEAA history," co-commissioner Frank Iudiciani said.
NEAA Baseball coordinator John Romano said, "The game was well played and coached and it was too bad someone had to lose."
Indians starter Guarino Vilar pitched well allowing only 1 hit while striking out two Tigers.
Nicole Cerulli picked up the win in relief giving up 1 hit and striking out 4 Tigers.
Paul Szulc got the save allowing no hits, 1 walk and striking out 1 batter.
Game Two…Tigers Rebound 13-6
Losing 1-0 to the Indians despite Tiger hurlers tossing a no-hitter in the first game of the championship playoffs, the team rebounded taking the second game in convincing fashion 13-6.
Tigers ace Anthony Freni continued his solid pitching striking out 8 of the 10 Indians he faced during his 3 inning stint on the mound.
Robert Pagliuca pitched out of a few tough jams preserving the Tigers win while knotting the series 1-1.
At the dish, Pagliuca has 2 hits, both for extra bases, Zach Knopf had a double and DJ DiCenso reached base three times, scored two runs and collected an RBI for the Tigers. T.J. Shea had a two-run double for the Tigers and Cerulli scored two runs.