It Was Not All Business: The North End Dodgers Took Time out from the Lafesta Baseball Exchange for a Little Fun

Coach Al Vilar on his way down one of the zip-lines during the North End Dodgers weekend tournament.

The North End Dodgers (13-15 year olds) Baseball team traveled to North Adams to participate in the 21st Annual LaFesta Baseball Exchange, a two game series both home and away.

The North Adams team will travel to the North End the first week in August for two games at Puopolo Park during North End Pride Week, August 1 through August 7.

North Adams won the first game 3-2 and also captured the second contest 11-4.

Coaches Ralph Martignetti, Alfredo Vilar and Anthony Coppola made the three-hour trek west and they and the team were greeted with the usual hospitality of George and Nancy Canales.

The team ventured to a camp ground where they had the opportunity to participate in a State Police run ropes course that featured a zip-line from a 50 foot high tree top where a tree slingshot swing hurled them through the tree tops.

Following the camp adventure, the team and their families were treated to a BBQ and they went swimming in the lake.

After a brief rest, the Dodgers headed to Joe Wolfe Stadium for a 7pm first pitch game.

Formal introductions of both teams took place and the playing of the National Anthem.

The Dodgers struck in the top of the 1st inning when two time “Bobby D” MVP Nicholas Iudiciani tripled scoring Pearse Martin who was on first.

Pitcher Anthony Coppola held North Adams scoreless in the bottom of the 1st getting the side in order.

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the 2nd with one out but failed to score.

North Adams took a 2-1 lead in the home half of the 2nd. Kirby Bryce reached on an error and stole second base and touched the plate on a single by Ben Coleman.

North Adams “Bobby D” MVP Brodie Altier singled in Coleman and a 2-1 lead.

The Dodgers loaded the bases again in the 3rd on a single by Iudiciani, Coppola reached on an error and Jake French walked.

Once again the Dodgers left the bases loaded.

The Dodgers tied the game at 2-2 in the 5th. Michael Rausseo roped a double to left and French doubled Rausseo home.

North Adams took the lead 3-2 in the 5th. Bryce walked and eventually scored on a two out single by Altier.

The Dodgers threatened in the 7th placing runners on second and third with two outs but a strike out ended the game.

Coppola pitched well in a losing effort hurling a complete game three hitter with 6 strike outs.

Four errors in the bottom of the 1st led to a North Adams 7-0 lead and the Dodgers never recovered losing the second game 11-4.

Iudiciani collected two more hits, four for the series. Robert Pagliuca and Aaron Cronin had the other two hits for the team.

Coach Martignetti said, “As always the experience of playing on a field like Joe Wolfe Stadium and enjoying the hospitality of the people from North Adams was terrific and the Dodgers are looking forward to returning the hospitality and friendship when North Adams visits the North End.”

The Mayor of North Adams and the President of the North Adams Steeple Cats, a semi-pro baseball team, welcomed the North End team and their families.

The Canales family and the many supporters and friends hosted the team for the weekend at the Holiday Inn.

The team was also treated to a pizza party and an outdoor patio breakfast.

“The baseball games are just a median to get kids together, but the life-long friendships that have been formed over the years is the reason this exchange is the longest running youth baseball competition of its kind on the east coast,” NEAA Baseball Coordinator John Romano said.

“Over 500 children have participated in the baseball exchange over the 21 year period, but the one thing that remains constant is the commitment of the Canalas family and  people like Tony Abussi and John Lipa of North Adams to ensure the kids from both cities have a great time,” Romano said.

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