The NEAA Senior Dodgers (21u) have moved into the final four for the Lou Tompkins All-Star baseball Tournament of Champions. In order to get to the final 4, the Dodgers had to come out of a double elimination bracket that consisted of the #1, #4, #5 and #8 seeds.
On Tuesday July 30, the #1 seed Dodgers took on the #8 seed from Billerica. The Dodger’s came out swinging putting up 7 runs in the second inning and never looking back as they cruised to an easy 11-2 victory. Ryan Colbert went the distance throwing only 83 pitches in his seven innings of work. The Dodgers had big hits from Bob Mello, Mike Martignetti, Nick Iudiciani and Vin Lopriore. Perhaps the biggest hit came from Greg Bilikas as he lined a two run single up the middle to drive in two runs and jump start the Dodgers offense.
Joan Figueroa put on a clinic defensively at shortstop and Colbert took care of the rest. The win set up the Dodgers to play the winner of the #4 vs. #5 seed which happened to be the Dodger’s longtime rival the South End Astros. The Astros came in as a #5 seed but the Dodgers were not fooled as the Astros lost many a game this year because they were undermanned as they played in different tournaments around the country.
The pitching match-up was a good one as the Dodger’s sent Greg Bilikas to the mound and the Astros countered with Chris Delouchrey. The Astros got on the board first via a walk, an errant pickoff attempt and a single and led 1-0 going into the bottom of the third. In the 3rd with one out Bob Mello singled to center. It would be the first of three hits for the red-hot Mello. With two out Mike Martignetti got hold of a Delouchrey fastball and bombed one high and deep into the left center field gap. By the time it landed Mello was crossing the plate and Martignetti was cruising into second base with a game tying double. After that both pitchers dominated with Bilikas and Delouchrey hanging up goose eggs on the board. In the sixth, however the Astros rallied. A leadoff double from pinch hitter Ryan McElroy started the inning. That seemed to fire up the Astros and their bats awoken. Four hits later and a couple of Dodger’s miscues in the field and the Astros had a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. The Dodger’s tried to fight back and loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth but a one-hopper to 3rd led to an inning ending double play and an Astros victory. The Dodger’s loss put them in a do or die game Thursday vs. the team from Maynard. The Dodger’s needed to win to get to the final four but they were feeling very confident behind Ace Vin Lopriore. As it turns out the Dodger’s confidence was justified as Lopriore threw a no-hitter striking out 15 Maynard batters and the Dodgers advanced with a 7-0 victory. The Dodgers got big hits from Bilikas, Martignetti , Lopriore, Mello and Iudiciani but the story of the game was Lopriore. With his blazing fastball, hard running slider and soft over-the-top curve he had the Maynard batters baffled all night. After the game the Maynard coach said, “that was one of the best pitching performances I’ve ever witnessed in my 25 years of baseball.” I know all Dodgers fans couldn’t agree more.