For the 26th consecutive year the North End Athletic Association (NEAA) 15U Dodgers travelled to North Adams to take on a team from that team in the annual LaFesta Exchange.
Each summer the NEAA Dodgers travel for a weekend series in North Adams and then the following weekend the boys from North Adams come to the North End to take on the Dodgers in a traditional home-and-home series.
Coached by Ralph Martignetti and Domenic DiCenso the 15U team loaded into their team van and made the three hour trek very excited to play baseball.
Game one saw Jack DeSimone get the ball for the Dodgers. He was matched up against North Adams pitcher Steven Ferrara.
North Adams struck first and held a 3-0 lead after three innings. In the top of the 4th the Dodgers mounted a rally as Nathan Scott walked, Richard Pagliuca was hit by a pitch and Jack DeSimone tripled them both home making it a 3-2 game. That was the closest the Dodgers would get despite hits from Joseph Bova and DJ DiCenso the Dodgers could not push across any more runs and fell 6-2 in game one.
After some pizza and a good night’s sleep the Dodgers were rearing to go in game two and had ace Geoff Ingrando on the hill. Coach Dom led the Dodgers in some pre-game calisthenics to make sure the boys were ready to go and it worked as the Dodgers struck for two runs on 4 hits in the top of the first.
DeSimone led off with a single. Ingrando follow with a hit of his own and the Dodgers had 1st and 2nd with nobody out. After a double steal Jack Flynn ripped a single scoring both Dodgers and it was 2-0.
Ingrando took the mound and was in complete control. He went 6 innings allowing 1 unearned run on 3 hits, struck out 8 while walking only 2.
The Dodgers added to their lead in the 5th when Colm Vraibel walked and was singled to 3rd by DeSimone. A wild pitch scored Vraibel and a 2nd wild pitch got DeSimone home holding a 4-0 lead in the 6th the Dodgers added 4 more runs. Sam Circuolo led off with a double, stole 3rd and was driven home by Nicolas Seaver. Matt Mendoza walked and Vraibel singled him to third. DeSimone singled home Vraibel and Flynn singled home DeSimone.
Leading 8-1 entering the bottom of the 7th the Dodgers seemed to be cruising. The cruise hit some rocky waters as Ingrando tired and Coach Ralph went to his bullpen. The first North Adams player flied out harmlessly to John Paul Anderson but then the rally began. Seven straight North Adams players reached base making it 8-5 with the bases loaded and one out and the clean-up hitter up.
The Dodgers went to their 3rd pitcher of the inning and the North Adams player crushed a long fly ball to right field that seemed destined to tie the game if not win it. Matthew Mendoza had a different ending in mind. Getting a great jump on the ball and running back towards the fence at full speed he reached up and made a brilliant catch to temporarily save the game for the Dodgers.
All three runners tagged up and the score was 8-6 with 2nd and 3rd and two out. Jack Flynn bore down and got the next batter to hit a grounder to 3rd that LaFesta MVP Jack DeSimone easily picked up and fired across the diamond to DJ DiCenso and the celebration was on.