2003 Massachusetts State Little League® Tournament Results
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Massachusetts State Tournament
Major Baseball Division



Toward the past
2003

Toward the present

Massachusetts State Tournament
Host - Oxford (District 5)
At Stanley Johnson Field

Participating Teams
Section 1 Champions Westfield North (District 2)
Section 2 Champions Middleboro (District 7)
Section 3 Champions Everett (District 12)
Section 4 Champions Saugus American (District 16)

Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Saugus American 16, Westfield North 6 (5 innings)
Middleboro 17, Everett 1 (full six innings)

Winner's Bracket Finals:
Saugus American 7, Middleboro 3

Elimination Bracket Semifinals (four teams remain):
Everett 5, Westfield North 1 (elim.)

Elimination Bracket Finals (three teams remain):
Everett 4, Middleboro 3 (elim.)

Championship Game:
Saugus American 11, Everett 1 (full six innings; TITLE)


Summary:

Saugus American reached the Massachusetts state tournament for the first time by upending Weston 16-1 in the Section 4 championship game at Reinfuss Field in Lynn.

For Saugus, it was the beginning of a summer of firsts. First state championship. First appearance in a nationally-televised game. First region championship.

And first-ever trip to the Little League World Series.

Saugus American traced the footpath of defending Massachusetts state champion Jesse Burkett Little League by reaching the Little League World Series and eventually finishing as the United States runner-up. With many of Jesse Burkett's players looking on, Saugus scored seven times in the top of the second inning and dispatched Everett 11-1 in the state championship game at Stanley Johnson Field in Oxford.

It was the third consecutive state tournament game in which Saugus overwhelmed the opposition with a big inning. Saugus toppled Westfield North 16-6 behind a nine-run fourth inning rally in their state tournament opener, then used a five run third inning rally to defeat Middleboro 7-1 and gain the championship game.

Saugus rang up its big innings with a swarm of little hits. The team's three home runs at the state tournament were all solo shots, and only one came in their decisive rallies.

"They find a way to get the ball over the infield and in front of the outfield," said Middleboro manager Ron Holmgren after Saugus sent his team to the elimination bracket. (They) did that today, and last night when I scouted them. They put the bat on the ball and don't strike out."

Saugus' first big inning in Oxford came at a critical time in their state tournament opener. Westfield North took a 6-4 third inning lead against a depleted Saugus pitching staff, but the District 16 champions strung together seven hits and capitalized on a pair of Westfield errors to score nine runs in the fourth inning. Saugus loaded the bases on a walk and a pair of bunt singles to open the inning, and then tied the game on hits by Dario Pizzano and Joe Kasabuski. Matt Muldoon reached on an error that plated two runs, and Dave Ferreira made it 9-6 with an RBI single. Yano Petruzzelli added a two-run double, and two more runs scored on a throwing error following Tyler Calla's bunt. The rally made a winner out of Chris Cole, who relieved starter Mark Sacco in the third inning.

"Both of those guys were not feeling well, but we were behind the eight ball," explained Saugus manager Rob Rochenski, referring to his team's pitching shortage. Saugus had qualified for the state tournament less than 24 hours prior to its start, and Rochenski's top two pitchers, Muldoon and Mike Scuzzarella, were ineligible to pitch in the state tournament opener after throwing in the latter stages of the Section 4 tournament.

The next day, Rochenski had his choice of starters against a Middleboro team that launched four home runs and scored seventeen runs in an opening round win over Everett. He chose Scuzzarella, an off-speed specialist who kept the Middleboro offense in check in a 7-3 Saugus victory.

"(Scuzzarella) really did a great job of keeping them off-balance," said Rochenski of his pitcher.

Middleboro doesn't allow pitchers to throw curveballs during regular-season play, and the District 7 powerhouse struggled at times against Scuzzarella's assortment of pitches.

"We can handle a sloppy curve, but that kid (Scuzzarella) had two curves," said Holmgren. "(He threw) one from the side and another that was a drop. I'll give him credit. When he threw his fastball we could handle it, but he stayed with the curveball."

Middleboro took an early lead on Justin Handerhart's first inning RBI single, but Saugus answered with Ferreira's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the inning. Cole's two-out single in the second drove home Scuzzarella with the lead run, and Saugus iced the game with a five-run rally in the third. Muldoon opened the inning with a single, and steamed to third when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. The 6-foot, 180-pound first baseman's baserunning exploits continued when he beat the throw home on Ferreira's infield grounder. Later in the inning, Calla chipped in with an RBI single and Scuzzarella drove home a run with a sacrifice fly before Cole iced the inning with a solo home run.

"Cole had a big home run and played a good game at short. We had some good baserunning and a lot of good hits," said Rochenski.

Everett, which eliminated Westfield after its opening round debacle against Middleboro, then gained revenge against the District 7 champions with a 4-3 win in the elimination bracket finals. Middleboro led 1-0 in the early innings, but after third baseman T.H. Horan pulled a leg muscle while hustling to first base, the District 7 champion's makeshift defense suffered. Everett scored four unearned runs, breaking a 2-2 tie when Brian Nuzzo reached well out of the strike zone to deliver a bases-loaded, two-out, two-run single in the fourth. Middleboro got one run back in the fifth, but Everett pitcher John Forte escaped further trouble and lifted his team into the championship game.

Everett stayed with Saugus early in the championship game. Kasabuski's solo home run gave the North Shore contingent a lead in the top of the first, and Everett responded when Billy Callahan's one-hop single off the center field fence scored Forte. With two runners on and Everett threatening to score again, center fielder Cole made a diving catch of Dan Smith's line drive and threw to second to double off the runner and end the inning.

In the top of the second, Saugus made Everett pay for the missed opportunity, stringing together seven hits, a walk, and an error to score seven runs and essentially decide the game's outcome. Ferreira led off the inning with a single to center, Calla reached on an error, and Petruzzelli singled to right to load the bases. After a strikeout, the next six batters all drove in runs. Anthony Disciscio's blooper to right scored Ferreira, and Cole's safety plated Calla. Dario Pizzano's single scored pinch runner Ryan Bateman, and Kasabuski drew a walk to force in Disciscio. Muldoon's fielder's choice scored Cole, and Ferreira capped the inning that he had started with a two-run single to center.

With the big lead in hand, Muldoon settled down, allowing only four hits and keeping Everett off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.

"I think Matt was caught a little off guard by them in the first," observed Rochenski. "But once he got confidence in the curveball, and with his size and mannerisms on the mound, it was done for them."

Saugus added single runs in the fourth and fifth before Muldoon capped the scoring with a line drive home run to left in the sixth.

"I don't want to say this was far from our dreams, but you need a lot of stuff to happen to get here," said Rochenski of his team's state championship. "And once you win the first game, and you see there are only four teams here, you wonder why it can't be you."

"We had that one loss against Weston (a 10-5 drubbing in the Section 4 tournament), and it humbled us a bit," said Rochenski. Saugus later defeated the same team 6-0 and 16-1 in the tournament's championship series.

"The first time we played them we just had a bad day, that's all there was to it," said the Saugus manager. "Of course, it's one thing for the adults to say that, and another for the kids to actually believe it."

After the setback against Weston, Saugus wouldn't lose again for over a month. Saugus captured the Bay State championship, and then rolled to six wins at the New England Region tournament, including a 4-0 championship game win over Augusta West Little League (Maine) that punched the team's ticket to South Williamsport.

Once there, Saugus won four consecutive one-run decisions, including a wild 14-13 win over Southwest Region champion Lamar National Little League (Richmond, Texas) in the U.S. semifinals. Saugus' run finally came to an end with a 9-2 loss to East Boynton Beach Little League (Florida) in the U.S. championship game.

Follow Saugus American at the New England Region Tournament -- click here to view results.


Linescores:

  Opening Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Saugus American 3 0 1 9 3 16 - -
Westfield North 0 3 3 0 0 6 - -
  Opening Round
Middleboro 2 6 0 1 0 8 17 12 -
Everett 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 - -
  Elimination Bracket Semifinal
Everett 3 0 0 1 0 1 5 - -
Westfield North 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 - -
  Winner's Bracket Final
Middleboro 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 - -
Saugus American 1 1 5 0 0 0 7 9 -
  Elimination Bracket Final
Middleboro 1 0 0 1 1 0 3 - -
Everett 0 0 2 2 0 x 4 - -
  Championship Game
Saugus American 1 7 0 1 1 1 11 - -
Everett 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 - -


2003 Massachusetts District Champions and Sectional Tournament Results:

District Champions
in Section 1
District Champions
in Section 2
D1 - Dalton/Hinsdale
D2 - Westfield North
D3 - Winchendon
D4 - Joe Schwartz (Worcester)

Section 1 Tournament
Championship Game Host - Westfield North

Tournament Results:
1 - Westfield North 13, Dalton/Hinsdale 0 (5 innings)
2 - Joe Schwartz 2, Winchendon 1
3 - Dalton/Hinsdale 4, Winchendon 3 (9 innings; elim.)
4 - Westfield North 9, Joe Schwartz 7
5 - Joe Schwartz 12, Dalton/Hinsdale 4 (elim.)
6 - Westfield North 5, Joe Schwartz 4 (7 innings; TITLE)

D5 - Auburn
D6 - Taunton West National
D7 - Middleboro
D8 - Canton

Section 2 Tournament
Championship Game Host - Braintree (District 8)
At Hollingsworth Park

Tournament Results:
1 - Auburn 7, Taunton West National 6
2 - Middleboro 16, Canton 11
3 - Middleboro 3, Auburn 2
4 - Canton 5, Taunton West National 2 (elim.)
5 - Canton 9, Auburn 3 (elim.)
6 - Middleboro 11, Canton 1 (4 innings; TITLE)

District Champions
in Section 3
District Champions
in Section 4
D9 - East Boston
D10 - Parkway National (West Roxbury)
D11 - Westwood
D12 - Everett

Section 3 Tournament
Host - Norwood (District 11)
At Kelley Field

NOTE: All games will be played at Kelley Field except Game 2.

Tournament Schedule/Results:
1 - Parkway National 1, Westwood 0
2 - Everett 11, East Boston 5
3 - Everett 7, Parkway National 6
4 - Westwood 4, East Boston 0 (elim.)
5 - Westwood 4, Parkway National 3 (elim.)
6 - Everett 3, Westwood 1 (TITLE)

D13 - Weston
D14 - Tewksbury American
D15 - Peabody Western
D16 - Saugus American

Section 4 Tournament
Host - Wyoma (Lynn) (District 16)
At Reinfuss Field

Tournament Results:
1 - Weston 7, Tewksbury American 6
2 - Saugus American 6, Peabody Western 3
3 - Weston 10, Saugus American 5
4 - Peabody Western 8, Tewksbury American 5 (7 innings; elim.)
5 - Saugus American 4, Peabody Western 0 (elim.)
6 - Saugus American 6, Weston 0
7 - Saugus American 16, Weston 1 (4 innings; TITLE)




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Last revision: 06/12/2004