2005 Massachusetts State Little League® Tournament Results
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Massachusetts State Tournament
Major Baseball Division



Toward the past
2005

Toward the present

Massachusetts State Tournament
Host - Beverly (District 15)
At Harry Ball Field

Participating Teams
Section 1 Champions Rutland (District 4)
Section 2 Champions Dudley (District 5)
Section 3 Champions Newton South (District 10)
Section 4 Champions Danvers American (District 15)

Click here to view 2005 district tournament results for Massachusetts.

Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Dudley 9, Rutland 4
Danvers American 9, Newton South 1

Elimination Bracket Semifinals (four teams remain):
Rutland 9, Newton South 3 (elim.)

Winner's Bracket Finals:
Dudley 4, Danvers American 3 (7 innings)

Elimination Bracket Finals (three teams remain):
Danvers American 12, Rutland 1 (elim.)

Championship Game:
Dudley 10, Danvers American 3 (TITLE)


Summary:

When the Boston Red Sox ended decades of frustration by winning major league baseball's World Series trophy in 2004, club officials sought to share the team's triumph with the citizens of Red Sox Nation. Soon after the series, team President Larry Lucchino announced a tour that would bring the World Series trophy to each of the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Several weeks after the trophy completed its victory lap, it made an encore appearance: at the opening ceremonies of the Massachusetts state Little League championship tournament in Beverly. The trophy proved to be popular with both tournament participants and spectators, the majority of whom had helped keep the faith during the latter portion of Boston's eighty-six year wait for a title.

Dudley Little League had endured its own long wait for a championship. Like the Red Sox, their dream was soon realized.

Dudley won three consecutive games, including a 10-3 championship game win over local entrant Danvers American Little League, to claim the Massachusetts state championship before 2,000 spectators at sparkling Harry Ball Field.

With the wins, Dudley -- a league that had never won a game beyond the district level in the major baseball division coming into the 2005 international tournament -- advanced to the New England Region tournament in Bristol, Connecticut.

Dudley's performance at the state tournament mirrored the Red Sox' arc to their title. The Sox started strongly in their first playoff series; stunned their second opponent, the New York Yankees, with an improbable comeback from a three games to none deficit; and led wire-to-wire in their World Series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. Dudley opened state tournament play with a 9-4 win over Rutland Little League, overcame a 3-0 fifth inning deficit to edge Danvers American in the winner's bracket finals, then rocketed to an 8-1 second inning lead en route to their win over Danvers American in the championship game.

"When they were ten years old, I knew we had athletes," said Dudley manager Misa Fossas, whose team won eleven consecutive games in district, sectional, and state tournament competition. "I told the team (that) there's no way they should ever lose."

Dudley struck immediately in their championship game victory. Leadoff hitter Jack O'Connor singled, and shortstop Jonathan Preissler followed by belting a full count pitch over the left field fence for a quick 2-0 lead.

"That hit told the pitcher 'we're gonna hit'," said Fossas. "We didn't give them a chance to breathe."

Dudley kept the pressure on, adding a run later in the inning and then tacking on five unearned runs in the second. O'Connor, Preissler, and Aaron Fossas all walked to start the second inning rally, and pitcher Tyler Anderson reached on an error that plated a run. John Alano delivered a two-run single up the middle, Anderson scored on a wild pitch, and Tyler Wieloch's single to center scored Alano.

Anderson, who sported a variety of off-speed pitches, retired Danvers in order in the bottom of the inning, and kept Danvers' potent offense in check for much of the game. The left-hander struck out four and scattered five hits in a complete game effort. He also enjoyed the fruits of a strong Dudley defense, including a rare 8-3 putout when center fielder D.J. Plante ended the third inning by throwing out the batter at first base on a hard-hit shot up the middle.

"That play was huge," said Misa Fossas, whose team committed only one error over the course of its two wins against Danvers American. "When you take hits away from a team, it brings you closer to those eighteen outs. That's why we tell the kids defense wins games."

Dudley's first victory over Danvers American -- and by extension, momentum in the tournament -- turned on a single at-bat in the fifth inning. Aaron Fossas deposited an 0-2 pitch well over the left center field fence with two runners on base in the bottom of the fifth to erase a 3-0 Danvers lead.

Two innings later, Dudley's Jake Merritt sparked the game-winning rally. Merritt drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on Plante's sacrifice bunt. Preissler tapped a grounder to the Danvers shortstop, who looked Merritt back to second. On the throw to first, however, Merritt sprinted for third. Danvers' throw from first sailed high over the third baseman's head, and Merritt raced home with the winning run.

Danvers built its early lead when six of the first seven batters reached base in the fourth inning. Zach Ryan launched a leadoff home run over the left center field bleachers, then a pair of singles and a hit batsman loaded the bases. Danvers added a second run when the next batter lined a shot into right field, but Dudley's strong defense again stepped up when the right fielder alertly threw out the batter at first base. Joey Frisch was hit by a pitch and Kevin St. Pierre singled home another run before Merritt, the Dudley pitcher, escaped further damage.

Merritt settled down after Danvers' uprising to retire the last eight batters he faced. His counterpart, Nick Strangie, also pitched well, striking out nine and allowing only Fossas' home run.

"Nick pitched his heart out," said Danvers American manager Brian Bugler of his pitcher, who won five games without a loss in district and sectional tournament play. "I think this was his best game of the whole tournament."

"We knew coming in this was going to be a pitcher's duel," observed Dudley coach Tom O'Connor. "Merritt throws hard, and he throws strikes. (Strangie) did a great job, but he hung a curveball and (Fossas) came through for us."

"This was a tough way to lose," said Bugler. "But we fought our way back in the districts, then in the sectionals. Now we have to do it again."

Danvers, which avenged earlier defeats in both district and sectional tournament play, earned another shot at Dudley with a 12-1 thumping of Rutland in the elimination bracket finals. The Americans broke open a 1-1 contest when St. Pierre's two-run single and Kyle Larson's grand slam home run highlighted a nine run third inning outburst.

Rutland threatened throughout the game, but stranded nine baserunners, including five in scoring position.

"We hit the ball well tonight," said Rutland manager Al Belsito. "But they played good defense."

Danvers also picked up the pace offensively after managing just six hits in their loss to Dudley.

"We've been waiting for the offense to explode," said Bugler after the win. "That third inning is a perfect example of what this team is capable of from the plate."

The next day, Preissler's early home run put Dudley in control from the start.

"They went out there and took the pressure off (Anderson) right away, and put it all on Danvers," said Misa Fossas of his team's fast start.

"Hats off to Dudley," said Bugler. "They really came out hitting.

"They deserve to be the Massachusetts representative," added the Danvers manager, who also marveled at his team's resiliency.

"I'm so proud of all twelve of our boys, and the way they picked each other up all the time. These last seven weeks they brought everything they had."

Fossas agreed. "The one team that we didn't want to face was Danvers, because they know how to come from behind. They're all good hitters, and they play good defense."

It's a potent formula for success, and Fossas could easily have been describing his own team.

Or, for that matter, another successful local team: a group of self-proclaimed idiots who'd ended their own championship drought and buried the Curse of the Bambino nine months earlier.

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


Linescores:

  Opening Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Rutland 0 0 1 0 3 0 4 - -
Dudley 5 3 1 0 0 x 9 10 -
  Opening Round
Newton South 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 -
Danvers American 4 2 2 0 1 x 9 15 -
  Elimination Bracket Semifinals
Rutland 3 0 4 0 0 2 9 12 1
Newton South 1 0 0 0 0 2 3 2 2
  Winner's Bracket Finals
Danvers American 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 6 1
Dudley 0 0 0 0 3 0 1 4 6 0
  Elimination Bracket Finals
Rutland 1 0 0 0 0 1 - -
Danvers American 0 1 9 0 2 12 - -
  Championship Game
Dudley 3 5 0 0 1 1 10 10 1
Danvers American 1 0 1 0 1 0 3 5 2


2005 Massachusetts District Champions and Sectional Tournament Results:

District Champions
in Section 1
District Champions
in Section 2
D1 - Pittsfield West
D2 - Belchertown
D3 - North Leominster
D4 - Rutland

Section 1 Tournament
Championship Game Host - Rutland (District 4)
At Marsh Field

Tournament Results:
1 - Pittsfield West 10, Belchertown 6
2 - Rutland 11, North Leominster 2
3 - Rutland 7, Pittsfield West 4
4 - Belchertown 7, North Leominster 4 (elim.)
5 - Pittsfield West 8, Belchertown 3 (elim.)
6 - Rutland 6, Pittsfield West 0 (TITLE)

D5 - Dudley
D6 - Swansea
D7 - Middleboro
D8 - Cohasset

Section 2 Tournament
Championship Game Host - Plymouth (District 7)

Tournament Results:
1 - Dudley 2, Swansea 1
2 - Cohasset 6, Middleboro 5 (7 innings)
3 - Dudley 10, Cohasset 7
4 - Middleboro 14, Swansea 5 (elim.)
5 - Cohasset 12, Middleboro 11 (7 innings; elim.)
6 - Dudley 6, Cohasset 1 (TITLE)

District Champions
in Section 3
District Champions
in Section 4
D9 - South Boston
D10 - Newton South
D11 - Walpole American
D12 - North Medford

Section 3 Tournament
Championship Game Host - Charlestown (District 9)
Championship Game at Ryan Field

Tournament Results:
1 - Newton South 3, Walpole American 2 (7 innings)
2 - North Medford 7, South Boston 2
3 - Newton South 12, North Medford 7
4 - Walpole American 15, South Boston 1 (elim.)
5 - Walpole American 10, North Medford 8 (elim.)
6 - Newton South 5, Walpole American 0 (TITLE)

D13 - Wakefield National
D14 - Chelmsford Fitts
D15 - Danvers American
D16 - Saugus National

Section 4 Tournament
Host - East Lynn (District 16)
At Volunteer Field

Tournament Results:
1 - Wakefield National 14, Chelmsford Fitts 5
2 - Saugus National 5, Danvers American 0
3 - Saugus National 2, Wakefield National 1
4 - Danvers American 9, Chelmsford Fitts 2 (elim.)
5 - Danvers American 7, Wakefield National 6 (elim.)
6 - Danvers American 12, Saugus National 2
7 - Danvers American 9, Saugus National 5 (TITLE)




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