The smell of summer is here and that can only mean one thing. The East Boston Knights are anxious to get there seasons under way. The Knights have two teams, they play in the Yawkey Baseball League (YBL) and the Royal Rooters Baseball League (RRBL). Both of these leagues are 18+ mens amateur wooden bat baseball leagues. The Yawkey League Knights play a 33 game schedule featuring home games every Monday night throughout the summer at East Boston Stadium. The Rooters League plays a 22 game schedule with home games at East Boston Stadium on Sundays.
The Yawkey Knights are looking to build upon their season from last year as they made the playoffs for the first time in their short three year existence. Although they had a first round loss, they have added key pieces that will help propel them to go deeper in the playoffs this year. Yawkey League Cy Young winner Ken Luongo has been added to an already deep rotation. Kenny had an amazing 9-0 record last year with 0.80 ERA. He also only allowed 6 earned runs in 52 innings. The Knights have also picked up designated hitter Brad Tardugno, who is a career .352 hitter and owns the YBL record for RBI’s in a season with 47 in 32 games. Brad is a great hitter and brings a veteran leadership to the ballclub.
The Knights starting pitching rotation consists of Branden Eaton (9-1), Sean Hannon (6-0), Steve Hueston (former draft pick of the Kansas City Royals), and Ken Luongo (9-0). The Knights have bolstered up the bullpen by adding Syed Ali , Aiden Freeburg, Corey Laliberte, Carter Machado and John Cave.
The Knights opened up this past Sunday against the Stoneham Sabers and although they lost to the Sabers it was a great game. Steve Hueston pitched a complete game for the Knights suffering the tough luck loss after pitching a gem. Final: Sabers 3 Knights 2.
The Knights earned there first victory of the season as they traveled to Savin Hill to face off against the Hornets for the first of 3 games between these 2 teams. Mcconnell Park was an ice box as newcomer Kenny Loungo took the ball for the first time this season. After a shaky first inning (3 walks to load the bases) he settled down to pitch 4 solid innings of no hit baseball. He struck out the side in the 3rd on 12 pitches and finished the night with 8 K’s in 4 innings. Another new comer Carter Machado pitched one inning fanning 2 to preserve the 13 to 2 victory. Knights pitching fanned 10 Hornets in just 5 innings. Offensivley the Knights banged out 13 runs on 13 hits taking advantage of some poor defense by the Hornets. Paulino, DiNapoli and Dowd all had multiple hit games with Dowd leading the way with 3 RBI. Final: Knights 13 Hornets 2
The Knights continued their 5 game road trip to start the season traveling to McConnell Park to face off against division rival McKay Club Beacons. The Knights playing with a short handed crew came prepared to play as they sent ace Branden Eaton to the bump for his first start of the season and he did not disappoint. Branden worked 5 shutout innings allowing 4 hits and striking out 9. The offense did the rest.
Jose Paulino led the way reaching base safely all 4 times and scoring 4 runs for the Knights. Chris Dowd was 4 for 4 with 4 RBI and now leads the YBL with 7 in 3 games. Final: Knights 12 Beacons 0.
The Knights then traveled to Somerville to face off against the Alibrandis. Carter Machado took the ball for the Knights and pitched 5.1 innings against the defending champs keeping them off balance most of the night. Machado made only one mistake all night and that was to Marc DeRouches and he took it deep in the first inning for a 2 run homerun. That was all the Alibrandis would need as this was a pitchers dual the whole way. The game was played in 1 hour and 20 minutes!!! Offensively Jose Paulino stayed red-hot going 2 for 3 and now is 7 for 10 on the season with an YBL league leading 8 runs scored. Final Somerville 3 Knights 0.
After a 2 and 2 start the Knights had the Memorial Day weekend off and will continue their season and finish their 5 game road trip Wednesday in Brighton vs the Braves. The Knights return home Friday May 31st at East Boston Stadium vs Savin Hill at 8pm.
The RRBL Knights coming off their back to back championship have struggled out of the gate to a 3 and 3 record. They have added a bunch of new faces and are in the process of finding themselves as a team but are still considered the favorite to repeat in the RRBL this season. Coach Tim Antonellis remains confident that the team will regain its composure and return to the finals. “We had one goal set for the season and every season, and that’s to win a Championship. Anything less is a failure. We have a great mix of veteran players along with some new faces that expect nothing less that to win.” The General Manager Eric Bellavia echoed the coach’s statement. “This has kind of been a trend with this team. We struggle early and find ourselves at the right time. The last 2 seasons we have finished strong and I have every expectation that we will continue that success”. The team is currently in 3rd place behind the Beverly Indians and division leading Pepperell Red Dogs. The Knights have a double-header Sunday against the Red Dogs and look to gain some ground in the standings.
Anybody interested in signing up for the Knights for either league can go to www.ebknights.com and fill out a player registration form on the website. Schedules will be posted within the East Boston Times when they become available. Schedules can also be seen at www.yawkeybaseball.com and www.royalrootersbaseball.com