Blue Jays reign in Senior League
Festa twins, C.J. Cassaro spark team to title
By Cary Shuman
The Blue Jays are the champions of the East Boston Little League Senior League as a result of a potent combination of hitting, bunting, pitching, and defense.
Manager Chucky Cassaro’s rallied to defeat the Pirates, 14-10, in the exciting finale of the best-of-three championship series before a crowd of 200 fans at Noyes Park.
The Pirates struck fast in the game, scoring seven runs in the two innings before Cassaro called on his son, C.J. Cassaro, for a relief pitching appearance. C.J., a very talented, 13-year-old baseball player who will be a freshman at East Boston High School, pitched superbly the rest of the way to earn the victory on the mound.
The real excitement came with two outs in the sixth inning and the Jays trailing 10-9. Richie Diaz drew a walk and John Festa had an infield single. C.J. Cassaro then surprised the Pirates’ defense by directing a squeeze bunt down the third-base line that tied the game at 10-10. Nick Festa cleared the bases with a three-run homerun. Dom Delvecchio produced his second triple of the game, and Joe Ferullo added an RBI single for a 14-10 lead.
The game-tying squeeze bunt was a brilliant, gutsy call by manager Chucky Cassaro at that point in the game.
“They weren’t expecting a bunt,” said Cassaro. “C.J. had a triple in his first at-bat so everybody backed up when he had strike on him. And that’s when he dropped the bunt down the third-base line.”
Cassaro said the Jays’ stellar defense also paved the way to the title. Outfielders Kenny Streeter, Cam Martin, and Aiden Green were very effective throughout the series.
The Jays had defeated Brian Troville’s Pirates, 8-3, in Game 1 of the series. Nick Festa pitched an outstanding game and also helped the cause with two basehits and two RBIs. John Festa led the Jays’ offense with three doubles and two RBIs. Cassaro was three-for-three while Richie Diaz also had some key hits.
In Game 2, Antonio Gerardi pitched a five-hitter and struck out nine batters to lead the Pirates to a 2-1 victory and force a rubber game of the series. John Festa pitched well, striking out five batters and yielding only two hits.
Manager Cassaro said it was an honor for his team to succeed the White Sox as league champions. The Sox, under the direction of Joe Serpa and Tommy Henderson, had carved out a dynasty by winning four of the last five Senior League titles.
“The White Sox were the powerhouse for the last five years and their coaches and players did a great job,” said Cassaro. “We saw how difficult it was to win this title. We had to beat some great teams, especially the Pirates, who battled us all the way in a very exciting final series.”
The East Boston Little League is winding down another very successful season under the leadership of Chucky Cassaro, league president, and an equally hard-working board of directors. The league will honor its players at the upcoming annual awards banquets.
Nationals win EBLL Major League championship
The Nationals won the deciding game of the East Boston League Major League playoffs, 8-6, to capture their second straight playoff championship.
The Nationals finished in first place in the regular season and defeated the Mariners in the first round to advance to the best-of-three finals.
The third-place Yankees advanced to the finals by besting the second-place Cardinals in the first round.
The Nationals won Game 1 of the finals, 4-3, behind the pitching of Robert Gilbride and Reuben Deleon. The Yankees took Game 2 by a 3-1 score behind the pitching of Yonaxis Alcantar.
The Nationals won a back-and-forth Game 3 when Jaden Marshall hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning, giving his team back-to-back championships and concluding another successful season for EBLL.