The 11-year-old Braintree American baseball team completed the job of winning the Little League state championship and took home the state trophy. They defeated Medford 13-10 at the Joe Schwartz Little League Park in Worcester.
Although the score doesn’t dictate it, Braintree had some good pitching from Mikey Valicenti, John Tellier and Patrick “Bulldog” Hannigan to close it. Braintree jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, the bottom half of the order really produced, batters 7, 8, and 9 scored eight runs on the day.
Jack Collins, who was 1 – 1 with two runs scored started the scoring for the team. Matt Doyle 1 – 2 and Jackson Duffy reached base, Collins scored on a passed ball and Adams singled home pinch runner Jeff Pollara and Duffy. In the third inning Braintree expanded the lead to 10-0 with seven runs scored in the
inning. Pollara, one walk, three runs scored for the day, Matt Marino, walk, 1 run scored, and Duffy 1-2, two runs scored, all scored on consecutive base hits from Adams, 3 – 4 for the day, O’Brien 2 – 5, Gaudette 1 – 3, Valicenti 2 – 3. Catcher Brett “Chopper” Lockhart 1 -2 and third baseman David Vanelli 1 – 1, finish off the inning by driving home Gaudette and Valicenti for the sixth and seventh runs of the inning.
Medford battled back in their half of the third inning after Valicenti retired six of seven batters in the first and second innings, he seemed to tire a little and Medford scored four runs. It was time for John “Tell” Tellier. Tell came in and shut the door for that inning. Tell then pitched the fourth and into the fifth inning just keeping Medford at the doorstep, but never letting them in. The Medford team was a tough team that kept battling back.
Hannigan closed out the fifth inning with bases loaded and Braintree holding on 12-10, he struck out two to end the inning. In the top of the sixth Braintree added an insurance run on a one out walk to Justin “JA-JA” Adams and back-to-back singles from Tyler O’Brien and Cam Gaudette driving home
Adams with the 13th run. In the bottom half of the sixth, Hannigan got Medford on three ground ball outs. The final out being a bare hand grab by O’Brien and firing to first base to gun the runner down. And the celebration began at the pitcher’s mound.
Braintree played for two weeks in the tournament play for the state championship going 7-0. They had to battle cross town rival Braintree National, teams from Middleboro, Taunton and Holden. Coach Collins says, “These 13 boys have bonded through hard work at practice and performance in games. I am proud of their accomplishments, now they can enjoy the rest of the summer!”