The Bermuda YAO U12 Baseball All-Stars got off to a great start, winning 7-3 in a friendly game against an all-star team from Fitchburg, MA in a field that is a replica of Fenway Park.
The field was maintained more meticulously than some major league stadiums, so it was a real treat for the Bermuda kids to play on such a high quality field. The whole evening was terrific, as the town made the team feel most welcome and brought out lots of fans to support both teams, and hosted a pizza party afterwards. They even created T-shirts for the event - Fitchburg vs Bermuda.
As for the game action, it was the best effort the coaches have seen from their team since training began. The level of talent in Fitchburg was much greater than the Bermuda team are accustomed to from their league games. The Fitchburg team was very solid defensively and physically more imposing than the Bermuda guys.
The game started out very close through the first two innings. Corey Simas pitched 2 very solid innings, striking out the first 4 batters he faced, and ended up giving up only 1 hit and 1 run for his efforts. Mateo Rodriguez contributed some solid defense by keeping a hard hit ball to centerfield in front of him to a single and not allowing the runner to advance on extra bases. In the top of the third, the bottom of the order got the team started offensively. Chris Ricca got on base, advanced on a few passed balls, and then was knocked home when Mateo Donawa grounded out to the pitcher on a very well struck hit. After Josh Allen and Dylan Sommerville walked, Joey Dougherty laced a 2 out single up the middle to score Josh and Dylan. Joey then pitched a scoreless 3rd inning to leave the score 4-1 Bermuda after 3 innings.
The 4th and 5th innings were played very tightly, as Fitchburg brought in their top pitcher who threw harder than our guys had seen all year. Ben Cook laced one off of this pitcher but was unlucky in that it hit the pitcher who made a terrific play to just get him out at first. During these innings, the Bermuda pitchers continued to keep their big bats off balance with good mixes of speeds. Josh Allen was very effective over two innings, showing his best effort of the season, giving up only one run and striking out 5. Also Andrew Daly came in to catch (3rd and 4th innings) and did a terrific job keeping the ball in front of him and controlling the game from behind the plate. Max Betetto did a solid job in the field, playing a variety of positions effectively including first base and centerfield, two critical positions.
Bermuda extended their lead in the top of the sixth against this same top pitcher for Fitchburg. The top of the order really came through. Josh Allen and Joey Dougherty got things started off with a couple of well struck singles. Corey Simas hit one deep to center that was caught by the Fitchburg centerfielder. Then Ben Cook continued his hot hitting by ripping a double to left centerfield, scoring both Josh and Joey. Ben further aided the efforts by heads up base running, scoring on a passed ball during Max Betetto’s final at bat. Ben then finished the game on the mound, closing out the heart of Fitchburg’s strong batting line-up, allowing one run on two hits. Final score Bermuda 7, Fitchburg 3!
The very nice folks from Fitchburg then had a small ceremony where they recognized their president Mike Kelley, and exchanged T-shirts with the Bermuda team. They also awarded players of the game from both sides, and Joey Dougherty was named player of the game for Bermuda.