DANVERS — After four straight very frustrating visits to the playoffs, the West Lynn Dodgers finally grabbed the Senior Babe Ruth crown by defeating Hamilton-Wenham Patton 8-0, Tuesday night at Twi-Field in Danvers.
After lefty C. J. Howard befuddled the top-ranked team, Salem-Beverly, with a complete game win on Saturday, his teammate Corey Bleau turned in a gem on the hill in Tuesday’s clincher.
Bleau, from Nahant, tossed seven shutout innings, and he fanned 11, at least one strikeout in every inning. Bleau said he’s excited to finally win the crown after several disappointing finishes the last few years.
“It’s great to finally win this, with these guys, I’ve been playing with them on this team for years,” Bleau, a right-hander, said. “Very exciting, and very gratifying to win it all with this group.”
Bleau had runners on second and third in the first and the third innings, the only times Hamilton-Wenham threatened. He got out of the first inning jam with two punch-outs, and another two strikeouts to get out of trouble in the third. He allowed just four hits, scattered over his seven innings of work.
In the bottom of the first, the Dodgers took the lead for good and never looked back. Hamilton-Wenham pitcher Kieran McKay had two away but walked four straight batters, which led to the game’s first two runs. A free pass to Joe Marini brought Bleau in, after he had reached on a single. Jake Cooper took ball four and Howard trotted in with the second run.
McKay had a clean second inning, but the Dodgers roughed him and reliever Harry O’Brien up for five runs and a 7-0 advantage after three.
Bleau and Howard reached on base hits to begin the third, and Bleau came home on a single by Marini. Liam Devereaux doubled with one out, knocking home Howard and Marini, and Devereaux scored on a single by Nathan Howard. J. P. Rieling singled off of O’Brien, scoring Nathan Howard with the seventh run.
The Dodgers scored their final run, to go up 8-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Devereaux singled to left with two outs, and scored easily when Cooper knocked a two-bagger into center.
Bleau allowed just three singles after the fourth, and picked up an assist on the final out of the game. Dodgers manager Jim Devereaux, who has been at the helm with this team during all of the previous playoff disappointments, said it was a great feeling to finally win the whole thing Tuesday night.
“I’m really just so excited that I can’t even talk right now,” Devereaux said. “We got into the position after C. J. (Howard) pitched a great game, a complete game to beat the top-seed, Beverly-Salem. Tonight Corey (Bleau) was unbelievable. Everybody on this team has been unbelievable in the playoffs.”
“We’ve been so close, some of the losses were very painful, very exciting to be the champs, it is awesome,” Devereaux said. “Top to bottom, everybody contributed in these playoffs.”
Members of the 2017 champion West Lynn Dodgers include: Shea Nugent, Liam Devereaux, Nathan Howard, C. J. Howard, J. P. Reiling, Colin Reiling, Maxx Cooper, Andrew McGlaughlin, Joe Marini, Owen Madigan-Fried, Corey Bleau, Eli Almendarez, Jeffrey Garcia and Jake Cooper.