SAUGUS — The Salem 12-year-old All-Star team played a complete game to ride to a 10-0 win over Saugus American Monday evening at Saugus National in District 16 Tournament play.
“It was a good day,” Salem manager Kevin McGrath said. “Corey [Grimes] threw very well and the bats came alive. It was a good Saugus team, I’ve been waiting for it to come together it seems to be clicking a little bit.”
Grimes pitched all six innings for Salem, allowing only two hits while striking out 10 Saugus American batters and walking one.
The Salem offense was led by Shawn O’Keefe (3-for-3) who had a two-run home run in the fourth inning and Grimes (2-for-3) who had his own solo home run in the first and two RBI on the day. Carey McGrath, Levy DeSilva and E.J. Colbert each also added one RBI for Salem.
Saugus American logged just two hits in the loss. Isaiah Rodriguez and Dylan Clark each laced one single.
“Salem is a baseball team,” Saugus American manager Michael DiGirolamo said. “We ended our tournament against them last year, both times it was the same thing, we made some errors and they didn’t, we didn’t hit the ball and they did. When that happens in a baseball game it’ll always go to the other team.
“Most of these kids have been playing not only Little League but AAU since April and starting indoor work in November,” DiGirolamo added. “By the time June rolls around it’s been a long six months long for them so the postseason stuff is always hard. We always feel like we’re looking for that extra bit of energy in the postseason and we haven’t found it the past few years as a town.”
Grimes started things off for Salem early with his home run in the first to give his team a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for Salem to add to its lead. A hit batter, a bunt single by O’Keefe, and tag-up on a fly ball put runners at second and third with one out in the second inning. Later in the inning a passed ball would score DeSilva from third base and O’Keefe would steal home after a slow throw back to the pitcher to put Salem ahead 3-0.
Salem extended its lead further in the third inning. Jack Doyle got things started with a leadoff single followed by back-to-back RBI doubles by McGrath and Grimes. Later in the inning, O’Keefe would put Salem up 8-0 with his two-run home run.
Salem would add a run in the fifth thanks to a RBI single by Colbert and in the sixth off a RBI single from DeSilva to put the game well out of reach for the 10-0 victory.
The loss eliminated Saugus American for the District 16 Tournament.
“They just finished out their little league careers at the highest possible level they could have,” DiGirolamo said. “So whether they end it here, Bristol, Connecticut, Lynn, Salem or Peabody they went out at the highest level they could and they should take that away from it.
“Hopefully some of them play baseball or some sport next year doesn’t matter what it is,” DiGirolamo said. “Hopefully they want to keep competing in something, that’s what I’ll be looking for.”
With the win, Salem remains in the hunt in the District 16 Tournament. Salem clashes against Nahant Saturday afternoon (2) at MacArthur Park in Peabody.
Peabody 16, East Bridgewater 0
The Peabody Tanners Little League softball all-stars will play for a sectional title. Peabody clobbered host East Bridgewater last night, 16-0, in a three-inning mercy rule shortened contest to advance and earn the right to serve as host for the Section 2 championship game. Peabody will host the winner of Thursday’s game between East Bridgewater and Woburn Saturday (TBA).
With the game tied at 0-0, Peabody broke the game wide open in the third inning when 13 straight Peabody batters reached base safely. Twelve of them scored to give Peabody a commanding 12-0 lead.
Starting pitcher Abby Bettencourt faced only 11 batters and struck out nine of them.
“It was unbelievable, we had 13 straight kids get on base and the only they runners they had (East Bridgewater) had were two kids who walked on tight calls,” said Peabody coach Mark Bettencourt.