Salem Little League defeats Swampscott in pitcher’s duel

Salem's Casey McGrath scored one of two runs in Salem's win over Swampscott Monday night. (Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN– Both pitchers were on top of their game, but the Salem 12-year-old All-Stars were able to earn the 2-0 win over Swampscott Monday night at Volunteer Field in Lynn in a District 16 Tournament elimination game.

Salem’s Corey Grimes pitched six shutout innings, while allowing three hits and tallying 10 strikeouts.

“I was undecided with who I was going to pitch today,” Salem manager Kevin McGrath said. “I saw Casey [McGrath] and Corey warm up and not to be cliche but there was a look in Corey’s eye today and I had to go with him.

“He threw unbelievable,” McGrath added. “He’s thrown three times in this tournament. He’s 2-1 and he’s thrown unbelievable all three games.”

Swampscott’s Daniel Domeniconi also threw all six innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits while striking out six batters.

“Tough game obviously Dan pitched great for us gave up nothing and came out of a lot of tough jams,” Swampscott manager Joe McGonagle said. “We had a couple tough plays in the field it’s a tough way to end. We had a good run.”

Salem’s Levy DaSilva (3-for-3 with 2 RBI) drove in both runs to help his team win. Casey McGrath (2-for-3) and Shawn O’Keefe (1-for-2) each scored one run for Salem.

“I love that kid,” Kevin McGrath said of DaSilva. “He hasn’t been usual Levy during this tournament hitting wise and today we tinkered with his swing a bit and he was huge, absolutely huge.”

“That’s a great team over there. I have nothing but respect,” McGrath added about Swampscott. “I’ve dealt with those guys the past three years. I can’t say enough about them, class acts.”

After three scoreless innings Salem found life in the fourth. Shawn O’Keefe reached base on a single and would later steal second. DaSilva brought him home with a single of his own to put Salem ahead 1-0.

Swampscott was able to get some runners on base in the fourth as well when Domeniconi reached on a single and Liam Wales reached on an error at second base with one out. However Grimes quickly silenced any hopes of a rally, striking out the next two batters.

In the top of the sixth McGrath and Grimes hit back-to-back singles to put men on for Salem. Later in the inning DaSilva recorded his second RBI single to score a huge insurance run and put Salem ahead 2-0.

Quinn Fitzpatrick did start off the bottom of the sixth with a single for Swampscott, but Swampscott couldn’t come back, falling 2-0 and ending its tournament run.

“It’s the most special year of anything in sports,” McGonagle said about his 12-year-olds. “My son was one of the 12-year-olds and this group of kids I’ve seen since they were eight or nine. They all work hard over the winter they really want it. They’ve worked hard all year.”

Salem advanced to play Lynnfield tomorrow at 5:45 p.m. at Pine Hill in another elimination game.

“The last two years we have lost to them in the district championship,” McGrath said of Lynnfield. “They are an outstanding team, they are incredibly coached and do all the little things right. Casey [McGrath] is pitching tomorrow and he’s been wanting them for a year. It’s going to be a tough task.”

After an early loss in the tournament to East Lynn, McGrath couldn’t have imagined his team would still be in the hunt.

“I’m a little bit in shock to be honest,” McGrath said. “The first game against East Lynn, if you told me we would be here I would say you’re out of your mind. I’ve been doing this for a long time and not often am I in shock.”

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