The Cal Ripken Central Massachusetts District Tournament was held over this past weekend in Dunstable. Competing 11U All-Star teams representing Ayer, Littleton, Groton, Fitchburg and Hudson played for both the District Championship title and advancement to the Western Massachusetts State Tournament in later July. As happened last year, Littleton and Hudson battled for the Championship title, although this year it required the final tie-breaker game as both teams had established an even record of 4-1. Here’s a recap of how the Littleton Tigers did during the 6 games of this intense 4-day event culminating in the Finals.
Littleton defeated Ayer 9-4 in the first night games. Ayer opened a commanding 3-0 lead in the 1st Inning, but then Littleton’s pitching and defense combined with solid hitting to turn the game around in the 3rd Inning and the Tigers blew it open in the 5th with a 4-run offensive rally that closed the door. Nick F. was the offensive leader with a key single and double earning 3 RBI’s and also scoring a run. Christian W. was the MVP with 5 innings pitched.
Littleton lost to Groton 1-3 in a closely played morning game that remained scoreless until the 4th Inning. Connor B. pitched a complete game earning 6 K’s against 21 total batters. The offense was lead by Nick F. and Matt L. who both hit 2 for 3, but only Nick was able to score in the 4th. Overall the combination of Groton defense and some costly Littleton fielding errors made the difference in this match-up.
Littleton then defeated Fitchburg 9-3 in an afternoon game and restored their winning record. Matt L. pitched 3.3 innings of no-hit ball, striking out 8 of 13 batters. The Tiger’s bats also got hot with everyone in the line-up getting hits. Mike R. and Matt L. gave a command performance at the plate, both hitting 3 for 3, scoring twice, and earning 3 RBI’s between them. Matt also stroked a double during the game and was named MVP.
Littleton defeated Groton 8-3 in a morning re-match to both win the Semi-Finalist bracket and clinch a berth in the State Tournament. Cole A and Chris R. battled on the mound to hold Groton to three runs by the 3rd Inning with key fielding plays reinforcing the defense. Littleton’s offense took charge with everyone in the line-up getting hits. Chris R. was the power-hitter with a triple, double, 1 RBI and 1 run scored, and was named MVP.
Littleton then played undefeated Hudson in the first Championship game, winning in a 5-4 nail-biter that evened the records of the two teams and forced a play-off for the District Title. The game was scoreless into the 4th Inning with unbelievable web-gem defense by both teams. The 3rd Inning featured a spectacular defensive display by Littleton with Matt L. making a flying mid-air catch of a screaming line drive from 1st base and holding the ball during the crash landing. This was followed by Adam S. making a key catch of a fly ball in right field, and Nick F. making a running catch of an infield fly from 3rd base that nearly ended in a face-plant. Littleton established the lead with Joey D. stroking key kits including a 1-RBI single and 2-RBI double which earned him props as the MVP. Other runners stole home to run up the score to 5 by the 6th inning. Hudson came back in the 5th and 6th innings, nibbling at the lead with the bases loaded and runners scoring one at time. The final out saved the game with the bases loaded and the tying run on 3rd: Matt L. scooped a hard groundball half-way to 2nd base and legged it to 1st, beating the runner across the bag by just a step. Unbelievable. Last year, Hudson defeated Littleton to claim the District Title. This year, Hudson has a real fight on its hands. Now it’s on…
Stay tuned for the outcome of tonight’s Championship Title game!