The NEAA Dodgers squared off with a very talented team from Lawrence in a battle for the 2012 Champs Boston Wood Bat Championship. The undefeated Dodgers had to like their chances with ace Greg Bilikas on the hill. Bilikas was the winning pitcher August 5th when the Dodgers took home the Lou Tompkins Championship this summer. The game started off well for the Dodgers as Joan Figueroa led off with a single and was bunted to 2nd by Ryan Carvalho. After walks to Mike Martignetti and Bob Mello loaded the bases, Nick Iudiciani smashed a grounder off the pitchers leg allowing Figueroa to score and giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
The game then became a pitcher’s duel as Bilikas and Wilmer matched zeros through the next 5 innings. Bilikas was brilliant allowing 3 hits and no walks thru 5 innings while striking out 5. On the offensive side the Dodgers had men on base every inning but could not come up with a big hit to give Bilikas some breathing room. In the top of the 6th Lawrence tied the game when Jose Martinez singled, stole 2nd base and was bunted over to third base. With two outs and Martinez on third Bilikas snapped a two strike curveball by Batista for strike three but the ball got by the Dodgers catcher enabling Martinez to score and tie the game at one.
Next up for Lawrence was Nunez who smashed a ball that looked destined for the left center field gap. Tim Sweeney raced over, dove and was fully extended when the ball landed in his glove for the third out of the inning. It was a spectacular catch by Sweeney. That fired up the Dodgers and their fans for the bottom of the 6th. Nick Iudiciani led off with a walk and went to 3rd on a single by Vin Lopriore. Bilikas then hit a hard smash to the shortstop and he threw Iudiciani out at the plate. After a strikeout the Dodgers had Lopriore on 3rd and Bilikas on 2nd with two out. Lopriore was looking for any chance to give the Dodgers the lead and he got one when the Lawrence catcher bobbled a pitch for just a split second, dropping the ball to his side. Lopriore raced home and dove over the outstretched catcher as he slapped the plate with his right hand to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. All that was left was for Bilikas to close out Lawrence in the 7th and he did that on just 5 pitches getting a pop-up to 2nd baseman Frank Iudiciani and two fly balls to Lopriore in center field.
The Dodgers had won their 2nd championship in a 2 month period and celebrated wildly on the field.
Photos courtesy of NEAA Baseball.