Suffice to say that Jace Cherchi (Indians), Vin Coppola (Indians), Fortunato D’Ampoli (Tigers) and Kyle Bernadini (Tigers) pitched strongly for both teams and going into the bottom of the sixth the Tigers were ahead 4-2.
The first five and a half innings were filled with nice defensive plays such as Evan Frechette (Tigers) throwing out (from the outfield) an anxious Indian as she tried to advance to third on an over throw and Bella Guarino (Indians), handling a tricky short hop at second base to get a key ending inning out.
Offensively, both teams had some nice hits including DJ DiCenso’s (Tigers) triple to lead of the fifth but the Indians stiffened and held him there.
As exciting as it was, the game didn’t really seem to start until the bottom of the sixth. Tigers up two runs and the hard throwing Bernardini on the mound looked to be in great shape to close out the game but the Indians had other plans. With one out and a man on second the mighty Zach Taieb stepped up to plate. Kyle quickly got ahead 1-2 and was trying to put him away. Kyle’s next fastball caught too much of the plate and Zach launched a long home run into the Atlantic Ocean. I am sure that the boaters at the time were not sure if that splash was made by the USS Constitution’s canons or the baseball.
Game tied 4-4!
The Tigers settled down and retired the next two Indians and the game entered extra innings. A walk, an out and a hit by pitch had the Tigers with first and second and one. Richard Pagliuca, looked down and saw the double steal and bunt sign flashed by the coach. He laid down the perfect bunt, the Indians fielded it cleanly and wisely got the out at first. Alex Dellato who was on second never stopped running and as he rounded third as he was determined to give the Tigers the lead. Coppola fired the ball to Taieb as Dellato headed to the plate.
Collectively the crowd went silent as the play was unfolding and after a perfect slide the umpire roared “safe” and the Tigers had regained the lead. The Indians were able to get player to first base in the bottom of the seventh but the Tigers were able to shut them down and one of the most exciting North End Little League Playoff games had come to an end.