NEAA (20 under) Dodgers Front row left to right: Coach Ralph Martignetti, Timmy Martin, James Ditomassi, Robert Pagliuca, Pat Murray, Asst Coach Luigi Natale, Steve Passatempo, Brett McAllister. Back row left to right: Bobby Mello, Dante Cucuza, Lorenzo Pantaleo, Kurt Martin, Vin Lopriore, Ryan Carvalho, Nico Gennari, Nick Iudiciani, Michael Martignetti, Jack Ditomassi, Ryan Colbert and asst coach Bill McAllister.

The NEAA (20+under) Dodgers won the 2014 BASE HITZ Championship by sweeping through the playoffs with a powerful display of pitching, defense and offense. The BASE HITZ league is the brain-child of Robert Lewis Jr and pits some of the best teams in the area against each other. Teams from Lawrence, Lowell, South End, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale and others comprised the 11 team league. The Dodgers played hard through the regular season working on honing their skills and being ready for a playoff run. The team finished 6-4 which was good enough for the 4 seed in the 8 team playoff set-up. In the 4 vs 5 match-up the Dodgers took on the team from Roslindale. With hard throwing right-hander Ryan Colbert (Bridgewater St University) on the hill the Dodgers took the field with confidence. After a scoreless first inning the Dodgers broke through with 4 runs in the 2nd inning. With one out Brett McAllister (Tewksbury High) singled. Following a James Ditomassi walk Colbert helped his own cause by lacing a double down the right field line scoring both runners and giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. After Colbert stole third Kurt Martin (Saugus High) laid down a beautiful squeeze bunt and it was 3-0 Dodgers. Martin then promptly stole 2nd and was singled home by Vin Lopriore (Curry College) and the Dodgers never looked back. Colbert struck out the side in the third inning and the Dodgers added to their lead as Steve Passatempo (Salisbury) doubled and was singled home by Ditomassi. Roslindale got on the board in the top of the 4th but the Dodgers answered right back in the bottom. Lopriore singled, stole 2nd and then cruised home on an rbi double from Mike Martignetti (Fitchburg St University). Colbert was untouchable thereafter and the Dodgers eased into the semi-finals with a 6-1 victory.

Coach Ralph Martignetti with Dodger Captain Michael Martignetti and the championship trophy
Coach Ralph Martignetti with Dodger Captain Michael Martignetti and the championship trophy

The Dodgers semi-final opponent was a tough Cambridge team. Cambridge had beaten the Dodgers 6-1 in the regular season opener for both teams but this was the playoffs and these Dodgers were a different team. Led by the pitching of Vin Lopriore (5 innings, 1 earned run, 3 hits) and an explosive offense the Dodgers routed Cambridge 13-6. The Dodgers struck early and often as the offense led by Lopriore’s 3 hits, Passatempo’s 3 hits, James Ditomassi’s 2 hits, 2 runs scored, Lorenzo Pantaleo’s (Medford High) 2 hits, 2 runs scored and Jack Ditomassi (BC High) 3 runs scored, they tallied in 6 of the 7 innings to pound the Cambridge pitching into submission. The victory pushed the Dodgers into the finals where they would meet up with the South End Astros.

The finals were played on a beautiful sunny Sunday on the turf at English high school. The Dodgers were certainly ready as years of meeting up with the Astros in any league the Dodgers play have taught them that anything less than their best effort would result in a loss. The pitching match-up was a beauty; Ryan Colbert coming back on two days rest to face Adam Woodhead (University Rhode Island). In a match-up like this both coaches and players knew runs would come at a premium. After a scoreless first inning the Astros struck in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Ryan McElroy was hit by a pitch to start the inning and promptly stole 2nd base. Next up Luis Atiles laced a single to right field and McElroy scored. However on the throw to the plate Steve Passatempo heads up play and cut-off the throw and caught Atiles rounding firstbase to give the Dodgers a much needed first out of the inning. Colbert got the next two Astros and it was 1-0 end of 2. The Dodgers took the lead in the top of the third. With one out Rob Pagliuca (St Mary’s Lynn) singled. It would be the first of three at bats for Pagliuca which all ended up with him safely at first base. Lopriore walked to set up 1st and 2nd with one out for Mike Martignetti. Martignetti got hold of a 1-2 fastball and drilled it in the right center field gap scoring Pagliuca to tie the game at one and setting up 2nd and 3rd for the Dodgers 3 hitter. In what turned out to be a pivotal play a foul pop was hit that the Astros 1st baseman and catcher both went after. The first baseman caught the ball and Lopriore, seeing no one covering the plate, began to tag up. The Astros catcher quickly recovered and ran to the plate forcing Lopriore back to third. The first baseman then fired a throw to the third baseman trying to get Lopriore but the throw sailed into left field and both Lopriore and Martignetti scored giving the Dodgers a 3-1 lead they would never relinquish. Colbert then held the Astros hitless for the next three innings with his blazing fastball, knee buckling curve and deadfish change-up. The Dodgers were able to stretch their lead to 4-1 in the 7th when Ryan Carvalho walked stole 2nd with one out, went to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a passed ball. All that was left was for Colbert and the Dodgers to get three outs in the 7th. The inning started with a grounder to shortstop handling smoothly by Martignetti. After a single by McElroy the next batter slashed a line drive to left field that Lopriore made a beautiful sliding catch on for the 2nd out. The game end with a grounder to Jack Ditomassi at 2nd who flipped to Martignetti for the force and the Dodgers poured on to the field to celebrate. “It was a great team win” said coach Ralph Martignetti. “Not only did we show-up fully in all phases of the game but our bench did an awesome job of keeping up our intensity all game.” “This win was a 17 player win.”

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The Dodgers now ride into the off-season and will only get stronger next year as some of the younger players advance. The Dodgers would like to thank all our sponsors, especially the NEAA and Gary Pedi with Lavanderia. Also our fans led by the irrepressible Linda Lopriore and both the Martignetti and Gennari families. Finally a special thanks to asst coaches Bill McAllister and Luigi Natale for all their energy and dedication.

Dodgers and the Astros together after the game
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