by Frank Iudiciani

On Wednesday, July 29th, the NEAA Dodgers team of 13-15 year old boys faced a team of elite Japanese youth in the Boston Red Sox Foundation’s Annual Japan-Boston Baseball Exchange.  The day once again began at Puopolo Park with a baseball clinic conducted by members of the Boston Parks League for both teams.  The clinic was followed by the annual Japan-North End Game, coached this year by Ricky Martignetti and Frank Iudiciani, with the following players on the North End Dodgers Team:  Kyle Bernardini, DJ DiCenso, Jake Valeri, Francis Shea, Teto Santaniello, Jack Flynn, Colman Shea, Evan Reynolds, Evan Frechette, Richard Pagliuca and Nick Shea.

This series is now in it’s 7th year and the Japan team is known for perennially “manufacturing” their runs from stealing bases, bunting, etc.  However, having played Japan many times now, the North End Dodgers were ready for this: Catcher Jake Valeri threw out a couple of Japan players attempting to steal third base, and forced a rundown between third and home, in which a Japan player was tagged out. These were rally killing plays for the Japan team and limited their offense to one run scored. In the meantime the Dodgers took a page from the Japan book and stole and bunted their way to four runs. The Dodgers pitching did the rest as Richard Pagliucca, Teto Santaniello, and Kyle Bernardini refused to let Japan rally.  The North End Dodgers won the game by a score of 4 to 1, with the game-winning run scored by Richard Pagliucca on a Kyle Bernardini hit.

Following the game, the entire Japanese boys team (and Dodgers players) took their annual plunge in the Mirabella Pool.  The Japanese boys played several other Boston area teams during their visit, but the Mirabella Pool “dip” is an event that is exclusive to the Japan-North End game!

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