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Friday, August 11, 2006

Season's end

NEWTON

The warmup balls were thrown in from the outfield, skipping across the grass and rolling through he dirt past the dugout.

An assistant coach for the Amercian Legion Post 440 Babe Ruth league team didn't even look up as they rolled under the bleachers -- with just one inning left in Newton's youth baseball season, there was no sense in worrying about a couple of brownish, worn-out balls.

Heading into their last at-bat in the rubber game of the championship series last night, the 13- to 15-year-olds from Post 440 were down 1-0 to the Village Bankers. Post 440 pitcher Christian Venditti had pitched a magnificent two-hitter, but had walked home the game's only run.

In the top of the seventh and final inning, the visiting Post 440s put a man on with two out. Speedy pinch runner Nick Toyias stole second, and was in the process of stealing third when Ryan Boudreau's grounder was fielded by the Village Banker's second baseman, who threw to first for the final out and the championship.

"Hey Mom, slow-pitch me this, I want to hit it with my bat," one disappointed Post 440 player said, holding up his blue and gold runner-up trophy.

"No way," said his mother. "You should be proud of yourself. I'm proud of you."

-- Ralph Ranalli

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