Milford Post 59 added to its illustrious 85-year history Wednesday night at Peter Wall Field in Norwood, as it hoisted its 20th American Legion Massachusetts state title trophy.
Halting Lowell Post 87’s miraculous season, Milford - the tournament’s only undefeated team heading into the afternoon - won game two of a split doubleheader 5-2, in come-from-behind fashion for the Final Eight Intrastate crown.
Facing a 2-0 deficit heading into the bottom of the third, Post 59 put together its first rally of the day, after being shut down by Lowell, 5-1, in Game 1.
With one out, Andrew McMillan ripped a ball that glanced off the top of the glove of Lowell center fielder Tyler Schermerhorn, and easily coasted into second base.
The No. 3 hitter, Dan Mantoni, then knocked him in with an RBI single, and advanced to second when the next batter, Matt Ferrelli was hit by a pitch.
Eventual tournament Most Valuable Player Kevin Martinis then slapped a single to left, but the ball skipped under the glove of Joe Parisi, allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to score.
Milford would tack on two more in the fourth and hold Lowell scoreless for the remainder of the game.
“It’s just a mission accomplished,” Milford manager Brian Macchi said. “I told these guys the road here was going to be challenging, but when you get here it’s going to come down to the team that plays good baseball, aggressive baseball, and has the heart and character to come back from some adversity.”
The three-run third came against Post 87’s Brock Riley, who pitched a complete game, two-hitter in the first matchup of the day.
Though there was just a 30-minute break between games, Lowell manager Mike McLeod felt it was a no-brainer sending Riley back out for Game 2, after throwing just 70 pitches in the first game.
“I knew his pitch count was low, he was in a groove, his arm was fresh, so there was really no doubt but to stick with him,” he said.
Post 59‘s Dan Avery came on in relief in both games, pitching a combined five innings, giving up no runs and one hit.
Right fielder Mike Hart was one of the few offensive sparks for Lowell, as he went 4-for-6 at the plate with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Both games were heated throughout, as multiple coaches and players from both squads ignited arguments with the umpires because of several close calls.
Eventually, the arguing came at a cost, when Milford’s Ian Strom was ejected from Game 1 in the seventh inning after reacting to a strikeout. He was then suspended from the second game.
Strom recorded Post 59’s only run in the first game, after he led off the second inning with a triple.
Lowell, which carried a small 12-man roster for most of the season - all from Lowell High - had entered the final game winners of 13 of its last 14, finishing with a 22-7 record.
Milford also ended on a high note, winning 23 of its last 25 games, and finished with a 32-5 record, earning its first state title since 2001.
Barnstable had captured the national-bound state title in July at Holy Cross.
Taylor C. Snow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @taylorcsnow.
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