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Tigers triumph to repeat as Somerville Little League champs

Posted by Marcia Dick  July 3, 2012 08:05 PM

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The 2012 Somerville Little League majors city champions Boston Closet Tigers: Left to right, front kneeling, Joel Hancock. Second row, Sean Sullivan Jr., Easton Hanson, Paul Pefine, Henry Shugrue, Jalen George, Josh Frost, Andrew Atherton, Patrick Doherty. Back row, head coach Sean Sullivan, assistant coach Dan Shugrue (holding son Mac), Kyle Finigan, Conrad Demasi, coach Keith Doherty.

For the second year in a row, a team sponsored by Tom Lynch of Boston Closet and managed by Sean Sullivan has won the Somerville Little League majors city championship.

This year’s team had only two returning players from last year, Sean Sullivan Jr. and Henry Shugrue. These two players, along with returning head coach Sean Sullivan and assistant coach Dan Shugrue, and a host of new players were able to pull out an amazing come-from-behind victory June 20 in the best 2 out of 3 city championship.

After losing the first game, the Boston Closet Tigers came back to win the next two games and the city championship. Game 2 of the series will go down as one of the greatest city championship games ever played. This game would go into four extra innings, for a total of 10 innings and span two nights, in what is believed to be the longest game in the history of the Somerville Little League Championship.

Starting on Tuesday June 19, with superb relief pitching by Jalen George and excellent team defense by both teams, which kept the game tied, the Boston Closet Tigers and Bonney Auto Dodgers played eight full innings in a game that was halted and resumed the next night. Coming back on Wednesday June 20, the Tigers had their backs against the wall, knowing they would have to somehow win game 2, which needed to be completed, and then come right back and win a game 3 for the championship.

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Henry Shugrue, Sean Sullivan Jr., and head coach Sean Sullivan celebrate their second year in a row winning the majors' city championship.

After another scoreless inning in the ninth, on gutsy pitching by 10 year old Easton Hanson and going into the bottom of the 10th inning, the Tigers found themselves down by 3 runs and facing elimination. With a no-lose determination, the Tigers would string together a single by Josh Frost, followed by consecutive doubles from Paul Pefine and Jalen George, which made the score 15-13 Dodgers.

After a fly out to right field, Andrew Atherton hit a double to make it a 1-run game. Then Conrad Demasi followed with a 2-run double that would give the Tigers an improbable 16-15 victory and new life in the series.

After about an hour delay in the 94-degree weather, the teams played the deciding game 3 of the series.  Finding themselves down, 2-0, in the top of the second inning, Sean Sullivan Jr. knocked in Conrad Demasi with a base hit into right field. A few minutes later, Sullivan stole third base and scored on a pass ball to tie the game.

In the top of the third, the Tigers took a short-lived 5- 2 lead on a 2-run double by Henry Shugrue, followed by another run on a pass ball. A half inning later, they again found themselves down by a run after a 4-run bottom of the third by the Dodgers.

Once again with their backs against the wall, the Tigers erupted for 5 runs in the top of the fifth inning. After leadoff walks by Patrick Doherty and Joel Hancock, followed by a ground out, Andrew Atherton walked to load the bases. Henry Shugrue followed with an infield hit to score a run, followed with two more pass balls for runs.

A dramatic 2-run homer by Conrad Demasi put the Tigers ahead for good.

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The Tigers having some fun between games: front row, left to right, Joel Hancock, Paul Pefine. Second row, Jalen George, Easton Hanson. Third row, Patrick Doherty, Sean Sullivan Jr., Andrew Atherton, Kyle Finigan, Henry Shugrue. Back row, Conrad Demasi, Josh Frost. 


In the bottom of the fifth inning, Joel Hancock came on in relief of starting pitcher Andrew Atherton, who was able to keep a potent Dodgers offense at bay. Hancock and the Tigers let up 1 more run in the final two innings and when the last batter of the game struck out, what seemed like an improbable series victory now belonged to the Tigers.

As the players began to jump in celebration, coaches Sean Sullivan, Dan Shugrue, and Keith Doherty along with the team parents raced onto the field to set of an incredible celebration. What seemed like a long shot just hours earlier was now ending with the kids dumping a bucket of water on head coach Sean Sullivan in celebration.

After many group and individual pictures with the championship trophy and a team victory lap, one of the best championship series in the history of Somerville Little League was complete.

The Tigers, who finished the season with 13 wins and 4 losses, would prove to be a resilient bunch, with some very good team pitching that would limit the Dodgers as much as possible. Although Thomas Marshall connected to hit three home runs out of the park in the first two games, the Tigers played sound defense in the series, especially with outfielders Josh Frost and Patrick Doherty along with infielders Kyle Finigan, Paul Pefine, and Easton Hanson, who fielded every ball hit to them cleanly. 

As coach Sean Sullivan said, “Our team defense was just awesome, in game 3 of the series we would make just one team error and in game 2, when our backs were really against the wall, from the fifth to the 10th inning we would not make a single team error. Amazingly in the last 12 innings of the series, we would make just one error. This team showed me such heart, never once giving up all season and every time I would look at them between innings, they never gave me any indication that they thought we were going to lose this series. As a coach this type of team makes you very proud.”

The Boston Closet Tigers celebrated their championship year with a team and family party held on Wednesday June 27. The party was generously thrown by Boston Closet owner Tom Lynch, who also generously presented the players with championship trophies and ordered championship jackets for the team as well.

Coach Sean Sullivan said, “Tom Lynch is not only a friend of mine but one of the most generous people I know. He does so much for the kids in the city and he has been a great supporter and sponsor of mine and the league for many years. I am proud to have my name go on the league trophy for the second year in a row, along with that of Boston Closet.” 

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The Tigers stay loose dancing between games. Left to right. Jalen George, Henry Shugrue, Sean Sullivan Jr., Josh Frost, Conrad Demasi, Paul Pefine, Andrew Atherton, Kyle Finigan, Patrick Doherty, Easton Hanson, Joel Hancock.

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