Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rowley - 4, Beverly - 0

The Rowley Rams (1-0) beat the Beverly Giants (1-1) by the score of 4 to 0 Sunday at Cooney Field in Beverly. Joe Katin pitched a 5 hit complete game shutout for the victory. Rowley scored three times in the top of the 2nd to take a lead they would not give up. Brink walked with the bases loaded plating the first run and Shane Johnson doubled scoring two. Rowley added an insurance run in the 7th.

Tom Carr took the loss allowing 3 runs in 2 innings. Rocky Pisa kept things close with 4 innings of shutout relief.

makeup games

Hamilton @ Beverly
Ipswich @ Man./Essex
Topsfield @ Rowley
Rowley @ Topsfield

no makeup dates have been scheduled yet

Friday, May 29, 2009

Generals Over Townies - 4-3

The Hamilton Generals picked up a walk-off win of sorts over the Rockport Townies in a shortened game on Thursday night. On a cold and rainy night the game was called in bottom of the fifth inning due to darkness after the Generals broke a 3-3 tie to take the lead. Jon Jackson pitched great for the home team (allowing only 2 hits over 4 innings) in his first start of the season. Osmond started for the Townies and was able to work out of many jams as the Generals left 13 runners on base over the first 4 innings. Neither starting pitcher figured in the decision. Mike Drinkwater got the win, and Brent Currier suffered the loss.

The Generals got on the board first in the first. Jered Stewart got an RBI single that plated Judd Funchion. The Generals were able to work the bases loaded with no outs, but could not muster any more runs as the Townies were able to get out of the jam.

Greel scored in the top of the second to tie the game at 1-1. On a passed ball Greel tried to get to third and advanced home on an errant throw. The Generals retook the lead 2-1 in the bottom of third. With the bases loaded and 1 out, Mark Potter was able to bring home a run on a FC. The Generals left the bases loaded again only being able to bring home the one run.

With two down in the top of the forth, the Townies were able to put something together and take the lead. A Junker double plated Ayer, and an Anderson walk with the bases loaded brought home the second run of the inning. Townies led 3-2 going into the bottom of the fourth. Vitale quickly tied the game yet again with an RBI single that scored Provost.

In the top of the fifth Jackson gave way to Drinkwater. Bouchie was able to start the inning with a long at bat and won the battle with a double down the leftfield line. With a runner in scoring position and no outs, Drinkwater went to work and struck out the next 3 batters. Daylight was running out but the Generals wasted no time in the bottom of the fifth. Maidment started the quick rally with an HBP but was eliminated on the basepath by a FC. With a runner on first, Provost (3-3, BB, 2B, R) delivered what was the game winning hit to right field. The single was bobbled in right which allowed Sullivan to score all the way from first. The game was called after that earning the Generals a series split in the first week of the season.

Mariners Win Season Opener at Ipswich

The 2008 Postseason Champion Mariners defeated the 2008 Regular Season Champion Chiefs Monday night in the season opening game for both teams, 9-5.

In a back and forth battle throughout the game, the Chiefs took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the 5th inning on a towering 2 run homer from Dave Shoreman. In the top half of the 6th inning 1st baseman, Mike Cain, launched a 3 run homer for the Mariners to give them a lead that they would not surrender.

Ryan Marques picked up the victory with his 2 shutout innings in relief, while surrending 1 hit, and striking out 5. Steve Stout went the first 5 innings scattering 7 hits, with 2 k's and a walk. Dave Shoreman went 4 strong innings for the Chiefs giving up 4 hits, 4 runs, and striking out 5. Dave Doucette pitched the final 3 innings, giving up 5 runs (4 earned), striking out 3, but credited with the loss.

Cain (3 rbi, 2r) and Joe Orlando (2rbi, 2r)paced the Mariners with 2 hits each, and leadoff hitter Rory Gentile had 3 walks in 5 plate appearances. Rick Sotoropolous (3-4), Anthony Hernandez and Dave Shoreman led the Chiefs with multiple hits, while Shoreman and Dave Lane both contributed home runs.

The teams were to play in Essex on Wed 5/27, but have been rained out. The Mariners travel to Rockport on Sun 5/31, then play their next 4 games in Essex.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hamilton @ Beverly Postponed

Game postponed due to field conditions. No makeup date has been set.

Ipswich vs. Manchester-Essex PPD

Tonight's game has been PPD due to rain. No make up has been scheduled.

Rams/Tories Postponed

Due to field conditions tonight's Rams/Tories game has been postponed. A make up date will be announced.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chief's Drop Home Opener 9-5

Monday night saw a great back and forth game between the Chief's of Ipswich and the Manchester-Essex squad.

Dave Shoreman took to the hill for the hometown team, and pitched 4 innings of 4 hit ball. Shoreman left the game tied 3-3 after 4. Dave Doucette came on and finished the game surrendering 5 runs (4 earned).

The game was paced by homeruns from Matt Lane in the 2nd over the Lane Pole in right which platted Kevin Michael who was hit by a pitch. Shoreman went bridge in the 5th inning with Anthony Hernandez on 2nd after hit lead off double. Ricky Sotoropolus led the team going 3 for 4 at the plate.

The Chiefs look to tie up the series on Wednesday, in Essex.

Rockport - 11 Hamilton - 5

The Rockport Townies kicked off the 2009 ITL season Sunday night with an 11-5 victory against the Hamilton Generals at Evans Field in Rockport.

Rockport's pitching was led by the return of Lou McGrath, who went 3 plus innings, and the ITL debut of Cory Emerson. Brent Currier closed out the game for the Townies.

Rockport's offensive attack was a collective effort powered by Tom Robertson (2 for 5, HR), Chris Bouchie (3 for 4) and Brent Currier (3 for 5). Rockport was also bolstered by the ITL debuts of Conor Ressel who made a game saving catch in the 6th inning and Ryan Cusick who knocked in 3 runs.

Hamilton was led by Tom Jones who went 1 for 3 and 2 rbis.

Rockport and Hamilton meet in a rematch Thursday night as the Townies travel to Patton Park to face the Generals.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Beverly - 13, Topsfield - 7

The Beverly Giants won the season opener by the score of 13 to 7 over the Topsfield Tories on Sunday night at Cooney Field. Rocky Pisa pitched 5 innings striking out 5 for the victory. Jeff Barricelli led the attack going 3 for 4 with a HR and 6RBI. Pat Doyle (4 for 4, 2RBI) and Nick Adams (3 for 4) also contributed.

Topsfield was led by Doug Hittenger who went 2 for 5 with a grand slam homerun.

Beverly led 10 to 0 in the 5th when Topsfield erupted for 6 runs keyed by Hittenger's grand slam. Trailing 13 to 6 heading into the 7th, Topsfield threatened again scoring a run and leaving the bases loaded.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Opening Day Tomorrow!

The ITL starts its 80th season tomorrow with two games on the schedule.

Topsfield @ Beverly 2pm start at Cooney

Hamilton @ Rockport 6pm at Evans

Good luck to all teams and we hope to see everyone at the ball park!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Emerson, Burnham and Brown earn ITL Hall of Fame nods

Emerson, Burnham, & Brown Earn ITL Hall of Fame Nods
By Dominic Nicastro (from Cape Ann Beacon)

CAPE ANN - For many, the 12th inning tells the story.

Justin Brown, then close to 40 years old, labored through 11 innings on the mound and nearly won his Manchester team the 1999 Intertown Twilight League baseball championship.

The next day, he came back for inning No. 12.

Brown had thrown 160 or so pitches — about the same as Rockport counterpart Scott Bouchie — and pitched again less than 24 hours later in the second game five, played a day after the teams remained locked at five after darkness rolled over the green hills of Evans Field in Rockport.

“I was warming up with him, and he says, ‘My arm feels pretty good,’” recalled Mike Athanas, Brown’s former teammate. “He took the ball. It was an easy decision. That’s the kind of guy he was.”

Brown actually lost that game. But his Herculean efforts like the night in Rockport throughout his 20-plus ITL career landed him in this year’s Hall of Fame class. He and fellow Cape Ann ITL greats Bruce Emerson of Rockport and Donnie Burnham of Essex also were inducted in an event Saturday night in Essex.

Between each of them, there are more than 60 years of ITL baseball and about 25 championships.

Brown was a dominant closer and pitcher on the Manchester teams that, starting in 1986, made the finals for 16 straight seasons, winning 10.

Emerson, an All New Englander out of UMass-Amherst, played on eight championship teams and was the manager on three, earning a reputation as one of the best pitchers and pure baseball players the league has seen.

And Burnham was a mainstay known for his versatility on Essex teams that rivaled Rockport.

“I would like to congratulate this year’s inductees and say that they are all fine young men as well as good athletes,” said Essex’s Cal Grimes, the Hall of Fame, all-time single-season homerun champ of the ITL. “I am happy to say that I have played with coached or umpired with them all. I know that they have played with and lived with the high ideals that the ITL stands for: high competition and sportsmanship.”

Bruce Emerson: Student of the game

No one knows Emerson better than Brown, his former teammate at UMass-Amherst. Brown said Emerson carried the Minutemen on the mound his senior year. And throughout his ITL days, he and Bard Marques were the lights-out 1-2 punch on the mound, Emerson with the overpowering fastball.

“Rockport won championships because they rode Emerson and Marques,” Brown said.

Emerson, a 48-year-old athletics director at a private school in Beverly, played since he was 15 and remembers riding his bike to Evans Field to watch the greats as a kid.

Emerson took time off from the league in the early ’90s but came back and was as dangerous as ever at the plate, though he stepped down from pitching duties because of arm trouble.

“Bruce is right up there with Bard Marques as the smartest I’ve ever played with,” said Mike Frontierro, who played with and coached in the late ’90s with Emerson. “His knowledge of the game is unsurpassed. I had the privilege of being his coach at the end of his career. He always put his team ahead of himself and had a work ethic like no other.”

Emerson said what kept him competitive was being surrounded by such great teammates — the Bobby Muises, Marques, Mike Cusumanos and John Parisis.

“They were just baseball guys,” said Emerson, whose two sons, Michael and Cory, followed in Dad’s footsteps as a Rockport High School athlete. “They were just a great group of guys that made the game fun. It wasn’t just the two hours of the game, either. It was going down there getting the field ready and staying after the game.”

Emerson recalls the history of the league and Rockport even better than the game. A historian of the ITL, it’s hard to put a fact past him. He remembered the 1980 Rockport team that trailed the championship series, 2-0, and won the whole thing. And the 1985 team that made a similar comeback.

“Bruce Emerson has been around either as a player, coach or board member for many years,” said ITL President Terry Poste. “Not only was Bruce a good ballplayer, he has a memory that won’t quit. Ask him about a Townies game from the ’70s, ’80s or ’90s, and he’ll give you the play-by-play of the entire game. Even though he is retired, we can count on him to make sure our season gets off a good start. Bruce played against Justin Brown in college and through their careers in the ITL. I can’t think of a more fitting way for them to be inducted into the Hall of Fame than putting them in together.”

Donnie Burnham: All-around ballplayer

Burnham said he is forever grateful to have played in the ITL with teammates whom he calls lifelong friends: Peter Ferriero, John Davis, Mike McCarthy, the Story boys, the Woodmans, Kendall, the Ellises. He said he can’t possibly name them all, but they certainly kept the Essex native coming back to Memorial Field year after year to play for the storied Shipbuilders.

“We played through the years together for so long, and we’re all still real close,” Burnham said. “There were guys I played with when I was 7. That’s what I appreciate as much as anything.”

The former Salem State College baseball player and owner of Burnham’s Catering also recalled the fierce, yet friendly rivalry with Rockport. The rivalry was so intense some Essex fans (or perhaps players) stole Bobby Muise’s Rockport jacket and burned it.

“I’m sworn to secrecy on that,” said Burnham, whose two children, Chandler and Drew, attend Manchester Essex Regional High School. “They were always our No. 1 competition. We had some pretty good battles. There were always big crowds.”

Poste called Burnham “a loyal Shipbuilder.”

“He had a good baseball mind,” she said. “He was always there when you needed him, either as an assistant coach or player.”

Burnham played a little bit of everything — and Essex was always better off for it.

“Donnie Burnham was a key member of the Essex teams of the late ’70s and early ’80s,” Frontierro said. “He could beat you on the mound or at the plate.”

Justin Brown: ‘Papelbon of the ITL’
It’s getting dark, and Manchester has a slight lead.

That was Brown’s cue. The pitcher with the sneaky fastball and the slider not many could hit was a key cog in Manchester’s unprecedented three-decade run of championship appearances.

There was summer, sun, tourists on Good Harbor Beach and Brown on the mound helping the Mariners win a title. That was summer on Cape Ann from 1986 to 2002.

“No one was more intimidating,” Frontierro said. “His reputation alone could beat you.”

Brown said he was a late bloomer; he hadn’t played summer baseball since Little League when he joined the ITL in 1978. He didn’t pitch in the early part of his career but made his way to closer and starter when the team needed him toward the end of his career.

Poste called him the “Papelbon of the ITL.”

“It was a very comfortable position to be in,” Athanas said of when Brown took the mound. “He would come in during the seventh, and it was pretty much an automatic save.”

The most amazing thing, ITL veterans say, is Brown pitched most of those years at tiny — and now defunct — Hyland Field, which had a fence no more than an average pop-up away from home plate. (It was 300 or so feet to center, which legitimately should be 375- to 400-ish).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"A Brief History of the Ipswich Chiefs"

"A Brief History of the Ipswich Chiefs"
By Joshua Boyd

Ipswich - While the Intertown Twilight League celebrates its 80th anniversary, the Ipswich Chiefs are celebrating their own milestone.

The Chiefs are in their 50th year, having started as members of the ITL in 1959. Don Burke and his brother Bob Burke were the founders of the Chiefs that year.

Don Burke had recently completed a brief professional minor league baseball career in the Brooklyn and then Los Angeles Dodgers organization in the late 1950s.

Upon returning home and settling in Ipswich, he joined his brother Bob, who was an education teacher at Ipswich High School.

“He raised the money and I got the players,” said Don. “I came back from playing pro ball, and there was a big softball league at that time in the area. After the softball games, we’d round up guys and tell them about the team. Mike Singer was one of these guys, and once I got Mike, he helped me get other guys.”

The No. 1 rule for the Ipswich Chiefs then was that each player must be a resident of Ipswich. The “resident” rule for another team is what created the Chiefs, in fact.

“My grandfather, John Burke, had played for the Rowley team in the Intertown League, and both my brothers and I also played for them,” said Don. “We lived in Ipswich, so we couldn’t play for Rowley anymore, so we started our own team.”

Singer played on that first Chiefs team in 1959 and stayed with the Chiefs into the early 1970s. Afterwards, Singer became the Umpire-in-Chief of the ITL. Nowadays, he’s among the Chiefs’ biggest fans.

“It’s a great tradition. I go every Monday night to the games. Naturally, I’ve stopped playing, but I love to watch the Chiefs play,” said Singer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kick Off Party / Alumni Game a Success

Thanks to everyone who attended the Kick Of Party and Alumni Game last Saturday. The Alumni team team gave a great effort, but was defeated by the current ITL player roster. Though that hardly seems important as a lot of fun was had by all and the game certainly included a lot of laughs. We look forward to a similar game next year. Be sure to check out all the new pictures (right) from the game.

2008 League Awards

MVP: Jim Maloney (Hamilton)
Cy Young: Steve Stout (Manchester-Essex)
Rookie of the Year: Koby Thibault (Rowley)
Home Runs: Derek Scialdone (Beverly)
RBI: Derek Scialdone (Beverly)
Average: Nate Bertolino (Manchester-Essex)
Stolen Bases: Rory Gentile (Manchester-Essex)
Playoff MVP: Jack Brancleone (Manchester-Essex)

2008 All-Stars

Steve Stout - M/E
Brian Vitale - H/W
Zach Lamkin - Top
Derek Scialdone - Bev
Dave SHoreman - Ips
Nate Bertolino - M/E
Jared Stewart - H/W
Brent Currier - Rock
Koby Tibeaut - Row
Jim Malloney - H/W
Doug Hittenger - Top
Dillon Durning - Ips
Rory Gentile - M/E
Joe Orlando - M/E
Jon Jackson - H/W
Matt Wile - Row

Friday, May 15, 2009

Intertown Baseball League Celebrates 80th Birthday
By Dom Nicastro

Hamilton -

Terry Poste sees her grandfather, Angie Fucillo, on the bench coaching the Hamilton Generals at Patton Park in the early 70s.

Chris Lane recalls Monday nights during the summer at the ballfield in Ipswich, with Hall of Famer Mike Singer in his usual third baseline lawn chair with friends cheering on the town team and heckling umpires.

Jeremy Spittle can see Bruce Emerson play the hill in right field at Evans Field in Rockport just right and shortstop John Parisi going all out for a routine groundball.

The images that compose the memories of the Intertown Baseball League over the last 80 years are different for everybody.

Most agree, however, the ITL is as special and vibrant today as it was in Year No. 1, 1929, simply because it hasn’t changed all that much.

Today, as the North Shore-based ITL gears up for its 81st season, camaraderie, civic pride and good old-fashioned competitive town baseball still make the ITL the ITL, a league like no other in the area, players and league officials say.

“The ITL was started 80 years ago on the premise of, ‘I bet our town’s baseball players can beat your town’s players in a game of baseball,’” said Essex’s Cal Grimes, a retired Essex policeman and the league’s single-season home run record holder who’s been involved in the ITL for 43 years as a player, coach, vice president, president and umpire. “Thus, town team baseball started, and after a hard fought game, you shake hands and call your competition a friend. This is why I think the Intertown league has endured and prospered. God loves town team baseball. Baseball at its purist.”

One undeniable distinction from other leagues is age. According to ITL officials it’s the nation’s oldest active amateur baseball league, a fact they say is confirmed by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

However, the Boston Park League also claims that fact (Wikipedia supports it); it began in 1929, same as the ITL. Leading some to wonder if it’s a tie.

It does not matter, according to Poste, who began as scorekeeper 23 years ago and is now the league’s president. The concept of town team, she said, makes the league truly unique from its North Shore and Boston-area counterparts.

The teams — Rockport, Ipswich, Manchester Essex, Beverly, Hamilton, Topsfield and Rowley – can have rosters of up to no more than 25 percent outsiders, or those not living in the town in which they play.

For most of its existence, the league was steadfast that only town players could play for the town team.

But it has had its troubles with numbers more recently. Essex folded after a 70-year-plus history after the 2000 season because of what ITL officials saw as a lack of leadership and interest of Essex natives to play summer adult baseball.

It combined with Manchester, which also had low numbers of town players. The league approved Beverly’s entrance into the league in 2004.

Poste, the league president, said there have not been any forfeits in the past three seasons because of lack of players.

“Over the past 23 years that I’ve been a member of the executive committee we’ve seen leagues fold and some even re-group and start again just to fold again,” said Poste, a Hamilton native. “Yes, we’ve had to add 25 percent of the roster from outside of the area to keep some teams alive, but we have not lost the town vs. town mentality. We all remember stories of when our grandfathers, fathers, uncles played against your grandfathers, fathers, uncles.”

Jeff Barricelli, Beverly’s player/coach, has played since 1997. He began in Topsfield and moved on to Hamilton. He also made cameos in Boston leagues but found a lack of camaraderie.

“After five years we have not won a championship, but we have provided Beverly ballplayers a place they can continue their playing careers while still having fun,” Barricelli, 33, said. “All of our players are Beverly natives and/or residents, and we take pride in representing our city. Each year we look to add a few young players to mix with the veterans.”

Ryan Montecalvo, a 32-year-old Ipswich player who is expecting his second child, said he has the blessing of his wife to play for the team he remembers watching on Monday nights. (Each team has a designated home-game night).

“There are not many men's leagues around that I am aware of that can compare,” said Montecalvo, who started playing in 1994. “It is able to blend a friendly, local vibe with some great rivalries and fierce competition. I think that one of the things that makes the league so great is that it does not take it self too seriously. Most of the players understand that we are not, and were never going to be, pros, but we still really have that competitive drive and passion for playing the game.”

Recanting old tales with ITL alumni in town makes it special for Tom Jones, Hamilton’s player/manager. ITL alumni seem to be everywhere, said the 29-year-old, 12-year ITL veteran.

“People love the North Shore and tend to stay for their whole lives, which is great for the league,” Jones said. “It's been around so long because there is such a great group of alumni that are still around and still involved in many ways. Guys go out of their way to keep in touch with former teammates and even on-the-field rivals.”

And as long as there is summer and ballfields on which to play, players see the ITL going for even another 80 years, strengthened each year by town pride and creating more memories like Poste’s as a little girl in Hamilton.

“Some of my best memories of summer were right at Patton Park,” Poste said. “I wouldn’t miss a Thursday game. After all someone had to pass the hat. I learned all I need to know about baseball sitting side by side with (my grandfather) all summer. As I learned to read and write, I learned to keep score and figure batting averages. Life can’t get much better than that, can it?”


What: The ITL is celebrating its 80th season

When: Saturday, May 16

Who: Induction of new members to the Hall of Fame and a first alumni baseball game.

Alumni game: Saturday, May 16, 3 p.m. Open to all former ITL players to play. Players are asked to contribute $10 (to cover uniform shirt, baseballs, etc. Everything else is up to player). If you are interested in playing, please e-mail Game held at Essex Memorial Field

HOF/Kick Off Party: Saturday, May 16, 7 p.m., Lobster Trap in Essex. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from team managers, or from the league office. Night will include 2009 HOF inductions, 2008 season awards, cash bar, & appetizers.

2009 Hall of Fame Class:

Jeff Milks - Topsfield
Bruce Emerson - Rockport
Justin Brown - Manchester
Donnie Burnham - Essex