Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ITL In the News....

"ITL Generals Return to Field"
by Dom Nicastro

Hamilton - Hamilton’s Intertown Twilight League baseball team will return all of the players who made a championship run possible last summer. The only problem will be getting them all together on the diamond at once.

Tom Jones, the Generals’ players/manager, will have his hands full this summer juggling the lineup because of his players’ busy work schedules.

Hamilton has two full-time EMT/firefighters and a soon-to-be graduate of the Boston Police academy.

“These key players may have to miss some time on the field due to their day-time jobs so the rest of the roster will have to step up in their absence,” Jones said. “We do have a deep enough team to keep a steady ship, but it just makes everything a bit more difficult, and everyone needs to focus just a little bit more with a constantly changing lineup from day to day.”

Hamilton’s formula worked just fine last year.

The Generals made their second straight trip to the ITL finals, falling in the best-of-five series to Manchester/Essex, 3-0. The Generals flirted with first place all season, made their second straight trip to the finals after a more than 10-year absence and had a special field dedication ceremony that drew more than 100 fans to honor Richie Vitale.

Hamilton had no problem getting players to show last year, Jones said.

Jim Maloney, the league’s regular-season Most Valuable Player, led the team with a .448 average, followed by Mark Provost at .373. Jones (.333), Mark Potter (.318) and Jered Stewart (.318) rounded out the top five. The pitching staff was well rounded — Judd Funchion (four wins), Mike Drinkwater (three), Jeff Jensen (three), Jon Jackson (three), Luke Painchaud (three) accounted for most of the team’s victories.

Funchion and Jackson had playoff wins over first-place Ipswich. The Generals were seeded fourth. Jackson led the team in earned-run average (3.29) followed by Painchaud (3.92).

Brian Vitale, Stewart, Maloney and Jackson each made the 2008 ITL all-star squad for Hamilton.

“We have a very deep team,” Jones said. “Only being able to play nine at a time makes my job real tough as everyone is capable at playing at a high level and contributing to the team’s success. The core team is back again, and we have made a few additions in the offseason. Our pitching staff is extremely solid and has a lot of experience.”

Funchion and Jensen are the league’s most experienced pitchers. Jackson, who played college ball at Wheaton, Drinkwater, currently on the Endicott College roster, and ITL rookie Connor Sullivan, who plays at Colby College, joins them. Painchaud is recovering from an arm injury; he was stellar in his rookie campaign last season, Jones said.

Hamilton opened Sunday with an 11-5 loss to Rockport at Evans Field in Rockport.

Lou McGrath, who returned after a few years in retirement, went three-plus innings on the mound for Rockport, and was followed by Cory Emerson and Brent Currier.

Jones had a hit and two RBI for Hamilton.

Rockport and Hamilton meet in a rematch Thursday night at Patton Park.

“The league as a whole is extremely competitive and has seen somewhat of a resurgence of talent in recent years,” Jones said. “All seven teams should be close in competing for the four playoff positions.”

"Intertown Baseball League: Rowley Blanks Beverly"
by Staff Reporters