TEWKSBURY – Heading into this past weekend’s Conway Classic Tournament playoff rounds, it would have been easy for Tewksbury 11U All-Stars to have had their doubts.
After all, the last time they had taken the field, they had suffered an 8-1 loss to Windham, New Hampshire on Saturday, June 24, putting them in a must win situation this weekend if they wanted to capture their third straight Conway Tournament title.
Worse yet, standing in their path to their third straight title would be that same Windham team that had routed them the week before. Certainly, there were plenty of reason for doubt. But as this young group of players has consistently shown, there was also plenty of reason to believe.
That belief certainly proved to be well founded, Tewksbury swept their way to another Conway title, routing Reading by a score of 8-0 on Friday night before coming back to gain some redemption, as well as the tournament title with a 2-0 win over Windham on Saturday.
Saturday’s win was a thriller, as Tewksbury’s Brady Babbitt was locked up in a pitcher’s duel with the Windham pitcher, with the hurlers matching each other zero for zero, with the game remaining scoreless through five innings. That all changed in the sixth inning when the Redmen finally broke through.
While the game was at Poulin Field, Tewksbury was considered to be the visiting team in this game.
In the top of the sixth, Will Harrison got things started with a single to centerfield. Babbitt then helped his own cause with a double down the left field line to score Harrison for a 1-0 Tewksbury lead. Shayne Welch then gave Tewksbury some insurance with a single up the middle to score Babbitt and make it 2-0.
That was all the run support that Babbitt would need as he worked out of a jam in the bottom of the sixth to close out the game. After a leadoff double for Windham, Babbitt settled down, getting a pair of outs on ground balls before striking out the last batter looking to clinch the title.
Overall, Babbitt struck out six Windham batters, while allowing seven hits on the day. Harrison led the way offensively for Tewksbury, going 2-for-3 at the plate, including his big leadoff double in the sixth inning.
In order to make Saturday’s game matter, Tewksbury first had to take care of business on Friday night against Reading, and they did so with flying colors, rolling to an 8-0 rout of their talented opponents.
Shayne Welch had an outstanding night of his own on the mound in this on, allowing only one hit over six innings, striking out six and walking one. The big inning for Tewksbury came in the fourth when they scored four times, led by a walk by Brennen Davis, a single by Nick Colameta, and a double by Brady Harris.
Harris led the way offensively for Tewksbury, going 2-for-3 on the night.
Overall, Tewksbury went 4-1 in the tournament, with the only misstep coming in the loss to Windham. Back on July 17, they had opened tournament play with a 4-0 victory over Merrimack, NH. Welch was once again outstanding on the mound for Tewksbury, throwing a complete game shutout allowing only two hits over six innings, striking out seven while walking only one.
Tewksbury scored three times in the fifth inning to take control of this one, with Beckett Anderson, Brennen Davis, and Andrew Polleys all contributing to the big inning with RBIs. Harrison led the way offensively, going 2-for-2 on the day, while Nick Colameta flawlessly handled eight chances in the field.
The 11U championship team included Beckett Anderson, Brady Babbitt, Michael Barletta, Nick Colameta, Brennen Davis, Justin Harrington, Brady Harris, Will Harrison, Kyle MacKeen, Andrew Polleys, Gavyn Welch and Shayne Welch.
Mark Babbitt was the team’s manager and he was joined on the coaching staff by Bill Harrison, Tyler Welch and Shawn Anderson.