The Dedham 11s entered the Suburban League playoffs on quite a hot streak. They won their final 3 games of the regular season outscoring opponents by a combined total of 45-13.
The 11s bats came alive and the offensive outburst was contagious throughout the batting order.
Nolan Fitzpatrick (5 for 10, 7 runs, 2 RBI) and Shawn Nosky (3 for 7, 6 runs) were table setters at the top of the order during the streak. Alex Cherry, the team's 3rd hitter, was as locked in as ever.
Cherry went 8 for 10, 2 doubles, 2 HRs, 8 runs and 7 RBI over the 3 game stretch. Ben Dean was 4 for 7, 2 doubles and a HR with 5 runs and 5 RBI in the cleanup spot. Ben Shumway (4 for 8, 6 runs, 3 RBI), Billy Casey (4 for 7, 4 runs, 3 RBI) and Mike Masse (6 for 10, 4 runs, 9 RBI) showed how deep the order was batting out of the #5, #6 and #7 slots. Mikey Littmarck chipped in 4 RBI over the 3 game stretch.
Aidan Kelly batted at a .300 clip with 2 RBI of his own while Elian Rivera scored 3 runs in 2 games of action. The 11s downed Needham 11-2, Westwood 20-3 and division leader Walpole National 14-8 as they streaked into the playoffs.
The first playoff tilt for the 11s was Saturday against 2-time EMass Cal Ripken State Champion, and 2-time New England Regional runner-up (and Dedham's annual thorn in the side) Kingston. Dedham downed Kingston 4-0 and finally got the money off their back.
Alex Cherry and Shawn Nosky combined on a 3-hit shutout as Kingston never was able to mount an attack. PJ DeVirgilio broke open a 2-0 game in the top of the 5th with a leadoff single. Elian "El Guapo" Rivera laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to advance DeVirgilio, who alertly went 1st to 3rd on the sac as 3rd base was left unattended. Nolan Fitzpatrick (3 for 3, run, RBI) knocked in DeVirgilio for the third run. Fitzpatrick would come around to score on and RBI single by Alex Cherry (2 for 3, RBI).
The win on Saturday eliminated Kingston and qualified Dedham for Pool Play on Sunday. Dedham squared off against a talented team from Wellesley North. Dedham's usual strong pitching and defense was not on display as they dropped the contest 14-11. Nolan Fitzpatrick (3 for 4, 2B, run), Shawn Nosky (2 for 4, run, RBI), Alex Cherry (1 for 2, 3 runs, RBI) and Ben Dean (2 for 3, 2B, HR, 3 runs, 3 RBI) continued to set the pace for the offense.
The loss positioned Dedham for another chance at redemption. The 2nd game of the day, an elimination game, was against Marshfield. Marshfield eliminated Dedham from the Cal Ripken EMass State Tournament in a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat. Dedham left 13 men on base in the 6 inning contest with the one scored run being unearned. Losses don't get much tougher, so this was a game Dedham was looking forward to playing.
Dedham jumped on Marshfield early. Fitzpatrick led off with a walk and Nosky followed with a deep double down the leftfield line. With a gust of wind, the ball would have left the yard. Ben Dean came to the plate with one out and laced a 2-RBI single. He was then knocked in by Billy Casey as Dedham jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. In the 2nd inning, batting with 2 outs, Fitzpatrick got things going again with a double to the gap.
After a walk by Nosky, Alex Cherry came to the plate and blasted a 3-run HR to extend the lead to 6-0.
Dedham’s arms were just as impressive as their bats as Marshfield never threatened in the game. Alex Cherry (3 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 4 K), Shawn Nosky (2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 ER) and Nolan Fitzpatrick (1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 ER) were dominant on the mound. Dedham avenged their defeat with a 7-1 victory.
The 11s faced off against a strong Milton American team in another elimination game on Monday night. Ben Dean hit a 2-run HR in the bottom of the first to stake Dedham to a 2-0 lead. Milton tied the game with a 2-run HR of their own in the top of the 2nd off Alex Cherry.
Cherry pitched wonderfully yet again tossing 3 innings and allowed only one hit and one walk. Unfortunately for Dedham, the one hit was the 2-run HR. Shawn Nosky took the ball in the top of the 4th and was equally as dominant. Nosky (3 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 ER) gave up a solo HR to CF.
Dedham had one final bid in the bottom of the 6th. With 2 out, Ben Shumway flied out to deep LF as the catch was made on the warning track with the leftfielder’s arm extended over the fence. In a hard luck loss, Milton American defeated Dedham by a score of 3-2 when all the runs scored came courtesy of the long ball.
For the season, Dedham’s pitching was a strength all summer. Cherry led the staff with 42 IP striking out 74 opposing hitters with a 3.71 ERA. Nosky tossed 39 IP with 71 Ks and only 4 ER for a microscopic 0.62 ERA. Papel-Shawn led the staff with 5 Saves. Nolan Fitzpatrick contributed 28 IP with a 3.73 ERA and a 3-1 record.
The Dedham bats were solid as well, supporting the usual strong pitching and defense. Nolan Fitzpatrick hit .569 and led the team with 21 runs scored. Alex Cherry batted .483 with a team leading 5 HR to go with 20 RBI and 20 runs scored. Ben Dean hit .447 with 4 HR and a team leading 23 RBI. Ben Shumway batted .450 with an impressive .577 OBP. Mike Masse hit .389 with a .523 OBP and 13 RBI. Billy Casey continued to hit in the clutch as he batted .377 with 16 RBI and a team leading 7 doubles.
While the 3-time District 4 Champions suffered some hard luck losses where a clutch hit with runners on base was all that alluded them, the 11s look towards next season with incredible optimism. Along with the performance of the EMass State Champion 9 year old and 14 year olds, the DYB program is definitely on the rise.