By Kevin Perrington-Turner, Contributing Writer
NORTHBOROUGH – The Northborough Minutemen Red baseball team fought back to win their Babe Ruth summer league championship over Framingham with a 7-6 walk-off victory earlier this month.
The Minutemen Red wore down a 5-0 early deficit to complete the comeback in dramatic fashion.
“You’re never out of it as long as you play hard and never quit,” Northborough coach Matthew Jones said in a recent interview.
“Seeing the kids fight and never give up is all you can ever ask for as a coach,” he continued.
Northborough completes comeback
Strong pitching from player Thomas Boudreau helped Northborough keep pace as they wrestled the score to 6-5 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Jones explained.
Cole Jones then drove a two-out, two-strike pitch into left center field for a double. He stole third base as teammate Owen Cacciatore walked and stole second base to put the game’s winning run in scoring position.
Northborough’s Ethan MacGillivery hit a ground ball to second base.
“[He] forced an overthrow with his speed,” Jones said. “Two runs scored and the game was over. Seeing the kids celebrating the walk-off win for the championship was awesome.”
Victory caps challenging season
Though jubilant at the end of their season, the Minutemen Red team had its share of pitfalls this summer.
On top of restrictions and some limitations for the whole team due to COVID-19, star 14-year-old pitcher Nick Gallivan fractured his elbow in the last regular season game of the year.
“Pitching rules in the Minuteman League limit the use of 15 year olds to only four innings per game, so when we lost Nick, that really put a lot on the shoulders of our two remaining 14 year olds, Boudreau and Freve,” Jones said. “They both came through for us though.”
Coaches proud of team’s growth
The championship was but the finished product after what Jones and fellow coach Neil Rice said was a season of development.
“Every player on the team got better this season,” Jones said. “Jeremy Keene and Rocco Postizzi really came alive at the plate.”
Brennan Rice led the squad with a .609 batting average while seven other players racked up batting averages over .400.
Coaches were also impressed by how the team’s players grew to be new leaders of new students of the game. Including players between the ages of 13 and 17, some of the high school students ended up happily teaching middle schoolers and underclassmen.
“We’ve seen this group develop tremendously as baseball players and young men over the last several years,” Jones said. “It’s great to see them mentoring the younger kids and showing them the nuances of the game.”
Through it all, players and coaches also shared gratitude for the support fans and families have given them throughout the season.
“Without the fans and families, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this,” Jones said. “We always had a great turnout at games, and I know I speak for the entire team when I say it always helps to have people there cheering for you.”