On Wednesday, June 20, the Boston Closet Tigers won the 2012 Somerville Little League majors championship. For the second year in a row, a team sponsored by Tom Lynch of Boston Closet and managed by Sean Sullivan has won the Somerville Little League majors city championship.
This year’s team had only two returning players from last year’s team, Sean Sullivan Jr. and Henry Shugrue. These two players, along with returning head coach Sean Sullivan and assistant coach Dan Shugrue, and a host of new players were able to pull out an amazing come from behind victory in the best two out of three-city championship.
After losing the first game and falling behind in the series, the Boston Closet Tigers would come back to win the next two games and the city championship.
Game 2 of the series will go down as one of the greatest city championship games ever played. This game would go into four extra innings, for a total of 10 innings and span two nights, which is believed to be the longest inning game in the history of the Somerville Little League Championship.
Starting on Tuesday June 19, with superb relief pitching by Jalen George and excellent team defense by both teams, which kept the game tied, the Boston Closet Tigers and Bonney Auto Dodgers would play eight full innings in a game that would be halted and resumed the next night.
Coming back on Wednesday June 20, the Boston Closet Tigers had their backs against the wall, knowing they would have to somehow win game 2, which needed to be completed and then come right back and win a game 3 for the championship.
After another scoreless inning in the 9th, on gutsy pitching by 10 year old Easton Hanson and going into the bottom of the 10th inning, the Tigers found themselves down by 3 runs and facing elimination.
With a no lose determination, the Tigers would string together a single by Josh Frost, followed by consecutive doubles from Paul Pefine and Jalen George, which would make the score 15 to 13. After a fly out to right field, Andrew Atherton would hit a double to make it a one run game, then Conrad Demasi would follow with a 2 run double that would give the Boston Closet Tigers an improbable 16 to 15 victory and new life in the series.
After about an hour delay in the 94-degree weather, the teams would play the deciding game 3 of the series.
Finding themselves down 2 to 0 in the top of the 2nd inning, Sean Sullivan Jr. would drive in Conrad Demasi with a base hit into right field.
A few minutes later Sean Sullivan Jr. would steal third base and score on a pass ball to tie the game at 2. In the top of the 3rd the Tigers would take a short lived 5 to 2 lead on a 2 run double by Henry Shugrue, followed by another run on a pass ball.
A half an inning later they would again find themselves down by a run after a four run bottom of the 3rd by the Dodgers. Once again finding themselves with their backs against the wall and down by a run, the Tigers would erupt for five runs in the top of the 5th inning.
After lead off walks by Patrick Doherty and Joel Hancock, followed by a ground out, Andrew Atherton would walk to load the bases. Henry Shugrue would follow with an infield hit to score a run, this would be followed with two more pass balls for runs, and finally a two run homer by Conrad Demasi would put the Tigers ahead for good.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, Joel Hancock would come into relief for starting pitcher Andrew Atherton, who was able to keep a potent Dodgers offense at bay.
Joel and the Tigers would let up one more run in the final two innings and when the last batter of the game struck out, what seemed like an improbable series victory now belonged to the Tigers.
As the players began to jump in celebration, coaches Sean Sullivan, Dan Shugrue and Keith Doherty along with the team parents raced on to the field to set off an incredible celebration.
What seemed like a long shot just hours earlier was now ending with the kids dumping a bucket of water on head coach Sean Sullivan in celebration. After many group and individual pictures with the championship trophy and a team victory lap, one of the best championship series in the history of Somerville Little League was complete.
The Tigers who would finish the season with 13 wins and 4 losses, would prove to be a resilient bunch, with some very good team pitching that would limit the Dodgers as much as possible.
Although Thomas Marshall would connect to hit 3 home runs out of the park in the first two games, the Tigers would play sound defense in the series, especially with outfielders Josh Frost, and Patrick Doherty along with infielders Kyle Finigan, Paul Pefine and Easton Hanson, who would field every ball hit to them cleanly.
As coach Sean Sullivan said, “Our team defense was just awesome, in game 3 of the series we would make just one team error and in game 2, when our backs were really against the wall, from the 5th to the 10th inning we would not make a single team error. Amazingly in the last 12 innings of the series, we would make just one error. This team showed me such heart, never once giving up all season and every time I would look at them between innings, they never gave me any indication that they thought we were going to lose this series. As a coach this type of team makes you very proud.”
The Boston Closet Tigers celebrated their championship year with a team and family party held on Wednesday, June 27. The party was generously thrown by Boston Closet owner Tom Lynch, who also generously presented the players with championship trophies and ordered championship jackets for the team as well.
Coach Sean Sullivan said, “Tom Lynch is not only a friend of mine but one of the most generous people I know. He does so much for the kids in the city and he has been a great supporter and sponsor of mine and the league for many years. I am proud to have my name go on the league trophy for the second year in a row, along with that of Boston Closet.”