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The Medfield 13U Babe Ruth baseball team completed a stellar summer run by taking home the championship in the Tri-Valley Baseball League. The victory capped a strong summer season for the team that had earned the number one playoff seed based on a 10-1-1 regular season record. Bitten by the injury bug in late season, the scrappy team called up players as young as 11 to fill out the roster and continued to hit and make plays through the playoffs all the way to the title.
After handily beating Millis and Holliston in their first two playoff match-ups, Medfield was up against Medway in the best-two-of-three final. Medway jumped out early in Game 1 and held off a Medfield rally that forced extra innings to take a 1-0 series lead. Game two was all Medfield, led by a potent offense featuring big extra base hits by Ben Leonard, Ryan Murray, and Harry O’Brien. The rout was on early as the Medfield pitchers, Ben Leonard and Teddy Ariel, kept the Medway bats in check on their home field for a final of 16-4 tying the series at 1-1.
Game three at Schilling Field on Friday night, July 29, proved to be a nip and tuck affair throughout, with every Medfield player contributing in a big way to a true team victory. Medway jumped ahead early as Medfield struggled in the field in the first inning, finding themselves down 4-0. Starting pitcher Dennis Folan kept his composure and his team settled down around him, preventing further damage in the early going. Once again, the Medfield bats were thumping. Extra base hits from Dennis, Ryan Murray, and Teddy Ariel quickly got Medfield back in the game.
As the game progressed, Medfield continued to build upon its lead with timely hitting from multiple players. A run-scoring sacrifice fly from Aidan Fedor and a huge RBI single from Liam Milne made the game 9-4 in the fifth inning behind the relief pitching of Ben Leonard.
Medway refused to go away, gradually chipping away at the Medfield lead, which was 9-8 entering the bottom of the sixth. Medway had its ace on the hill intent on shutting down the Medfield offense. Undaunted, Jack Shurtleff led off with a key single and promptly stole second base. Ben Leonard delivered a hit to drive in the run, giving Medfield a 10-8 cushion that proved to be the difference in the game.
In the seventh, the Medfield D got off to a rocky start, allowing Medway to cut the lead to 10-9 with a runner on second and no one out. Shaking it off, the defense rallied to ice the game, highlighted by a spectacular diving catch in center by Ryan Murray, a strikeout by pitcher Ben Leonard, and a tough play on a grounder to his right by second baseman Jack Shurtleff. The timely defense iced the championship and brought home the Tri-Valley League Baseball hardware to Medfield for the next 12 months.
Head Coach Ed Ariel said: “I’m really proud of this 13U team. We had injuries to some really good players but the team never got down and just kept competing. The next guy just kept stepping up, and this group can really hit. On defense, the coaches asked the players to make the routine plays to support the solid starting pitching we had all summer. Most importantly, this was a fun team and the big championship trophy is a nice reward for their efforts this summer."