Ashland Summer Baseball Wins Championship
Aug 27, 2020 10:11AM
By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
When the American Legion postponed the season in early May the Ashland team, whose players had already been denied a high school season, was looking at yet another three months with no baseball.
Luckily, the Massachusetts International baseball League (MIBL) was created for baseball players who were unable to participate in the 2020 season due to Covid-19.
Although Ashland would not be able to represent Post 77 as they have during the American Legion season, they would get to play baseball to some extent.
The MIBL opened its summer season on July 7, and Ashland grabbed their first win, a 5-2 victory over Needham. The Ashland nine would then rattle off another five wins to go 6-0 before they would lose their fist game of the season 9-5 to Milton. Ashland wouldn’t lose again the rest of the way and concluded the first MIBL season with a 14-1 record earning 28 points, 4 more than second place finishers Braintree and Medfield, to capture the top spot entering the double elimination tournament.
“Going into every year you’re never sure 100% of what you are going to get out of your players. I did know that we had a good group of athletes coming back and had the opportunity to make a good run, so I really wasn’t surprised with our performance,” Ashland Coach Jake Obid said. “Against Milton we were short-handed and couldn’t catch a break, everything we hit was right at someone. They played better than we did and eventually just pulled away in the top of the ninth.”
Obid and his team would have like to have had the chance to meet up with Milton in the playoffs, but did not get the chance to avenge their only loss.
“It would have been nice, but if we take care of business in the playoffs then that one loss doesn’t matter at all,” the Ashland skipper said.
With 10 or 11 players returning from last year’s American Legion State runner-up team, Obid was overly optimistic about the team that he was going to roll with during the MIBL season.
They key to their success would be the team’s offensive fire power. During the season Ashland not only averaged 10 runs per game throughout their 15-game season, but they also got great pitching performances from their arms.
Offensively Dom Cavanaugh lead the team with 22 RBI; Jackson Hornung batted .400 with 3 homeruns, 4 triples, 5 doubles and recorded his career 100th hit for Post 77; Nick Calabrese batted .620 during the regular season and Sammy Farrell also contribute to the mix of consistent power and runs.
On the mound Ashland was led by Owen Radcliffe (5-0) and Tyler Dossas (4-0 and was the game winning pitcher in the deciding playoff game). Dylan Fonseca and Louie Denison also showed dominance on the mound and although Cavanaugh was kept off the bump due to soreness, he really wasn’t needed during the regular season.
Entering the double-elimination tournament, Ashland was awarded the number one seed overall and would play its opening games in Pod #1. (the tournament had four pods with four teams in each pod). The boys from Ashland opened the tournament with a dominating 26-0 win over Kingston and then added a 13-1 victory over Walpole before dropping their first post-season game 5-1 to Hyde Park; something his team did not see coming.
“After the first two wins convincingly, I think the guys thought that we were going to steam roll through the playoffs and they were not ready,” Obid said. “Hyde Park pithed a hell of a game and we didn’t hit that well and when we did, we hit it right at someone. We were never really able to get that momentum that we needed and our mentality coming in took over us.”
Now finding themselves one loss from elimination Ashland came into game 2 against the Boston team with a totally revamped attitude.
“We meet at the field an hour and a half before the game was to start and I had a talk with the team,’ the Coach said. “As soon as we got to the field for the game, I knew that it was already over before it started.”
Ashland was not only focused but humbled after their 5-1 loss to Hyde Park and sent the Boston based team pacing as they secured their spot in the final four with a 3-1 win. Dossas not only pitched a complete game he also drove in two of Ashland’s three runs in the victory sending the squad into the next round.
Ashland will now join Braintree (pod 2 winner), Medfield (pod 3) and Quincy (pod 4) in the final four. The final teams will once again engage in a double-elimination tournament for the first MIBL Championship.
Although Ashland has had success with all three teams during the regular season, Obid takes no stock in what his team prior to the tournament.
“We’re not playing in the regular season anymore, it’s the post-season and everything resets, and the pressure is higher,” he said. “We played Braintree and Quincy early in the season and had a tournament type game to close out the season with Medfield, but it’s a different time of the season and we are not looking at our past results.”