Monday, May 20, 2013
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
OLD ORCHARD BEACH - Catcher Nic Lops gave First Title a 2-0 lead with a third-inning double and Louie DiStasio followed with a bases-loaded triple in the fourth for a 5-0 lead.
Right fielder Cam Mullen of First Title keeps his eyes on the ball while making a running catch in the rain against Saratoga, N.Y., in the seventh inning Friday. First Title won, 10-1.
Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer
First Title catcher Nic Lops attempts to control the ball as Alex Lushkevich of Saratoga, N.Y., slides safely into home in the sixth inning Friday at Old Orchard Beach. First Title won, 10-1.
Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer
First Title was on a roll that continued for the rest of the game Friday with a 10-1 victory against Saratoga, N.Y., in the winners' bracket of the American Legion Northeast Regional baseball tournament at The Ballpark.
First Title, made up of Cheverus High players, now awaits the winner of a game between Barnstable, Mass., and Milford, Conn., both unbeaten in the eight-team double-elimination tournament.
Barnstable and Milford will meet at 9:30 a.m. Saturday after their game Friday night was postponed by rain.
First Title may not play again until Sunday because of the schedule change.
DiStasio also was outstanding on the mound, scattering six hits through eight innings. Brady Murray pitched the ninth after DiStasio stiffened up during a long three-run top of the inning for First Title.
"I think that triple got Louie's adrenaline going," said Coach Mac McKew. "He got stronger as the game went along.
We've done the best we can, giving up only one run in each game. We were supposed to play (Saturday night) at 7 but I think we might go next on Sunday. We'll just have to wait and see."
DiStasio finished with seven strikeouts, none bigger than in the sixth to end a threat.
Saratoga had scored to make it 7-1 and was poised to add more with runners on second and third. But DiStasio ended that by striking out Kyle Willmott.
In the next inning, Saratoga put runners on second and third after a double by Bryan Carr with two outs. DiStasio got the next batter to pop to third baseman Tyler Flaherty in foul territory.
DiStasio was hit in the right biceps on a comebacker by the leadoff batter in the second. He chased the ball down and tried to flip to first baseman Drew Ferrick, but the runner reached and DiStasio was charged with an error.
"My arm stung so that's why I tried to flip it," he said. "The pain went away."
It obviously did. DiStasio, working quickly, allowed two hits through five innings. DiStasio also had a double to add to his triple, three RBI and two runs.
Lops finished 4 for 4, scored twice, had three RBI and threw out two runners -- one trying to steal second in the second and the other a pickoff at first for the first out of the ninth.
That was huge, because Murray, a left-hander, was having trouble throwing strikes. He walked the first two batters, then a third after Lops' pickoff.
Lops played on Cheverus' Class A state title team in 2011 before heading to St. Joseph's College, where he was an integral part of the Monks' outstanding season as a freshman.
Peter Potthoff is also a returning collegian who played for the Stags' title team.
With the exception of Lops and Potthoff, this is the Cheverus High team of the spring -- a team that lost to Scarborough in the Western Class A championship game.
This group is playing better than the team in the spring.
"I would agree," said McKew. "The addition of Lops and Pott-hoff are huge. Then you have Mitchell Powers, who can throw. I'll take those three to any tournament."
While First Title was a little sluggish in its opening game, a 4-1 victory against Woonsocket, R.I., it was anything but in its second game.
"We were a little sloppy in our first game but we cleaned it up," said DiStasio. "Saratoga, even though we beat them by more, is a little more competitive than our first opponent.
"We're in a good groove. I hope we can keep it going."
Flaherty had two RBI, and Potthoff and Ferrick had one apiece.
"We're getting contributions from a lot of people," said McKew.
With the rainout of Friday's final game, Saturday's schedule has Barnstable, Mass., and Milford, Conn., playing at 9:30 a.m., followed by Concord, N.H., against Saratoga, N.Y., at noon, then Woonsocket, R.I., against the loser of the Barnstable-Milford game.
"I think we'll play Sunday," said DiStasio. "It wouldn't be fair to ask the winner of Massachusetts and Connecticut to play twice."
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: