Pals rally for fall championship

The Revere Pals captured the 2009 Tenth Player fall baseball championship with a thrilling 6-5 comeback victory over the Tenth Player Wreck of Malden team in nine innings on Oct. 26 at St. Mary’s Field in Revere.

Sal Guarino had an infield single to drive in the winning run for the Revere 10-12 year-old team consisting of players from the St. Mary’s Cal Ripken and Revere Little League.

Revere trailed 5-0 going into the bottom of the sixth inning. The Pals rallied for five runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 5-5 and then won it in the bottom of the ninth.

With the bases loaded, Freddie Burns lashed a bases-clearing double to close the gap to 5-3. After a walk and a basehit, Alex Turco doubled to right field to tie the game and send it into extra innings.

Relief pitcher Matthew Bonaventura did an outstanding job in relief, holding the opponents scoreless in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, the top of Revere’s batting order produced the winning run. Mike Gurska had a clutch basehit to start the game-winning surge. Matthew Costanza followed with a basehit before Matthew Medeiros walked to load the bases with two outs. Guarino then delivered the game-winning hit to give the Pals the victory.

“It was an amazing comeback,” said Medeiros. “We were down five runs with one half inning left in our season. But the boys refused to quit. The whole lineup contributed to our incredible rally. I’m so proud of this team for never giving up even when it looked like an insurmountable challenge.”

Revere had a 9-1 record in the regular season and won four games in a row to claim the title in the eight-team league. Teams from Everett, Malden, East Boston, and Medford were members of the league.

It was the second consecutive championship for Revere who was led by manager Jeff Medeiros and coaches Craig Costanza, Mike Gurska, and Alec Costanza.

Medeiros said several of the players returned to the team from last year’s contingent that also rallied in the championship game to win it all.

Pitching was a huge factor in the team’s excellent 13-1 record. In a luxury for manager Medeiros and his coaching staff, the team could rely on more than one ace on the mound. Freddy Burns, Matthew Costanza, Matthew Bonaventura, and Hadi Hamden were outstanding pitchers for the PALS. First-year starting catcher Anthony Borriello did a superb job working with the four aces.

Medeiros said the defensive play of his team helped propel it to the title. Shortstop Matt Costanza, second baseman Andy Diranian, first baseman Mike Gurska, and third basemen Freddy Burns and Hadi Hamden were flawless throughout the playoffs.

“Gurska was lights out at first base,” said Medeiros. “The scoops on throws and the stretches he made really helped out our infield. His play at first base was remarkable throughout the season.”

Matthew Medeiros, a speedy outfielder who covers a lot of ground, anchored the group in center field. Left fielder Matthew Bonaventura and right fielders Sal Guarino and Alex Turco were also steady in the outfield.

The Pals had a very potent lineup at the plate, responding with numerous clutch hits throughout the season. Costanza was the Mr. October of the group, collecting several doubles and RBIs in the leadoff position in the order.

“Matthew is going to be one of the best shortstops and all-around players in the St. Mary’s Cal Ripken League next year,” said Medeiros. “He has a very bright future in baseball. He’s a great kid to coach as well.”

Andy Diranian, whose father, Andrew, was one of Chelsea High School’s greatest football players ever, hit two home runs in one game and was one of the best power hitters on the team. Freddy Burns also hit a home run in the final regular season game.

Matthew Medeiros, Anthony Borriello, and Mike Gurska were the tablesetters for the Revere batting order. All three players know to bunt very well and run the bases aggressively and smart.

“It was a season to remember,” said Medeiros. “Hopefully the players can carry on what they learned this season in to their future development in youth baseball. The kids were great to be around and the coaches worked hard. I hope the players had as much fun as I did being part of such a fantastic season.”

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