Alex Wong launched a one-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to give the Revere Rockies a walk-off 5-4 win over the Charlestown Townies and the team’s first-ever Yawkey Baseball League title Friday night at Maplewood Park in Malden.
The Rockies took the championship series four games to two and culminated a dominant season that saw them roll to a 29-2 record and the top spot in the League’s Yastrzemski Division.
The Rockies entered the playoffs with a first-round bye, then dismissed the Stoneham Sabers 3-1 in the semi-finals. Meanwhile, Charlestown moved into the playoffs after an 18-13 season that topped the League’s Ted Williams Division. The Townies dispatched the Brighton Black Sox with two straight wins in the opening three game playoff series. The Townies topped the East Boston Knights in the best-of-five semi-finals, 3-1, in a series that featured a suspended extra-inning game on Aug. 21-22.
The Rockies’ championship did not come easily. They jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, taking both ends of a double-header on Sunday, Aug. 25 (4-3 and 2-1). Charlestown responded on Monday (Aug. 26) with a 1-0 win behind the combined shutout hurling of Billy Sullivan and John Niklas.
The Rockies took another step closer to the championship with a 4-2 win in Game 4 when Alex Wong hit a game-clinching two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning. Charlestown made things interesting with a convincing 7-2 win in Game 5 last Thursday, Aug. 29.
In Game Six, it took Wong’s heroics to deliver the title.
Stepping up for their last at bat in Game 6 in trailing 4-2, the Rockies probably were having flashbacks to 2018 when they lost the league championship in seven games after they squandered a 3-1 series lead to the Brighton Braves.
Charlestown hurler Billy Sullivan kept the Rockies hitters at bay all night, and all signs were pointing toward a deciding Game Seven.
But the Rockies were not out of it just yet.
Mike Lembo led off with an infield single between third and short. Catcher Argeny Villa then laced a double into the left-center field gap to drive home Lembo’s pinch runner to make it 4-3. Villa moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Sinatra, and Wong stepped up.
The lefty stepped back from a low inside first pitch, but he creamed Sullivan’s second pitch, clearing the fence in right center to drive home Villa and as Wong crossed the plate to complete his round-trip, it set off a wild celebration for the Rockies and struck sudden end to the Townies’ season.
The Rockies came into the 2019 season bent on avenging their crushing loss in last year’s championship series that saw them squander a 3-1 championship series lead to the Brighton Braves that ended on a controversial 1-0 extra-inning defeat.
With most of the roster intact from last season, 2019 became a Championship or Bust campaign. The Rockies ruled the roost throughout the 2019 campaign, leading the league in team batting, runs scored and homeruns. Shortstop Ryan Petrone led the league in hitting with a .437 average, and Kenny Polanco, (.417), Jacob Byrne (.391) and Alex Wong (.376) joined him among the top six hitters in the league. Wong, Polanco and Petrone also were the league’s top three homerun hitters.
On the mound, righthander Jon Shepard did yeoman’s work, leading the league with a 9-0 record and a save over 56.2 inning pitched. Chris Sandini was 6-1 and Wong 6-0 with a pair of saves.
The Yawkey Baseball League is one of the top amateur baseball leagues in Eastern Massachusetts. Playing continuously since the 1950s, the League has been known at various times as the Boston City League, the Twilight League, and the Junior Park League before its affiliation with the Yawkey Foundation in 1990. The League consists of 10 teams: the Ted Williams Division consists of the Brighton Braves, McKay Club Beacons, Charlestown Townies, Stoneham Sabers, and Brighton Black Sox. The Carl Yastrzemski Division includes the Rockies, Knights, South Boston Saints, the Al Thomas Athletics, and the Savin Hill Dodgers. For more information and schedules, visit Yawkeybaseball.com.