Phillies Manager John Leone said he always told his players, “We’ll learn during the regular season, we’ll get better during the regular season and we always dance in the playoffs.”
And dance they did – all the way to the top of the Revere Youth Baseball League, defeating the Indians two games to one to lay claim to the 2020 playoff championship.
The Phillies edged the Indians, 4-3, in an exciting, third and deciding game of the finals Monday night at Papasodora Field at Griswold Park. In a highly competitive series, the Phillies won the opener, 8-6, while the Indians took Game 2, 10-9.
“It was a great series,” said John Leone.
The third game was a classic, pitcher’s duel with Phillies’ ace Tucker Cali going the route to earn the victory.
“Tucker pitched an unbelievable game,” said Leone. “Their two pitchers were great, too. This was probably the best game pitching wise all year.”
The Phillies broke up a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth with a pair of runs produced by the top of the batting order. Scott Bouey, Nathan Soroko, and Tucker Cali had key hits in the inning.
The Indians scored a run in the bottom of the sixth before the Phillies got the final out to hold on for the series-clinching victory.
Outfielder Matty Leone, son of the Phils’ manager, had an excellent series defensively, making two great catches in the series opener.
The Phillies entered the playoffs as the No. 3 seed. They rallied to beat the Red Sox, 6-4, in the single-elimination first round. The Phillies then swept the No. 2-seeded Diamondbacks before prevailing over the No. 1-seeded Indians, whom the Phillies hadn’t defeated during the regular season.
Leone was assisted on the Phillies’ bench by coaches David Kennedy and Randy Randuazzo.
Interestingly John Leone was a sophomore on the 1988 Revere High School baseball team, a contingent that many consider the greatest in baseball school history. Leone went on to play college baseball at Merrimack while his brother and former RHS teammate, Emilio Leone, played college baseball at URI.