By Joe McConnell
You know it’s summer when the Little League Williamsport All-Star Tournament is about to begin, pitting the best 11–12-year-old baseball players in neighboring communities against each other.
The 2023 Everett Little League stars had already begun their District 12 schedule against visiting Malden at Sacramone Park last night (June 29, after press deadline). It’s double elimination, with the eventual district winner advancing to the sectionals, the state’s version of the Sweet 16, followed by the Final Four, this year taking place in Oxford to determine a state champion, where a trip to Bristol, Conn., awaits the victor to play in the New England Tournament.
Ironically, it was just 20 years ago when the 2003 Everett Little League all-stars made that trip to Oxford, only to lose to Saugus – a generational team that ended up playing for the United States championship under the bright prime time lights of Williamsport’s Howard J. Lamade Stadium – in the state title game, 11-1.
Everett manager Joe Young would like nothing better than to celebrate that memorable summer with another trip to that Central Massachusetts community, but he knows there are other good teams that are standing in the way of that dream scenario. It’s simply a matter of taking it one game at a time. “If our bats come alive, we have a good chance to go a long way in the districts, because we already have a pretty good defense and two solid starting pitchers,” said Young.
Young’s son, Nick, who recently helped lead the White Sox (16-1 regular season record) to the city Major Division championship, and Luke Wood are the team’s aces on the mound. Wood was on the second-place Red Sox that ended up with a 10-6 regular season record. The White Sox went on to beat the Angels in three games to secure that city title after the halos upset the Red Sox in two straight contests to get there.
Southpaw Caden Foley and Mateus Bueno are also slated to start on the hill, bringing an assortment of pitches to round out the staff. Nick Savi is the team’s starting catcher. When he’s not on the mound, Foley will be at first base. Troy Coke is the second baseman. Bueno, when he’s not pitching, will be alongside him at shortstop. Wood and Young will split time at third, taking advantage of their strong arms on the right side of the infield.
Jayden Cruz will patrol centerfield flanked by Christian Bruno in left and Colin Rogers in right. Ty Spencer, Luis Quintanilla and Lucas Gabriel “LG” Moutinho complete the roster made up of 12 players. Brian Savi, the 2023 league president, and Marc Freni are Young’s assistant coaches.
Everett’s potential Division 12 opponents include Somerville, Malden, Melrose, Charlestown, Dorchester and South Boston. Melrose is the probable team to beat after it won four out of the last five district titles, dating back to 2017. Medford, now in the Cal Ripken League, interrupted their streak in 2018. There was no Williamsport Tournament during the COVID year in 2020.
After last night’s home opener against Malden, the Townies from Charlestown will provide the opposition for the Everett boys in the second game, followed by aforementioned Melrose, the team everybody would love to beat.