HOLYOKE, Mass. – In a fitting end for the battle between the best the NECBL has to offer, the North Division All-Stars celebrated a walk-off, 4-3 victory in front of 2,671 fans at Mackenzie Stadium, home of the host Valley Blue Sox.
The North started off the scoring in the first frame, as Laconia’s Vinny Zarillo led off with a single, reached third on an error, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Vermont’s Trey Amburgey.
In the fourth, Amburgey singled to lead off the frame, followed by Mountaineers teammate Mike Vigliarolo and Laconia’s Braxton Martinez singling as well to load the bases. Keene’s Zach Lauricella hit into a 4-6-3 double play, but Amburgey came home.
In the sixth, the South erupted for three runs. With two away, Plymouth’s Vincent Guglietti drew a walk, followed by an infield single by Newport’s Nick Zammarelli. Ocean State’s Ryan Blanton followed with a double to bring in Guglietti, and immediately after, teammate Drew Ferguson singled to plate both Zammarelli and Blanton.
However, trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the North rallied. Blue Sox second baseman Angelo La Bruna hustled on a grounder to third, forcing an errant throw, and took second on a hit-and-run play. North Adams shortstop J.C. Cardenas doubled to right to score La Bruna to tie the game. After Sanford’s Drake Parker walked, Keene’s Jared Mederos singled, bringing home Cardenas and sending the North All-Stars into a celebratory frenzy.
Prior to the game, players from all twelve teams participated in skills competitions. Plymouth’s Michael Martin was impressive in winning both the 60-Yard Dash with a time of 6.40 seconds as well as the Outfield Throwing Accuracy Competition, while Newport’s Blaise Salter put on a show to win the Home Run Derby, hitting several balls well out of the cavernous Mackenzie Stadium.