Posted by Joseph O'Hara on Jul 16 2003 at 05:00PM PDT
Al Thomas Club Runs Winning Streak to 6 The Al Thomas A’s have vaulted back into playoff contention in the Tarpey Division of the Yawkey Amateur Baseball League. The Milton entry in the league, the Athletics have won 6 games in a row and have finally begun to show signs of fulfilling preseason potential. In sharp contrast to previous years, the A’s entered the 2003 season with only one player on the roster above the age of 30. This youth movement has caused many opposing squads to take the team lightly, thinking that it would take a few years to rebuild such a powerful baseball machine. “The rest of the league saw so many guys retiring that it figured we wouldn’t be good again for a while,” confessed newly elected team captain Ed Barrow. “But we have a great bunch of guys and a young, but solid nucleus. We’ve started to surprise some opponents already.” Barrow emphasized the grittiness and desire of some of the younger players, combined with the savvy and experience of the veterans. “I think a lot of this team’s makeup involves commitment. When these guys see Mr. Al Thomas taking time out of his insanely busy schedule to attend nearly every game, then they realize that the dedication and passion starts at the top, and it just trickles down from there.” The unbeaten streak began with a 5-4 victory over the McKay Club on June 26. Larry Fennelly, freshly recruited out of retirement (due to a season-ending injury to Sean Wilshere) drove in Peter Moores with the eventual winning run in the bottom of the 6th inning. John Wilson allowed 4 unearned runs, while mowing down the last 15 batters of the game, 8 via the strikeout. Moores and Greg Fitzgerald led the offense with 2 hits apiece, while Steve Sherman blasted a 2-run homer in the first inning. On June 30, the team cruised to a 7-0 win over South End. Peter Hoy tossed a 4-hit shutout with 7 k’s, while Andrew Doyle led the attack with a double and two singles. The highlight of the game was the triumphant return to action of manager Joe O’Hara, who was pressed into duty for the first time in 5 years. “Chief” promptly laced run-scoring singles in two of his three at bats, calling for oxygen each time he reached first base. Mark Daly turned in several sparkling plays at second base to hold down the “D”. On July 1st, Comcast brought their crews to Healy Field to tape televise the game against 12-1 West Roxbury. The game was as advertised, as the teams battled to a scoreless tie through the regulation 7 innings. West Roxbury loaded the bases with 1 out in the 7th, but a botched squeeze play and a strikeout ended the threat. Aidan Powers was masterful for the A’s, pitching 8 innings of 5-hit shutout ball, with 13 strikeouts. In the bottom of the 8th, Mike Niland’s bases-loaded single drove in Brian Powers with the winning run. Niland led the quiet offense with 3 hits.
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