What a summer it was for a group of kids, their parents, their fans, and their community – all because of a baseball team.
Representing a town that loves its Little League, Swampscott’s 12-year-old All-Star team did it again, capturing the District 16 Championship.
“We didn’t get any easy games in the district,” coach Dave Paster said. “We started with Peabody… And then we played Lynnfield and Peabody West, then Peabody West again. There were no cakewalks.”
It’s true, “Peabody West again.” In one of the more peculiar championship games this area has ever seen, West threw the no-hitter, but Swampscott got the win 1-0.
In fact, the game was only 49 minutes due to the pitching on display.
“Very peculiar,” Paster said. “There’s not many chances where we get no-hit and win 1-0.”
His first name says it all. Jett Nichols of the Big Blue scored the lone run of the game on an error in the first inning, speeding around the bases for a 1-0 cushion.
“The throw [to third] just went a little wild and, like I said, we just manufactured the run – a true Little League run,” Paster said.
Cementing his name in the history books, pitcher Michael Hall played the role of the hero, allowing just one hit to silence West.
“We ran into a hot pitcher,” West coach Keith Slattery said.
There was just one problem. With one batter to go in the sixth and final inning, Hall reached the Little League pitch count of 85.
Well, that’s alright. All is clear when you have Jaden Oriakhi. The ace struck out his lone batter, and the title belonged to Swampscott.
“He was ready to go,” Paster said.
From there, it was time for tradition as Swampscott took its victory lap with the championship banner in-hand. Big Blue fans roared from their bleachers and tailgated cars.
“They were having a great time, the fans were having a great time, and Swampscott had a great turnout today,” Paster said. “The whole community was out supporting us tonight.”
The community continued that support in Andover, where sectionals were played. Although the Big Blue bowed out, they’ll never forget the Thursday in July that got them there.
“I don’t think Swampscott has been to sectionals in a while,” Paster said. “We got the District 16 Championship and the boys are very excited.”