By Bill Burt
---- — Three down, one to go. That’s one, simplistic way of looking at it.
Another, which is coming from the players themselves is, “Why not West?”
Whatever the case, the North Andover West 10-year-old all-stars have a big week ahead of them starting tomorrow when they play in the New England 10-year-old Little League championships in Cranston, R.I.
This marks the second time in three seasons that North Andover has won the district, sectional and state championships and is headed down to Cranston, R.I. for the annual tournament.
“This is very exciting,” said manager Bill Morin. “You don’t plan on doing this. You hope the kids play well and then good things happen. The more we’ve played, the more the team’s confidence has grown. The fact that we won the state tournament is an accomplishment by itself.”
North Andover West went to state championship in Saugus hoping to make a run, going against some baseball powers in Medford, Holden and Lakeville.
NA West opened with a 10-1 over Medford with Alex Bodnar, Jack Morin, Brady O’Brien, Jason Faro and Will Landers all getting multiple hits while O’Brien, Morin and Jack Twombly combined for the win on the mound.
It was much the same thing against Holden in Game 2, as NA West broke open a close two-run game with Faro and Twombly keying the onslaught and eventual, 10-0 win. Dylan Caporale struck out eight in getting a shortened no-hit win.
In Game 3 against Lakeville, lefty pitcher Brendan Holland was steady allowing three runs in four innings against the potent lineup. Holland doubled and scored when O’Brien hit a single, eventually leading NA West to a 5-3 win.
With the top two teams — NA West and Lakeville — advancing to the championship game, it was a repeat performance of their earlier game as the locals again won, 5-3, with Justin Faro’s two-run homer in the top of the first inning. After Lakeville tied it, Bodnar and Morin had back-to-back doubles for a 3-2 lead setting up the eventual win and trip to Cranston, R.I.
Coach Morin on his players:
No. 3: Jack Twombly: (RF/2b/P) ... Solid fielder with great attitude. Throws strikes on mound.
No. 4: Brian Beaudoin: (3b/2b/CF/C) ... The definition of a utility player. Has been instrumental in this run. Versatility at a high level of play at four positions.
No. 5: Will Landers: (Cf/Rf) ... Great job of tracking fly balls. Solid left-hander batter who delivered two key hits in Sectional final.
No. 6: Jack Morin: (P/SS/2b) ... Strong middle infielder. Great pivots on turning double plays. Solid hitter who has been an ace on the mound.
No. 7: Alex Bodnar: (SS/P) ... Great lead-off batter and a vacuum at shortstop. Has been a very effective closer on the mound.
No. 8: Brendan Holland: (Cf/P) ... Big contributor in center field. Has developed into a dangerous hitter. Has provided depth on pitching staff pitching in key parts of games in sectional and state finals run.
No. 9: Chris Pensavalli (Rf/Lf/3b) ... Great attitude and catches anything hit in his direction. Good awareness of game and has delivered key hits in this run.
No. 26: Jason Faro: (1b) ... Our cleanup hitter who has two homers. Hits everything hard. Has been a rock at firsst base.
No. 27: Dylan Caporale: (P/C/3b) ... Pitched a no-hitter in state pool play. Has provided depth at catcher and third base. Was immense in sectional finals at bat.
No. 28: Brady O’Brien: (P/C/3b) ... Winning pitcher in all three finals games. Solid No. 3 hitter with many RBIs. Solid receiver at catcher.
No. 29: Jake Landry: (Lf/Rf) ... Delivered a key double to set up the final two runs in top of sixth in state championship game. Quiet kid who is anything but that at the plate. Strong swing with great speed on bases.
No. 38: Aidan Ham: (Lf/3b) ... My third assistant coach on bench when not playing. Knows the ins and outs of all situations during the game. Solid outfielder with good awareness.
North Andover West's schedule Saturday, Aug. 3 7:30 p.m. -- Team Massachusetts vs. Team Rhode Island Monday, Aug. 5 2 p.m. -- Team Massachusetts vs. Team New Hampshire Tuesday, Aug. 6 7:30 p.m. -- Team Connecticut vs. Team Massachusetts Wednesday, Aug. 7 5 p.m. -- Team Massachusetts vs. Team Vermont Friday, Aug. 9 5 p.m. -- New England #1 vs New England #2 Saturday, August 10th 11 a.m. -- NE Champ vs Mid Atlantic Champ Note: The 2013 9/10 Eastern Region Invitational will be held at Michael P. Varrato Field at the U.S. Senator John Chafee Athletic and Recreational Complex, 450 Hope Rd., Cranston, R.I. 02921