By Phil Stacey
---- — They’ve got defense, they’ve got pitching, they’ve got hitting ... and they’ve got confidence.
The Danvers Babe Ruth 13-year-old all-stars head into the eight-team state championship tournament at the Bowser Complex in Lynn beginning tomorrow (6 p.m.) feeling they’ve got the talent, skill and intangibles to win the whole thing.
“To be honest we’ve got a really good infield and outfield. Defense has been clutch for us,” said Danvers manager Randy Boudreault. “We’ve got a couple of really strong pitchers, some great guys behind them, and a lineup that can make things happen.”
Danvers will open tomorrow night against Silver Lake. As one of four teams in the American half of the bracket, they’ll also play Burlington Friday (6 p.m.) and Arlington Saturday (11 a.m.). The other half of the bracket is made up of Dedham, Plymouth, Maplewood (Fall River) and the host city, Lynn.
From the two brackets, the top four teams will advance to the state semifinals, and the championship will be held early next week. All games will take place at the Bowser Complex.
Danvers swept through District 1 play, winning all five games they played to advance to states. That included victories over Lynn (10-2), Swampscott (12-2), Salem-Beverly (16-6), Peabody (9-5) and, in the title game, Saugus (4-3).
The manager feels his team possesses the best outfield in the tournament with Max D’Amora in left field, Jackson Leete in center and Tim Usalis in right. Franco Abbatessa is also in the outfield mix. “They’re fast, strong and can really track down the baseball,” said Boudreault.
Strong at the corner infield spots, Danvers has Zack Dillon at first base and Brett Boudreault at third. Casey Bussone and Nick Rossito both see time at shortstop, while Nicolas DiSciullo is the starter at second, with Andrew Dembowski and Matt Reidy (who also plays left field) the backups.
In the District title game against Saugus, 11 of the last 12 outs that Danvers recorded came in the infield.
Nick Raimo starts behind the plate for Danvers; D’Amora can also catch. The pitching staff has a pair of right-handed aces in Bussone and Dillon; Justin Nadeau is a lefty who can cause a myriad of matchup problems for opponents. Rossito is another starter who has been steady and dependable; so has Joe Nicolo (who also plays first base).
Carrying the offensive clout is Leete, the team’s leadoff hitter and table setter; Raimo and Bussone, who switch off hitting in the second and third slots in the lineup; and Billings, Usalis, Boudreault and Rossito, who hit 4-5-6-7.
The winner of the Eastern Massachusetts Babe Ruth 13-year-old championship advances to New Englands in Manchester, N.H., next weekend.