SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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September 6, 2009

The 10 Greatest North Shore high school games of the Last 20 Years, No. 4: Herculean Effort; Allison's 156-pitch gem, theft of home toppled Antonelli in star-studded showdown

Allison's 156-pitch effort, theft of home toppled Antonelli in star studded showdown

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The reckless nature of putting it all on the line for one win, and the bravado he showed in doing it, was vintage Allison.

"That's Jeff for you," said Garrity, who went on to captain the baseball team at UMass. "He wanted that game badly and he basically said 'Jump on my back and I'll win this one.' He pitched his heart out — not many people can do what he did — not to mention stealing home for the winning run. I've been around baseball a long time and I've never seen anything like it."

The Legacy

The victory over the Prep was the swan song for perhaps Peabody High's greatest baseball class. The group that had appeared in three straight Babe Ruth World Series' (and won the national championship in 1999), bowed out of postseason play the next day with a loss to Malden Catholic in the North final.

"That Prep game was the last game we won together — and it was the greatest game I was ever part of," said Matt Mello, who went on to play at Salem State and now coaches the freshmen at Peabody High.

Led by Allison, the group included co-captain Artie Generazzo, Chris Shambos, Levine and countless college stars. Anthony Palmieri played with Mello and Celentano at Salem State and Ian Parkinson pitched for Endicott. Mark Sakelakos threw at UMass-Lowell.

The talent was no different for St. John's. Besides Antonelli and Day and Sirois at UConn, Haugh played at Bentley and Peter Frates played at Boston College. Gallugi played at Franklin & Marshall and Neal White excelled at Trinity.

That the Tanners toppled a squad that was assembled from all over the state remains a source of pride.

"You know, I played in college and I played down in Cape Cod, and nothing is like playing for your town with your friends," said Garrity. "To beat a team like the Prep, and to remember most of it so vividly so many years later, it makes you proud of the tradition we had."

"Everyone remembers that game," added Mello. "People say, 'You graduated with Allison; I was at that Prep game, what a game.' It was just unreal."

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