When a team outscores its opponents by an incredible 103-19 runs over eight games, it's a good bet that club is going to finish first.
That's just what happened at the Cal Ripken Nationals at Myrtle Beach when the Legends AAU baseball team won the championship at the U14 level for the second straight year.
The local team with a new facility in Middleton was best in the field of 20 teams from across the country.
"I don't know if its scoring over 100 runs or letting up fewer than 20 in eight games that impresses me more," said coach Mike Costantino, who grew up in Salem and later played at Endicott College. He now runs the Legends programs along with his brother, Dave.
"I knew this was going to be special when we scored 16 runs in the first inning of our first game. I've never been part of something like that before."
That first game turned into a 28-1 rout over Tri-Valley Phantoms of Ohio. The Legends then blanked the Long Island Falcons, 14-0. The locals scored 14 runs again in the next game against York Spartans of Pennsylvania (14-3 win), and exploded for 15 more while allowing only four to beat the Eagles of Atlanta. In that contest against the Eagles, Beverly's Alex Toomey pitched a complete game with seven strikeouts.
In the fifth and final game of pool play, Legends defeated Tidewater Tornadoes from Florida, 16-4, to earn the top seed in the single elimination playoffs.
Their bats continued to be red hot in a 19-2 win over Baltimore Chop behind hurler Mike Driscoll of North Reading, who is an incoming sophomore at St. John's Prep. He pitched five strong innings with eight strikeouts and only allowed one run.
The closest game of the entire tournament for Legends came in the semifinal round against Detroit Metro Stars. Legends won, 3-1, behind the solid pitching of Trevor Massey, who saw some action with the Swampscott Big Blue varsity as a freshman last spring. He allowed only one run over seven innings and struck out six.