BEVERLY — Momentum isn't really supposed to carry over from game to game in baseball. But don't tell that to the all-stars from Danvers American Little League.

Just a day after exploding for 10 runs in their last at-bat Monday, Danvers picked up right where it left off by plating six runners in the first inning to run away from Manchester Essex, 12-2, in a District 15 Williamsport all-star elimination game Tuesday under the lights at Harry Ball Field.

The two straight victories put Danvers American in the District 15 finals against undefeated Hamilton-Wenham. They'll meet Thursday (7:30 p.m.), with Danvers needing to win to force a second 'if necessary' bout on Friday.

"We won Monday and Manchester had their first loss, so we kind of said to the boys that it was important to start fast," said Danvers American manager Steve Baldassare. "Come out with a big inning, and we're going to be in pretty good shape."

Cam McGonagle's 3-run blast out to left was the highlight of the opening frame, in which Danvers American batted around and had six of its 12 total hits. A triple by Michael Baldassare got the train rolling again after the homer with Jackson Allen, Michael Pesce and Josh Henry following with RBI to make it 6-0 out of the gates.

Danvers American pitcher Bryce Clark was excellent, working economically and going the distance with a low pitch count that keeps him eligible for a potential winner-take-all game Friday should his team remain alive. He struck out a pair and allowed only two hits in four innings, needing fewer than 10 pitches to retire the side in three of the four frames.

"Bryce was excellent. He worked really efficiently and the offspeed stuff was dropping in there for him," Steve Baldassare said.

Defensively, Danvers got several gems to keep Manchester at bay. Shortstop Christian McCarthy made a diving catch in the first, second baseman Michael Baldassare ranged to his right for an impressive line drive catch in the fourth, and Allen had a great grab in right field.

"The whole infield was good. They made all the plays, and I thought Josh (Henry) was great behind the plate. There were no passed balls," the Danvers American manager said.

Manchester got on the board with doubles by Nick Ranaldi and Caz Ostrowski to make it a 6-2 game in the third. In the bottom half, though, Clark helped his own cause with a 2-run double and Connor DiTomaso scored on a passed ball to put Danvers American back in full control at 9-2.

The Americans then walked off in the fourth when singles by Allen, Luke Horenstein (2 hits) and Pesce loaded the bases. Two runs came home on a wide throw on a fielder's choice, and Henry followed with an RBI single to give Danvers American the 10-run lead required the end the game early under Little League rules.

"Everybody hit, everybody contributed," said Steve Baldassare. "I'm proud of these guys because of the way they battled back after losing to Hamilton (Saturday). It's not easy to look at the adversity and come back when you're 12 years old.

"It's not going to be easy against Hamilton-Wenham — they're very good — but we're going to give it our best shot."

McCarthy scored a pair of runs for Danvers, as did Allen and Horenstein, who were both had two hits along with Pesce. Michael DeMaino also worked a walk, which saw 10 of its 13 batters reach base at least once.

Danvers American will be seeking its first District 15 championshipe since 2012 while Hamilton-Wenham last raised the pennant in 2014.

 

Assistant sports editor of The Salem News, blanketing the North Shore with the best coverage you'll find. Football fiend, track guru, seam-head, goaltending aficionado, history buff, stat geek. Allons-Y. #StrikeOutALS