All three of the oldest Ruffnecks traveled to the Tournament of Champions in Cincinnati, Ohio August 1-6. This is the third consecutive year the Ruffnecks finished their summer season at the TOC. The experience of having all three teams together, in the hotel, eating together, and traveling daily to games in team buses is one of the hallmarks of our program.
The 16U Ruffnecks continued their quest to get better each and every day. After a disappointing opening game 5-5 tie, the Ruffnecks hit and pitched their way to three consecutive wins and the #4 overall seed. Jeremy Krendel, Owen Ellsworth, Jett Little, and Lorcan Lee all sparkled on the mound, with Ellsworth throwing a shutout. Lee sealed the Ruffnecks hold on a top seed with a 5-1 complete game win. Drew Reagan has provided some offensive power, along with some timely hitting. The outfield defense has been led by the superlative play of Will Forman, Bryce Larco, and Sean Watts.
After a rocky start, the 17U Ruffnecks made it to the Diamond Playoff Bracket with two solid wins. The ‘Necks found themselves on the short end of a 6-5 walkoff defeat in Game #1. They lost the lead late in Game #2, but held on for the tie. With no forgiveness left in the schedule, the Ruffnecks needed to win out. Aiden Barclay has led the way with 3 triples and 3 doubles. His bat has been a catalyst for the offense. Jeremy Auren, James Henshon, and Nolan Colby both continue to provide sparks to the offense. Tommy Hennessey has done a fabulous job in the infield. The pitching staff continues to compete. Starters Ian Keusch, James Henshon, John Hegarty, and Matthew deBenedictus have all delivered effective outings.
In the first playoff game the Ruffnecks upended the #2 seed in a 3-0 victory. Brady Lane pitched a complete game and was masterful on the mound. He kept opposing hitters off balance and pitched his way out of trouble with the help of some fine infield defense. Nolan Colby and Tommy Hennessey played air tight infield, while turning two big double plays. Colby, James Henshon, Jeremy Auren, and Nick Andersen led the offense with two hits apiece. The 17’s made it to the quarterfinals where they faced off against a formidable Louisville Legends squad. After falling behind 3-0 in the bottom of the 1st inning, the Ruffnecks scored 3 in the top of the 2nd to tie the score. Nick Andersen had a big double and James Henshon contributed an RBI. The ‘Necks again fell behind 4-3 in the 4th, but rallied for 4 runs in the 5th to take a 7-4 lead. Devin Hunt would make that score stand with dominant pitching in relief. Nolan Bibbo gave the team a sound start.
On Sunday, August 6th at Miami of Ohio, the Senior Ruffnecks found a way to play themselves into the last possible game of the season. In the semifinal game Ian Keusch took the ball against a formidable opponent in the Louisville Vipers. He responded with a complete game 4-3 victory. Nick Andersen drove in the winning run in the top of the 6th with a line double. In the championship, “Playoff Dan” MacLean got the nod and pitched valliantly. The Ruffnecks fell short against the Richmond Braves in a 5-3 exciting championship contest.
The concept of challenging oneself is not new. The 15U Ruffnecks season is designed to challenge the players and the team with a plan that can, at times be uncomfortable, and is almost always difficult. The 15U season is a transition in the context of the Ruffnecks program. We chase opportunities to elevate the tempo, attention to detail, and the demands of playing “clean” baseball. The 15u schedule has few, if any, easy moments. Not every 15u roster can meet the challenge. It is not for anxious or results-oriented players and families. Nevertheless, it is uncommon for the 15U Ruffnecks to achieve the kind of success they experienced in the 17u/18u Summer Classic July 23-27.
The 15U Ruffnecks entered the 17u/18u Summer Classic at the tail end of a stretch in which the team played eleven out of twelve consecutive days, the sole “off day” a rainout at the Boston College Team Camp. In the first game of the tournament, the ‘Necks found a way to grind out a comeback, 7-5 win against a 17u opponent that was more physical and experienced. Cole DeFina started on the mound and gave the Ruffnecks a great effort. Ronan Sullivan got the win in relief. The defense was solid behind a tight infield of William Goggin, Garrett Falahee, and William Broderick. Bear Adams anchored 1B (for the entire event). In the second game of pool play, Dylan Muccini was unhittable on the mound as the 15’s raced out to an impressive 8-1 victory against a less challenging opponent. Rain, lightning, tournament format changes, and other unexpected disruptions plagued the event during the week. After achieving a 2-0 record in “pool play,” The Ruffnecks found themselves in the confusing position of being one of only two teams asked to play a third pool play game in order to advance to the playoff round. In other words, they had to win, go 3-0, and beat a formidable opponent to play “bonus” baseball. Jon Condlin started on the mound and gave the Ruffnecks a gritty start. Angus McKenna contributed in relief, and Garrett Falahee got the save as “closer.” Again the defense was excellent. The lineup found ways to get timely hits. The catching duo of Talen Rosborough and Owen Callahan showed their experience and leadership the entire tournament. The outfield of Ryan Ruggiero, Jackson Fulginite, Jack Weireman, and Ronan Sullivan were outstanding. Michael Fiengo contributed with his bat and infield defense.
After finishing at 9:30pm on Wednesday night the ‘Necks faced a worthy, mature, and physical opponent at 8:00am on Thursday morning July 27th. Ryan Ruggiero took the ball and pitched five outstanding innings, exiting with a 4-2 lead. The game was an intense, well played contest that provided an unexpected challenge to a decidedly more experienced and talented 17u team. The Ruffneck forced their opponent to the brink as the tying and go ahead runs crossed the plate in the 7th inning. Alas, the 15u Ruffnecks bowed out in a 5-4 loss to the eventual Chmpionship Game finalists. It was a great effort from a group of players working to get better every day. Congrats.
Both the 13u and 14u Ruffnecks traveled July 12-16 to Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for the CABA World Series. The 13u Ruffnecks played in the 14u division of the CABA World Series, while the 14u Ruffnecks played in the 15u division. The teams did very well.
The 13’s started slowly dropping their first two games in disappointing fashion against 14u opponents. The third game of pool play also finished with a loss, but there was something different about the game. The ‘Necks found a way to compete against an opponent that was the leader of the pool. After battling to take a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the 7th inning, the 13’s could not hold onto the victory and lost 4-3 in a walk-off defeat. Nevertheless, the game was a turning point for the tournament. The Ruffnecks went on a 3 game winning streak, including a decisive 5-0 shutout effort against the very same team that hooted and hollared in the 4-3 walk-off disappointment just days earlier. Quinn Healey was dominant on the mound and the defense backed him up with all the plays. Among the highlights of the tournament, were Liam Eder-Linnell’s one hitter in a night game at Miami of Ohio University. John MacLean and JT Taylor both had inside the park home runs. To say that the 13’s performed in a complete team effort is not enough to describe the success of the trip. Even a championship game defeat could not dampen the effort and feeling of accomplishment for an outstanding 13u season.
The 14u Ruffnecks took their game to Ohio expecting to compete against older competition. They found success. A decisive first game 9-1 victory got the team rolling in the right direction. In the second game of the tournament the Ruffnecks fell 6-4 to a worthy opponent in a hard fought contest. The catching duo of Logan Katz and Andrew Plante played well the entire week, managing a pitching staff that also battled every game. Outstanding outings by Alistair Cooper, Angus McKenna, Leo Sacerdote, Sam Carbeau, Kaden McNeice,and Matthew Howell gave the Ruffnecks a chance each and every game. Up and down the lineup hitters contributed along with solid defense. The infield of Grady Walsh, Devin Constantino, and Andrew Palmer saw plenty of action. The outfiled was anchored by Nuri Gutman, Albin Valdez, Nick O’Neil, Sam Carbeau, and Matthew Howell. Kaden McNeice, Angus McKenna, and Alistair Cooper split duties at 1B. The 14u Ruffnecks advanced to the semifinals of the event. In a controversial rain-delayed game, the ‘Necks were declared the winner, before being called at the hotel to resume the game 6 hours later. Unfortunately, the outcome was reversed after the resumption of the game. Nonetheless, it was a good, final, event for a successful 14u season.
Both teams capped off the trip with an enjoyable outing at the Cincinnati Reds game on Saturday, July 15th. The parents hosted both teams in the Bally Club with all-you-can-eat accommodations. Thank you to both groups for a wonderful finish to th 2023 season.
Summer travel has taken Ruffnecks teams to competitive events. On July 5th the 15u Ruffnecks traveled to Marietta, Georgia to challenge themselves in the 16u Perfect Game WWBA National Championships. The event is arguably the biggest, most competitive event in the country each summer. Ruffnecks travel is more than just baseball games. It is being together as a team, learning to pace oneself on the road, in hotels, and in the heat. We eat well!
The 15’s struggled in the first two games of the tournament, suffering 10-0 and 6-0 defeats. However, on Saturday, July 8 at the East Cobb Compex, the Ruffnecks turned in a most impressive team performance in a 2-2 tie against the top team in their pool. One can question whether the opponents took us lightly, but the pool was at stake, and a sense of urgency quickly emerged.
Jett Little gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the first inning before settling into a rhythm on the mound. He held the opposing lineup in check for the next four innings with shutout baseball, striking out 8 along the way. Michael Fiengo broke the ice for the Ruffnecks with an RBI Sac Fly in the top of the second inning. From there on it was a competitive, hard fought game. Jackson Fulginite, Braeden Homer, and Garrett Falahee had three hits for the ‘Necks, while Little and reliever Ryan Ruggiero gave up only four hits to one of the top scoring lineups in the event.
The 17u Ruffnecks returned to the Music City Classic in Nashville, Tennessee for the first time since 2019. Nashville has always been a staple in the Ruffnecks schedules for all teams. It was nice to be back. The Ruffnecks started well at Lipscomb University behind a masterful pitching effort delivered by Connor Fennell. The 8-0 win was a tidy, well rounded game, with timely hitting and defense supporting good starting pitching. Daniel Sullivan contributed a home run. The Ruffnecks stumbled over the next three games dropping a 6-5 rain-shortened decision in a game where Nick Andersen homered. Brady Lane delivered a valiant effort on the mound. Inconsistent starting pitching plagued the Ruffnecks for the next two games, and the team endured three consecutive losses. The bounced back at Vanderbilt University with an impressive 8-3 win with James Henshon on the mound.
Returning home, the “Senior” Ruffnecks found success again at the Boston Open. They raced out to a three straight wins in Pool Play before falling 3-2 in the playoffs on a walk-off home run in another rain-shortened game.
Competitive play has begun for the three oldest Ruffnecks teams. The 15u (2026’s), 16u (2025’s), and the 17u Seniors (2024’s) all rolled into competitive play following Scout Day. The 15’s began at home in a rain shortened Perfect Game event June 16-18. They split the two games they were able to play. The 16’s and 17’s spent the time between Scout Day and the end of the Division I “Dead Period” in team hitting sessions at the Facility and in spirited, on-field practices. Then they headed to New Jersey for the start of summer tournament play.
On Monday, June 19th the 16u and 17u Ruffnecks traveled to Diamond Nation in Flemington, New Jersey for the highly scouted Super17. The event is an annual kick off tournament for college recruiters in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. It is also an opportunity for our oldest two Ruffnecks teams to begin to play together, get pitchers measured outings, and for the coaching staff to work out lineups. As usual, we live together as a team. Team bonds begin to form.
The 17u (2024’s) established themselves as one of the top teams at the Super17. The squad played solid defense all week with effective pitching. Wednesday, June 21 saw the Ruffnecks play their best game against a strong opponent. Pitchers John Hegarty, Connor Fennell, and Devin Hunt combined in a 3-0 shutout. Solid infield defense from Nolan Colby, Isaac Lamson, and James Henshon provided those hurlers with confidence to attack hitters. Max Dushney caught well and threw out a runner. The Senior Ruffnecks went 4-0 in New Jersey, finishing among the top three teams in the event while attracting the attention of many college recruiters.
The 16u (2025’s) also played well as they competed in the same event. While they went 2-2 on the week, they were a whisker away from 3-1 as one of their games ended in a walk off home run for the opponent. Brendan Norton impressed on the mound as did Jeremy Krendel, Lorcan Lee, and Jett Little. The infield defense of Drew Reagan, Matt Silk, and Tommy Hennessey were solid. The catching duo of Matt Ulicny and Will Allan were very good. And the outfield, while thin, was impressive with Bryce Larco and Sean Watts as the anchors.
Both teams returned home to compete in the 17u Perfect Game WWBA New England Championships. The 17’s head to Nashville, June 27 for the Music City Classic while the 15u and 16u Ruffnecks remain in the region for the Firecracker Classic June 30 through July 4.
Week of Oct. 2 to Oct 9
Tuesday, Oct. 3
Open Hitting at Facility
2:00pm to Close
Wednesday, Oct. 4
Open Hitting at Facility
2:00pm to Close
Thursday, Oct. 5
Open Hitting at Facility
2:00pm to Close
Friday, Oct. 6
Open Hitting at Facility
2:00pm to Close
Weekend of Oct. 7 to Oct 9
Long Holiday Weekend
No Fall Baseball
Facility will be Open