Ferraro helps Danvers National move on in District 15 all-star play

·3 min read

Jul. 6—DANVERS — It may not have been the perfect performance, but the Danvers National Little League all-stars did more than enough to get the job done in their final game of pool play against crosstown rival Danvers American Tuesday night.

The Nats jumped out to a quick two-run lead, got a pair of insurance runs later on the contest, and hung on for a 4-2 triumph in District 15 action at Tapley Field.

Nick Ferraro was excellent in three innings of relief work on the mound, striking out five while allowing just one hit and a walk. He effectively shut the door on a Danvers American team to officially eliminate them from moving on to the next round.

"We were going to go with a little bit of a (pitching) committee tonight, but Nick came in and was just dominant," said Nationals manager Mike Hanlon, his team finishing 4-0 in pool play to move on to the double elimination round, which begins Saturday at Harry Ball Field in Beverly.

"The first inning he pitched so strong and it was like, 'If we take him out, we don't know what we're going to get from anybody else right now. So if he's dealing, let's leave him in and let him keep going'. and he did awesome; he shut the door down."

Ferraro overpowered a slew of American hitters, starting with a trio of strikeouts in the bottom of the fourth. The only hit he surrendered came courtesy of Blake Wilichoski in the fifth, and he eventually finished things off in the sixth with a pair of Ks and a ground out.

Offensively, the Nats grabbed a two-run advantage in the top of the first thanks to a bases loaded walk from Oliver Roy and an RBI groundout by Leland Pegan. Pegan got the start on the mound as well for the winners, going three strong innings.

"We've been the away team I think every game so far, and I told these guys, 'Listen, if you're the home team and the visitors put up runs on you in the first inning, it gets in your head'," said coach Hanlon. "It kind of demoralizes you a little bit. So you need to be that team that's doing that to the other team. You guys know what it feels like; you don't like that feeling, so do it to these guys and put the runs on the board quick'."

Danvers American tied it up in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly from Connor Dembowski that scored Wilichoski, followed by a solo homer to deep center from Mason Blanchette. But the Nats ultimately got the game-winning run on a Brayden Lawrence single in the third off of Blanchette that scored Chace Hanlon (2 hits, 2 runs).

National added an insurance run in the fifth when Hayden Vogel used a sacrifice groundout to score Lawrence.

The Americans got a solid pitching performance from starter Blanchette, who threw 91 pitches in six-plus innings before Wilichoski relieved him for a one-pitch out to end the frame.

Danvers National heads into the District finals undefeated, but Hanlon says his team needs to be sharper as the competition ramps up.

"We left too many guys on base; we need to bring those guys in," he said. "Those runs are big especially when we move on to the next round. So next round we need clutch hits from everybody."

Danvers American will have one more game vs. Middleton in Amesbury on Thursday (5:30 p.m.).

Contact Nick Giannino at NGiannino@Salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickGiannino_SN.

Contact Nick Giannino at NGiannino@Salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickGiannino_SN.