Maynard Tompkins A Team Makes TOC

Published in the August 13, 2008 issue of The Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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The end of the season for Maynard's Lou Tompkins A Division baseball team was reminiscent of a classic line from Bull Durham: Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.

The 15- and 16-year-olds won five games in a row to qualify for last week's Tournament of Champions, lost their first TOC game that Tuesday, then saw three straight days of thunderstorms wash away their playoff aspirations.

Although the TOC is typically organized in a double-elimination format, the weather forced league officials to essentially switch to single-elimination, leaving the Maynard team (which included nine players from Stow) out of the running.

As disappointing as the premature ending to the season was, the players didn't go home empty-handed. Their eleventh-hour winning streak qualified them not only for the TOC but also for the league's second Trophy Weekend, held August 2nd and 3rd in Belmont. The Maynard nine lost the weekend final to Sudbury by the score of 10-2, but a 5-2 victory over Parkway the previous afternoon earned all of the players silver trophies for their efforts.

“I'm proud of all of them,” said first-year manager Paul Cacciatore of Stow. “I love coaching these kids.”

The two other Lou Tompkins teams from Maynard, in the senior and B divisions, also qualified for the trophy weekend, but each lost its opening game. Neither qualified for the TOC.

Three members of the Maynard A division team, all from Stow, will play in the league's All Star game this weekend: catcher/outfielder Jeff Pieper, first baseman Bryan Dragonetti, and pitcher/shortstop Chris Cacciatore.

In the win over Parkway, Pieper and Cacciatore teamed up for 2 runs allowed in five innings, before Joe Flynn of Maynard came on to close out the game. Cacciatore also contributed on offense, with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. Dragonetti added 2 RBI of his own, and right fielder Joe McGillicuddy of Stow also had an RBI. Pieper drove in both of the Maynard runs against a motivated Sudbury squad that went on to win the gold trophy that weekend. In the TOC matchup against Acton, third baseman Tom Oliver of Stow led the offensive effort, scoring both Maynard runs in the late innings.

Other Stow athletes contributing over the course of the season included outfielder Matt Morrison, pitcher/outfielder Luke Cressman, and pitcher/outfielder Connor Wyand.

Many of the players had played together on the Nashoba Regional junior varsity baseball team, giving Paul Cacciatore some idea heading into the season of what his team might be able to achieve.

“I really believed that they were going to go where they went, which was the Tournament of Champions,” he said. “I knew they were good players. I knew we had a good team, and I expected them to go this far.”

Along the way, however, there were times when Cacciatore was less concerned with his players' abilities than with how many of them showed up to play. Vacations—the bane of many a summer-league coach's existence—had the team scrambling to field the required nine players for some games, making its impressive stretch run that much more improbable.

“There were some games when I was driving to the game thinking, how are we going to win with these players? But they all came through,” Cacciatore said. “That's what made it so special, winning all those games without some of our best players.”

Ultimately, the final victory in the TOC went to Sudbury—a bittersweet moment for a team that had dedicated its season to the memory of one of its best players. Tyler Cyr, the team's all-star catcher in 2007, died in February from complications related to treatment for leukemia. June 11 would have been his 16th birthday.

Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239