Martha’s Vineyard little leaguers celebrate new season

Graham Lewis, 12 from Vineyard Haven makes contact for the Red Sox in their season opener against the Cardinals, shortly after the opening ceremonies at Veira Park. — Photo by Ezra Newick

The annual Martha’s Vineyard Little League parade in Oak Bluffs is a sure sign of Vineyard spring.

Saturday morning, 325 players, sporting the uniforms from 26 teams in t-ball, farm league, majors, and minors, marched from the Steamship Authority terminal, up Circuit Avenue and on to Veira Park to celebrate the start of the new season.

Players from the respective teams lined the freshly groomed diamond and spread around the outfield for the opening ceremony and singing of the national anthem.

Next, a busy day of baseball commenced, with all 26 teams playing across the Island at five venues.

The major leaguers played out a triple-header at Veira Park.

The Red Sox kicked off Opening Day Saturday with a 4-3 win over the Cardinals to improve to 2-0 on the season. Jake Howell and Jeremy Regan combined on a 3-hitter. The Sox duo grounded the Cards, who had jumped out to a three-run first inning lead, capped by Augie Pizzano’s opposite field RBI single.

The Sox battled back to take the lead in the fifth. Keith Chatinover led the Sox offense on the day with two hits off of veteran hurler Nick Bishoff.

In the second contest, the Pirates played with a “We Are Family” era swagger and marched their way to a 13-2 victory over the scuffling Tigers.

Curtis Fournier keyed the Bucs attack with a two-run blast over the centerfield fence, bookended by a pair of singles, for six RBI’s. Cris Vought scored four runs. Grant Pertile doubled and tripled.

Jack Sierputoski earned his second victory on the mound, limiting the Tigers to single runs in the 1st and 3rd. Hunter Cleary batted in Mitchell Chaves on both occasions.

In the Veira finale, the Cubs blanked the A’s 11-0 behind Aiden Aliberti’s five inning complete game no-hitter.

After A’s leadoff hitter Ben Peters reached on an error he was thrown out at the plate on a 6-3-2 double play. From there, the Cubs hurler took matters into his own hands by striking out 12 consecutive batters. The Cubbies backed Aliberti’s gem with sharp team defense and a balanced attack. Eight different players scored and combined for 12 stolen bases. Lucas DeBettencourt singled twice as the Cubs broke the game open with five runs in the third and fifth innings.

The Cubs also beat the A’s 7-6 Friday in a rescheduled game from April 24.

In Saturday’s minor league action, the Rays earned a split of their series with the Reds with a 9-4 victory Saturday at Manter Field. Chesca Potter collected two hits, Leo Neville had a triple and Keaton Aliberti blasted his second home run in two games to pace the Rays. On the mound, Neville tossed three scoreless innings, striking out 6 and Aliberti closed with 5 strikeouts in two innings. Kenny Hatt kept the Reds close early, striking out 5 Rays.

In the late contest at Manter’s, Henry Warner hit a late home run as the Marlins tied the Twins, 11-11.

At Nunes Field in Edgartown, the resilient Rockies overcame a 9-2 deficit to tie the Orioles, 11-11.

The Rockies’ Micah Vought scored three times and Tripp Hopkins scored twice.

For the O’s, pitcher Nate Packer threw three solid innings as the Birds built an early seven run lead. Eli Gundersen scored twice and Aiden Rogers crushed a three-run homer to deep right.