Martha’s Vineyard Little League All Stars shine at Veira Park

Rays hurler Leo Neville fires to the plate. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Under sunny skies at Veira Park, Martha’s Vineyard Little League celebrated All Star weekend with an opening ceremony honoring Island veterans. Two competitive, well-played games followed, featuring the top players in both Little League divisions.

Veterans Ted Morgan, Gene DeFelice Sr, Woody Williams, David Kann, Edson Rodgers, and Zeke Vought, who served in the military dating back to World War II, threw honorary first pitches. After Mr. Rodgers played a piece on bugle, 50 young ballplayers took to the diamond.

In the Minor League match-up, the National League overturned an early 2-0 deficit and beat the American League, 8-4.

Keaton Aliberti and Mikey Cosgrave scored first inning runs to give the A.L. an early 2-0 lead. The score held until the fourth, when the National League erupted for four runs, keyed by Baylee Francis’s bases-clearing triple.

Hoffie Hearn kept the A.L. in the game with a three-bagger of his own in the fifth, but the deep N.L. pitching staff was able to hold the lead and secure the win. Talon Rusillo chipped in with two hits for the N.L.

In the Major League tilt, the American League held off a late National League rally to win, 4-3. The N.L. had the tying run at third base in the sixth, but A.L. closer Mercer Kelly shut the door.

The A.L. jumped on top, 2-0, when Mitchell Chaves laced a double to open the bottom of the first off Cub ace Aiden Aliberti.

As expected, runs were hard to come by. When A’s slugger Jack Sayre belted a homer in the fourth to put the A.L. up 4-0.

However, Ben Tillman wasn’t going to let the N.L. go down without a fight. The eventual All Star MVP launched a shot to right center for his first career home run to cut the A.L. lead to 4-3.