Red Sox, Cubs win Little League openers

Jake Howell (fourth from left) is mobbed by his Red Sox teammates after crushing a home run in the third inning against the Tigers. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The official opening day for Martha’s Vineyard Little League baseball is Saturday, May 3, but the 2014 schedule got underway Monday at Veira Park with a rematch between last year’s finalists, the Red Sox and Tigers.

The Tigers roared first, but the defending champion Sox got the win by a 13-3 count.

Richie Barlett swatted a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Tigers an early lead. The Red Sox answered with four in the bottom half, thanks to Finn Lewis, who stroked a bases-loaded, two-out single.

Barlett doubled in the third to score another Tigers run, but the Sox had taken control of the game with nine in the second. Joe Serpa doubled, Jacob Maccaferri tripled, and Jake Howell crushed a monster home run.

Nick Cranston of the Sox pitched a scoreless fourth inning in his Major League debut. Kenny Hatt also made his pitching debut for the Tigers and helped his cause with a double to left.

Tuesday afternoon at a frigid Veira, the Cubs beat the Pirates, 7-4. Summer Cardoza was the hero for the Cubbies, blasting a grand slam in the top of the fifth, after pitching the first three innings, allowing one base runner and striking out six. Andrew Marchand and Pete Gillis added two hits apiece.

For the Bucs, starting pitcher Harold Lawry threw three scoreless innings with seven K’s. He also carried a big stick, ripping three hits.

Both sets of teams will meet again on Saturday.