Play Ball!

Cam Napior of the Cubs throws the first pitch of the new Little League season toward Pirates batter Nate Story and battery mate Liam Marek. — Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Little League season got underway on Monday at Penn Field in Oak Bluffs featuring a rematch between last year’s finalists, the defending champion Cubs and the runner-up Pirates.

The Cubbies picked up where they left off, blanking the Bucs 3-0. Cam Napior threw a 75-pitch complete game shutout, scattering two hits, striking out eight and walking none. The Cubs right-hander also carried a big bat with two singles and a double and flashed the glove on defense by snagging two comebackers in the sixth inning to close out the win. Cubs first baseman Ashley Brasefield had the game’s other web gem in the top of the fifth, when she snared a hot grounder off the first base line and beat the Pirates runner to the bag.

The game was scoreless after two innings. Liam Marek got the Cubs going in the third with a single to right. Cam Napior followed up with a double and Latham Higgins hit an RBI infield single to score Liam.

The Cubs added some insurance in the fifth. With one out, Cam Napior singled up the middle and promptly stole second. Latham Higgins hit a two-out double to right-center to score Cam and Volkert Kleeman poked the ball to shallow right, scoring Latham to make it 3-0.

Two Pirates reached base in the game. Starting pitcher Tobey Roberts singled in the fourth inning and reliever Nate Story ripped a double to deep center field in the sixth.

Tobey threw two complete innings and allowed one hit, with five K’s and two walks. Nate pitched the rest of the way, giving up five hits, striking out five, and walking none.

The official Little League opening day is on Saturday. The festivities begin at 9:30 am with the annual parade down Circuit Avenue, followed by team and player introductions at 10:30 and a full slate of games at Penn Field beginning at noon.