The Athletics claimed a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Reds to clinch the 2020 Everett Little League Minor League championship Monday night at Sacramone Park.
Jovens Jean pitched three strong innings in the deciding game of the series before ace right-hander Nick Young closed the door with three scoreless innings. Young completed an outstanding season in which he emerged as the league’s top pitcher.
Mike Walsh pitched an excellent game for the Reds, who had handed the Athletics their only loss of the regular season.
Mateus Bueno was the batting star for the A’s with two singles and three RBIs. Bueno delivered the tie-breaking RBI single in the fourth inning to bring home Jovens Jean who had walked and stolen second and third.
“It was a team effort but those three players (Jean, Young, and Bueno) had great nights,” said Lombardo. “It took good at-bats from everybody.”
Lombardo said the coaching staff made a crucial decision to hold out Nick Young for the relief pitching role in Game 3.
“A lot of that decision was based on Game 1 when we started Nick and the Reds won it in the end,” said Lombardo. “The game plan was to use Nick in the later half so we could secure those outs and it ended up working out.”
Coach Brian Lombardo singled out the outstanding play of 9-year-old Salvy Vittoria, who was the dependable starting catcher for the Athletics all season.
“Salvy pitched for the first time all year in Game 2 of the finals when our backs were to the wall and he pitched five innings of great baseball,” said Lombardo. “He also had a couple of RBIs. He played the game of the season and that’s what got us to this point.”
Lombardo, who is a graduate of Everett Little League and was coached by his father, Tony, said it was a memorable first season as a Minor League coach.
“I started coaching in the Farm League with my sister [Kayla] who is now getting her doctorate in Physical Therapy at Simmons University], so then I moved up to the Minors,” said the 23-year-old Lombardo, a 2015 graduate and three-sport athlete at Everett High School. “My coaches growing up were always there for practice and they were great teachers, so once I knew my playing days were over after high school, I wanted to give back to the same game I love and stay in the community that I live in.”
Lombardo added, “I’m just really glad that these kids got to have a regular baseball season in a year where nothing was certain [due to the coronavirus]. There’s a lot of great people involved in Everett Little League – it takes a whole lot of people to have a regular season like this. I’m very grateful to everyone who is involved.”