Ravens capture 14U invite crown
Host team goes 5-0 to win tournament
The New England Ravens 14 and under AAU baseball team capped off its invitational tournament with a 7-4 victory over the Cape Cod Thunder in Sunday’s championship game at Franklin Pierce University.
The Ravens were a perfect 3-0 in pool play and used an extra-inning win over the BC Predators in the semifinals earlier on Sunday to advance to the title contest.
The inaugural NE Ravens Invitation Bash included 11 teams in the 14 and under bracket and nine for the 13 and under category. The Ravens 13 and under team also played over the weekend and finished 3-0 in pool play before a loss in the semifinal round on Sunday.
The 14U Ravens pulled out a 4-2 win over the Thunder in the tournament opener on Friday night before a pair of wins on Saturday. They outlasted the NH Grizzlies 8-4 in the first game and then cruised to a 14-1 victory over the NH Bobcats Blue team.
“If we stay true to form and do what we need to do, we are hard to beat,” said Ravens 14U coach Jim Coppo. “We do things that you don’t see 13-14 year old baseball players do.”
Since the NH Firebirds were also 3-0 in pool play, a tiebreaker was used to determine the top seed for the semifinals round. With the Firebirds only allowing five runs and the Ravens letting up seven, the Ravens had to settle for the No. 2 position.
The back-and-forth semifinal contest featured six lead changes and went into the ninth before the Ravens walked off with the win. It was 2-2 after the fourth and then the Predators scored for three runs to take a 5-2 lead. But it was short lived as the Ravens scored six times in the last of the frame to grab a three-run advantage. Tyler Coppo doubled and scored on Dupuis’ second home run of the game, while Danny Allen tripled and came around on Chance Kirby’s double.
“That was a huge inning for us,” said Coppo.
In the sixth, the Predators added four runs to its total to retake the lead only to have the Ravens storm back with one in the last of the frame. From there, it was tied at nine until the ninth.
After keeping the Predators off the scoreboard, the Ravens finally pushed across the game-winner. John Grossi earned a one-out walk, as did Tyler Coppo. And Kyle Dupuis’ grounder to the right side forced a throw past second that scored the go ahead run.
“Every player on this team contributes in some form,” said Coppo. “It’s not just one or two guys on this team.”
The Ravens once again had to rally from a deficit in the title game, as the Thunder took a 4-0 lead in the third.
Three runs in the fourth pulled the Ravens to within one and another in the fifth tied the score at four. And in the sixth, three more for the Ravens gave them the lead for good.
Dupuis picked up the win in relief, while Drew Marro and J.P. Record each went 3-for-4 at the plate in the championship game.
The win put the 14U Ravens at 38-3 overall entering this weekend’s New England AAU tournament. The Ravens will host one of the four, four-team pools at Franklin Pierce University. The four pool winners then advance to the Final Four tournament July 12-14. The Ravens were 11-1 in 14U Open Division play and the top team in Division III.
“It’s not a fluke that we’re 38-3,” said Coppo. “It’s about the style of ball we play. We put an enormous amount of pressure on our opponents.”
The 13U Ravens opened the weekend with a 13-3 victory over the Worcester Warriors on Friday. On Saturday, they defeated the Central Mass. Wolfpack 8-4 and the Granite State Storm 3-2 to earn the No. 2 seed in Sunday’s semifinals before being eliminated.
A total of 43 games were played at four locations over the weekend.