By Nick Curcuru
---- — MANCHESTER— The Manchester Essex Williamsport Little League All Star team left no doubts as to what team is the top dog in Pool Three in District 15 Williamsport Tournament.
With a 16-0 win over Gloucester National Friday at Sweeney Park, Manchester Essex completed a clean sweep of the pool finishing with a 3-0 record and outscoring teams by a score of 42-15. Only Middleton gave Manchester Essex a game dropping a close 12-11 decision.
Manchester Essex and Middleton will be moving on to the double-elimination round playoff round from Pool Three. The playoffs could begin as early as today. Gloucester National is eliminated from tournament play finishing up at 0-3.
“We have been playing well in all areas,” Manchester Essex manager Mike Athanas said. “This is a talented team and all of these kids have been putting in the hard work.”
Manchester Essex showed off its dominance early plating 16 runs in just three innings.
The victors essentially put the game out of reach in the first taking advantage of three walks and getting a three run home run from Will Janowicz to take a 4-0 lead after the first. Manchester Essex went right back to work in the second plating seven more runs on a RBI single from Harry Painter, a two RBI single from Ryan O’Connell and a three run homer from Ben Lantz to make it 11-0 after two.
Manchester Essex wasn’t done there either as jack Julian led off the third with a solo shot to make it 12-0. O’Connell blasted a three run homer of his own to make it 15-0 and Janowicz followed with his second homer of the game to make it 16-0. Manchester Essex would shut the door in the top of the fourth inning thwarting Gloucester National’s biggest threat of the day with two men on base to clinch the mercy rule victory.
It wasn’t just the offense that was working for Manchester Essex. The team made just one error in the field while pitchers Mike Carroll, Janowicz and Luke Leavitt combined to allow just one hit through four innings while all three through few enough pitches to be available for Manchester Essex’s next game.
Gloucester National’s Lucas Melanson got his teams only hit of the night ripping a ground rule double down the left field line in the fourth inning. Shortsop Derek Hopkins also made a couple nice plays in the field, including a nice back hand stop in the hole between shortstop and third base.
With the win Manchester Essex now turns its attention to the playoffs, where it will have all of its pitchers available and a hot offense going against the best teams of District 15.
“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing,” Athanas said. “It’s all about pitching and making the plays your supposed to make on defense, we have been doing that lately. There’s a lot of good teams out there still and we are going to have to continue to work hard and bring our best effort.”