The following is provided and the 16U Lou Tompkins Summer League team, written by Robert P. Connolly:
Having fallen just short a year ago, Brookline’s 16U Lou Tompkins summer league team made it over the hump this year, coming from behind to score a heart-stopping 2-1 win over the South End to claim the Tompkins crown.
Brookline scored a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh--the final inning of regulation--to tie the game, and then scored a two-out run in the bottom of the eighth inning to win the championship and provide a fitting ending to a storybook season.
“That’s par for the course with this team,” said Brookline 16U coach John Bucci. “All season long they have played their best in the late innings and walked away with dramatic wins. But when it happens in the championship game, it’s pretty special.”
This year’s win avenged the loss suffered by last year’s 16U Tompkins team, which made it to the championship game only to lose to the South End 6-2.
Brookline fans wondered if history would repeat itself as their team, despite the strong pitching of Sammy Koenig and Noah Horning, entered the bottom of the seventh trailing its South Endrival.
But this Brookline team, which had come from behind to claim six of its previous 19 wins, struck once more when shortstop Dario Zarrabian singled up the middle, scoring first baseman Tyler Patterson from third base.
An inning later, there was more Brookline magic, when Patterson smashed a line drive to rightfield and infielder Jack Levine took off from second base, sprinting for home. When Levine beat the high throw to the plate, Brookline’s comeback and season were complete.
The win established the 20-4 Brookline team as the best of the 23 eastern Massachusetts teams that competed in the Lou Tompkins 16U division.
“This is one of the most resilient teams I’ve ever coached. As we got deeper into the season, they became more cohesive as a group, and every single player stepped up at one time or another,” said Bucci. “They were able to win the tight games because the players believed that every game was theirs to win. This was an extraordinary season, and the final game was one I’ll never forget.”