The following was submitted to Stoughton Patch:
in Canton recently brought five teams down to Flemington, NJ to compete against the top programs in the Northeast at Diamond Nation over Memorial Day weekend. AAU directors in the area told them they will be lucky to win a game, being a new program, playing at that level of ball.
Not only did the program compete at the 10-12- and 13-year-old level, the 10-year-old team—coached by the Stoughton trio of Shawn Croke, Dave Joyce and Don Connors (owner) and John Joyce from Dorchester—reached the finals against the House team, Diamond Nations, Diamond Jacks.
Dirt Dawg 10-year-olds battled top talent from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut, they competed against 85- to 95-degree heat and they fought against preconceived notions that they could not compete at this level, finishing second overall at the tournament.
A solid team of local talent, made up of players from Stoughton (Michael Croke, Evan Gibb, Connor Tracy, Cam Dirosa, Colin Joyce); Needham (Aiden McGaugh); Sharon (Justin Brown, Ethan Skelly); North Attleboro (James Genest); Dorchester (Matt and John Joyce); and Braintree (Cam Partosan) played some of their best baseball of the season.
They ended up the No. 5 seed after going 2-1 in pool play.
The Dawgs put up 13 runs, winning 13-4, putting up a 17-hit attack in game one with everyone reaching base against the Bellport Braves.
Game 2 they ran up against a tough Diamond Jacks team, losing 9-1 facing one of the fastest pitching 10-year-olds the Dawg coaches had seen. This did not stop James Genest who collected two solid hits.
The loss was followed by a big 4-0 win against the Blackstone Spinners with key hits coming from John and Matt Joyce along with the Sharon connection of Ethan Skelly and Justin Brown.
Playoffs began with an 8-0 slaughter of the Bellport Braves with a 9-hit attack in a four-inning affair led by Aiden McGaugh, John Joyce, Evan Gibb, Colin Joyce and James Genest.
Game 2 of the playoffs might have been the best game played the whole weekend at the tourney with the Dawgs coming out on top 1-0, with a 10-strikeout performance by Evan Gibb. The Dawgs pushed across James Genest in the second inning and escaped in the last inning leaving runners on second and third. With 1 out and two on, Evan Gibb shut down the team from Connecticut with 2 strikeouts to end the game. This not only ended the game but ended a 3-0 day for the Dawgs, setting them up for their championship run on Monday.
Memorial Day started with the Dawgs matched against the Lehigh Valley squad out of New Jersey. The Dawgs put up 3 runs early and never looked back, putting up a 5-hit attack in the first inning led by Evan Gibb, James Genest, Aiden McGaugh and the entire Joyce family of Colin, John, and Matt. John Joyce shut the Lehigh squad down scattering 7 hits with the game ending on a diving catch by Evan Gibb at shortstop.
Finals rolled around at 7:15 against a Diamond Jacks squad that had slaughtered everyone they had played against in the tourney thus far. The Dawgs knew they would have a tough game on their hands but they were ready for the challenge.
Matt Joyce took the mound in the championship game and scattered 7 hits in 6 innings, but the Diamond Jacks, winning their 7th straight tourney of the spring proved a little to much for the Dirt Dawgs who fought a gallant battle and was the first team of the weekend to take the Jacks to a complete game loss, 8-1.
Pitching and defense was what kept the team alive through the weekend with the pitching standouts of Evan Gibb, John Joyce, Matt Joyce, Aiden McGaugh and James Genest and a complete team effort on the defensive side with ESPN highlight plays made by everyone on the team.
Kudos to the entire team, parents and program as a whole, battling through the weekend, through the heat, and through the odds that folks thought were stacked against them. GO DAWGS! Be proud of your accomplishments! Not able to make the trip and sorely missed were Eddie Mulligan (Franklin) and George Ganson (Westwood).
Dirt Dawg Sports, a baseball and softball training facility, is located in Canton, just over the Stoughton/Canton line off Route 138.