Triple D’s Thrive Under Playoff Pressure
Four times during the regular season, the Great Scott ball club of Brighton faced the Triple D’s of Jamaica Plain and all four times, Great Scott came out on top en route to a stunning 24-4 record, one of the most impressive in the Park League’s 51-year history.
How, then, does one explain the Triple D’s four games to one triumph in the championship series?
“I have to say it’s a case of constant hustle and determination paying off,” said Triple D’s co-coach Leo Casey. “These kids believe in themselves and they simply never let up. Talent-wise, being completely objective, I’d have to admit we appeared to be outmatched, except possibly in the pitching department. But, in three of our four wins, we beat them at their own game – power. Great Scott is a tremendous hitting team. Any one of their regulars is capable of hitting one out of the park. They didn’t choke or anything like that, but all but one of the five games were free- hitting games and somehow we managed to stay with them and make the most of our opportunities.”
The Jamaica Plain team is possibly the youngest ever to win a Senior Park League championship. According to Casey, nobody on the club is more than 23 years old. This was only the second season for the team in the top league. The Triple D’s won the Twilight League in 1979 and last year moved up to the Park League. But, unlike most new entries, they did not find the competition too fast for them.
“At the very outset, you knew this team was for real,” said John Kelliher, veteran general manager of the Mass. Envelope entry. “They run in and off the field, talk it up on the field and on the bench, go for the extra base and never dog it when they fall behind. They were an asset to the league from the day they came into it.”
The Triple D’s surprised a lot of people by making the playoffs in their first season, surprised a lot more by sweeping through the semifinals, then battled the veteran Mahoney Club down to the wire before losing the seventh game.
“When we made the playoffs this year, the kids said, This is it. We’re not going to blow this chance,’ “said Jim Sullivan, the Triple D’s other co- coach.
Yale righthander Mark Michaelowski came through with the outstanding pitching performance of the final series, edging Great Scott ace Steve Simms, 3-2, in the only pitching duel of the series. Michaelowski also was the winning pitcher in the 8-7 series opener. A year ago, Michaelowski pitched a no-hitter against Mahoney in the final series.
Leo Casey, who was the club’s ace a year ago with a 10-1 regular- season record but lost a pair of heartbreakers to Mahoney in the finals, had the satisfaction of preserving this season’s clincher with 3 1/3 innings of two- hit relief ball. It was 4-3 game when he took over, but he did his share to make it a 14-3 walkaway by contributing two triples and a single. Casey hits so well that he plays centerfield when he isn’t pitching. One night earlier,Casey drove in all three runs in the 3-2 win.
Also in the good pitch, good hit category is Billy O’Leary, a Boston Latin and Northeastern product. O’Leary was a consistent winner during the season and played second base when he wasn’t pitching.
Leo Casey says that big catcher Dan Henry typifies the attitude of the ball club. The Charlestown athlete suffered a hairline fracture of his thumb a week ago but was in there catching in the playoffs, hitting the long ball as usual. Earlier in the season, he broke a toe in a freak accident but didn’t miss a game.
Two newcomers this season providing added punch were Tufts’ Artie Georgio, who played first base and batted over .400, and slick- fielding shortstop Danny O’Connor.
Both Sullivan and Casey are veteran teacher-coaches. Sullivan teaches at the Nathan Hale School in Roxbury and has been a CYO coach for more than a decade, and Casey coaches JV baseball at Boston Latin.
The Three D’s are sponsored by Jamaica Plain restauranteurs Joe Devlin, EdDevlin and Tom DeCourcey.
Copyright © 1981 Boston Globe, all rights reserved. Written by Art Ballou.
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