By Pete Legasey
For the Transcript
The 2009 season has reached its halfway point for Winthrop Little League (WLL) A Division. Eight teams composed of nearly 100 players between ages 10 and 12 have played 13 of 17 scheduled games, and the first half has been lively, fun and competitive.
The A’s, who are coached by Division A Commissioner Phil Todisco, are currently running away with the best regular season record with just one loss on the season. For much of the season, the Astros, who are coached by Winthrop Parks and Recreation Commissioner Sean Driscoll, were nipping at the heels of the A’s. But the Astros have lost some tight games in recent weeks and have since been overtaken by the Red Sox for the second place spot.
Most of the A Division teams have played close to .500 throughout the first half, and they are running out of games to catch up with the Athletics. However, as any baseball observer will tell you, regular season records mean nothing when the playoffs arrive.
“It’s been very competitive,” said Todisco. “It used to be that kids would stay on the same team as they grew up. For the last couple of years, the teams have all started over with new players every year. Since that happened, it’s been pretty even. Last year, everybody was right around .500.”
There are three brand new A Division coaches this year, while most of the others have been coaching Winthrop Little League for several years. Mike Miller is the new coach of the Mets, while Chris Sullivan is enjoying his inaugural season as coach of the Cardinals, and Sean O’Connell has made his A Division coaching debut for the Red Sox. In addition to Driscoll and Todisco, the league boasts veteran coaches in Pat Feeley (the Indians), Joe Scokzylas (the Phillies) and Jimmy Barker (the Angels).
The three first-year coaches are not the only thing that’s new about WLL A-Ball this year.
For the first time in recent history, the A Field across from Winthrop High has featured a powered scoreboard, and local kids have gotten the chance to announce batters and pitching changes on the public address system.
The regular season will run through the second week of June, and the playoffs will begin immediately thereafter with all but the bottom two teams qualifying for postseason play and a shot at the town championship.