Norfolk Little League Team Wins Friendship League Championship

Grace Allen
Front row:  Coach Nick Napoli, Jake Armour, Ben Bostrom,  Conor Alvezi, Ryan Marrone, Ben Hogan, Luke Napoli, Jack Dugas, and Head Coach Mike Armour. Back row:  Coach Mike Rose, Coach Steve Alvezi, Rocco Ruggiero, Connor LeFleur, Paxton Rose, Will Wainwright, Reece Feyler, and Coach Brent Wainwright.
Issue Date: 
September, 2018
Article Body: 

For the first time ever, a Little League team from Norfolk has won summer baseball’s Friendship League. Dubbed the “Hoosiers game” by the league president, small-town teams Norfolk and Holbrook/Avon faced off for the title on August 5, where Norfolk held on for a 4-1 victory under the lights.
According to head coach Mike Armour the team went 19-2 over the summer, going 7-1 during the regular season and winning two other tournaments before rolling into the Friendship League playoffs.
Friendship League rules prohibit the boys from pitching more than two innings, so pitching depth is important and factors into game strategy. In the championship game, Will Wainwright and Ryan Marrone each pitched two scoreless innings. Finally, in the bottom of the 4th inning, Ben Bostrom broke a scoreless tie with a 2-run single. Now with the lead, Luke Napoli came into close the deal. With Napoli on the mound for the final two innings and Norfolk’s bats able to tag on two more runs, Norfolk held on for a 4-1 victory.
Armour said Norfolk has never won its own division in the Friendship League. It usually goes to bigger towns, so the win was especially sweet for the boys.
“For a group of 8-year-old boys, it was pretty awesome,” said Armour. “It’s just been a really special summer. I think it’s something they will always remember.”
The Friendship League began in 1991 with two teams each from Braintree American and Braintree National (now East Braintree). In 2000, the league split into 2 divisions because it had grown so much. At one time, the league had 72 teams.
This year 58 teams participated in the Friendship League in 8 separate divisions, with 4 of the divisions competing in the Braintree League and the other 4 competing in the Foxboro League. Norfolk, the top seed in their division during the regular season, downed second-seeded Easton in a playoff to win their division. They then dispatched division-winner Raynham to reach the Foxboro League championship. In that game they took down undefeated Needham to become the Foxboro League champions, setting up a date with the Braintree League champion Holbrook/Avon for the Friendship Cup.
“We played a ton of baseball this summer,” said Armour, noting the team won the Foxboro Father’s Day tournament and the KP Summer Classic, too. Support and dedication from parents was important to the team’s success, he added.
“It was a tribute to the boys and the families making sacrifices, cutting vacations short---sometimes right in the middle—to make a long trip back just for a game,” he said. “The kids, as much as the parents, took a lot of pride in this team and we’re just really proud for Norfolk. This is something they’re all really going to treasure.”