WATERVILLE — The final game of the Cal Ripken World Series will be a rematch of one of the tournament’s first.

On Day 1 of the tournament, Weymouth, Massachusetts, defeated Andy Valley 2-1 in one of the World Series’ tightest games. Those two teams will meet again for the biggest prize of all after earning wins Friday in their respective semifinal matchups. Weymouth beat Ararat 1-0, while Andy Valley beat South Bend 7-2.

Ararat and Weymouth had been among the premier squads in a tournament that’s been defined by parity. With the two teams facing each other in the first of two semifinal games, it was the arm and bat of Weymouth’s Tommy Byrne that made the difference.

Byrne pitched a gem of a game and delivered what would be the winning hit to lead Weymouth past Ararat in in the first of the day’s two contests at Purnell Wrigley Field. The Massachusetts ace threw just 61 pitches in a complete-game one-hitter to lift his team to a spot in Saturday’s championship game.

“I don’t think you can ask anything more from a kid that age,” said Weymouth co-manager Shaun Walsh. “To average 10 pitches an inning against an inning against an absolutely outstanding lineup is just incredible. He really did it all.”

After Ararat went down in order in the top of the first inning, Weymouth threatened in the bottom half as it loaded the bases with one out. But Ararat kept the Massachusetts side off the board with a pair of big defensive plays with Brady Hiltz tagging out Eric Murray at home following a wild pitch and Riley Coombs snagging a would-be base hit out of the air.


The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third when Byrne doubled home Luke Freeman to give Weymouth a 1-0 lead. Byrne remained perfect until Ararat’s Emma Graffam reached on an error in the top of the fifth, but he would respond with three straight outs to put his team on the brink of victory.

Weymouth baserunner Luke Freeman scores the only run of the game as Ararat catcher Zaden Steele covers the plate during a 12U Cal Ripken World Series semifinal game Friday at Purnell Wrigley Field in Waterville. Weymouth prevailed 1-0 to advance to the final. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Ararat would spoil the no-hit bid and move within 120 feet of the tying run when Hiltz doubled to the wall with two outs in the sixth. Byrne, though, then forced a soft grounder to third base that Dylan Fiori-Hess fielded clearly and threw to first for the final out of the game.

“I didn’t get too nervous (after that hit),” said Byrne, who struck out seven batters. “I was completely fine. I knew it was about time and that I just needed one more out.”

Timothy Mycroft had two singles for Weymouth, which also got singles from Freeman, Murray, Cameron McFarland and James Mills in addition to Byrne’s double. Hiltz struck out four batters in five innings of work for Ararat.

Both teams had finished pool play 4-1 with Weymouth winning the National division and Ararat coming in second in the American. Weymouth received a bye as a result of its first-place finish, while Ararat had reached the semifinals with an 8-3 victory over Green County, Kentucky, in Thursday’s quarterfinal play-in.

Weymouth pitcher Tommy Byrnes celebrates after pitching a complete game against Ararat during a 12U Cal Ripken World Series semifinal game Friday at Purnell Wrigley Field in Waterville. Weymouth prevailed 1-0 to advance to the final. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

For Ararat, it was the second of back-to-back years with deep playoff runs. It reached the quarterfinals in last year’s World Series in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, before making it back with a roster that included just two of those players, Hiltz and Daniel Beal.


“These kids have been resilient, and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Ararat co-manager Rob Beal. “We’re third or fourth in the country, and that’s a lot to be proud of. We were a base hit away, but their pitcher threw one heck of a game. I’d bet he threw first-pitch strikes 85 percent of the time.”

Andy Valley then provided the majority of the day’s offense in the second game as it exhibited power at the plate and took advantage of several defensive miscues from South Bend. Slugger Jacoby Boyce belted a three-run homer for Andy Valley, which led the rest of the way to give South Bend its first loss of the tournament.

After both teams went down in order in the first inning, South Bend loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the second. Yet Andy Valley’s Tucker Hilden responded by earning back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat and keep the game scoreless through two.

With two runners of its own on base in the top of the third, Andy Valley took advantage as Boyce blasted a towering home run to left-center field to put the Oxford Hills-based team up 3-0. South Bend, though, fought back in the bottom half of the frame as four base hits pulled the Indiana squad back within a run.

Andy Valley once again found itself in an opportunistic position in the top of the fifth when a slip-up in the outfield turned what should have been a fly-ball out into a leadoff triple. It was the first in what was a tough defensive series for South Bend, and Andy Valley took advantage as it added four runs in the frame.

Andy Valley’s Jacoby Boyce (12) hits a three run home run off Eastside pitcher, Dylan Jankowski for a 3-0 lead Friday at Purnell Wrigley Field in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Hilden and Rowen Pulkkinen split duties on the mound for Andy Valley with the former starting the game and the latter coming on in relief with one out in the bottom of the third. Pulkkinen then escaped a jam and allowed just one hit the rest of the way before exiting with one out to go in the seventh.

“He’s a quiet kid, but he goes out there and gets it done every single time,” said Andy Valley co-manager Joe Trybus. “We don’t even give him a heads-up; he just comes in and gets the job done. He pounds the zone and hits the spots, and his arm and Jacoby’s home run gave us the lift we needed today.”

Andy Valley and Weymouth will be back at Little Wrigley for the championship game at 1 p.m. on Saturday. After the first matchup ended with little separating the two teams, Walsh is expecting nothing different in the finale of a competition that’s seen a clash of giants at the top.

“I think it’s going to be a great matchup between two great teams,” Trybus said. “Who knew that the first game of the tournament was going to be a repeat of the final one? We’re looking forward to it.”

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