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Legion Baseball, the pride of Milford once again


Growing up, there was always something about going to a legion baseball game at Fino Field. It seemed like the whole town would show up to crowd the bleachers with everyone in his or her designated spot. The younger kids would sit behind the plate, the parents behind the first-base dugout, and the "old timers" down the right field line where they could second-guess every umpire's call and coach's decision.
Over the years, Fino Field grew a legend in its own right. From the vast expanse of the outfield and the dim lighting to the quality of the teams that took the field every summer in the blue and gold, Fino has always been a tough place to play.
The field has new lights and the crowds don't seem as big as they used to be, but the 2013 Milford squad gave fans a taste of the old days, adding another title to a program that has seen more success than any other in the state.
Post 59 finished the year 32-5, capturing the Zone 4 title, the sectional crown, and the intrastate championship under manager Brian Macchi.
This team featured a great mix of pitching depth and lineup depth and a combination of players from several area schools. The starting pitching was led by Milford residents JJ Branch, Mike Tracy, and Dan Avery, the latter of whom attended Blackstone Valley Tech. Bellingham's Kevin Martinis and David Sampson also provided valuable innings, with Sampson earning a role as the team's closer. Martinis pitched in several games during the intrastate tournament and drove in the winning runs in the championship game to earn tournament MVP honors.
All season long, Nipmuc's Scott Hubener helped set the table for a powerful heart of the order that included Hopedale's Dan Mantoni and Ian Strom and Milford High grad Matt Ferrelli.
Milford will need to reload a bit next season with seven players having run out of legion eligibility. Ferrelli, Strom, Branch, and Hubener are gone next year along with Blackstone-Millville catcher Nick Crivello, Nipmuc catcher and infielder Joe Cortese and Milford outfielder Mike Tarolli.
But in winning another title in 2013, Milford has added to a legion program so steeped in tradition that it's already being exaggerated. A member of the tournament committee said Milford had won it's 20th state championship when presenting the trophy to Post 59, a number that then reported in a number of media outlets. A quick check of the American Legion Web site shows the actual number of championships to be 10 since the first year a champion was recorded in 1926.
Ten state championships won in seven different decades is more than any other program can lay claim to, however, and the 2013 team should be proud to etch its name and secure its place in a long and storied Post 59 history.




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