The Peabody West team for the 2009 World Series stop to wish the 21 State Champions good luck in Bristol
August 9 — It’s been 12 years since Mike Petrosino and the rest of the immortal 2009 Peabody West Little League All-Star baseball team traveled to Williamsport for the World Series. Somehow, his red New England baseball jersey still fits him – and he pulled it out and put it on for a special occasion on Friday night.
Usually, sending a team to Williamsport is a once in a lifetime thing. However, Peabody West has turned out to be no ordinary Little League, and their 2021 Massachusetts State Champions attempt to do so twice in their lives when they start the New England regional game at Bristol, Connecticut Monday.
They are only the third Salem News State Little League Championship team in the past 35 years (all from Peabody West), so few people know exactly what this year’s team felt when ‘they boarded their coach for Bristol on Saturday morning. The 2009 alumni, who held exactly that position a dozen years ago, stopped by Lt. Ross Park on Friday night to meet the boys and offer them their wishes and advice.
“I made sure to let them know that they are proud of what they have done so far and what they will continue to do,” said Matt Hosman, who won the regional Grand Slam of New England in 2009 who sent his team to the World SEries
“I read in the paper that they have a thing of ‘erasing’ it when they make mistakes. I told them I love it; my first three at-bat against Rhode Island I hit before to have a few hits to get us back in. You can’t let the last play, the last pitch or the last inning matter.
Eight of the 12 Peabody Westerns who went to Williamsport in 2009 returned to their old playing fields, with Austin Batchelor, Hosman, Petrosino, David Cravotta, JJ Layton, Nick Bona, Sean McGrath and AJ DiFillipo addressing the team of this year. They mixed together stories from their historic run, memories they made with their best friends along the way, things they saw watching this year’s team that they enjoyed and some fun anecdotes. .
“It was very cool,” said current Peabody West manager Mark Bettencourt. “The kids were very excited, thinking ‘Wow, are these guys coming here? To talk to us?’ Just looking at their faces as they listened was awesome. “
In 2009, Peabody West manager Dave Batchelor told the team to remember that as the Massachusetts State Champions they are able to play with anyone regionally. Play with confidence, he said, and never stop believing in each other.
The elder Batchelor also echoed Bettencourt’s philosophy that all 13 players must contribute to a state championship or a Williamsport race. Every kid on the 2009 squad, whether they started or replaced, made a huge game somewhere along the way, he recalls, so Batchelor and his players reminded today’s kids how important they are, whatever their role.
Cravotta told the kids about a huge hit he got in sections. He reminded them that he wasn’t a starter, that he was a two-innings player, and to hear from him and of Batch that he was just as important as anyone was the perfect message, ”said Bettencourt, who, as a longtime Peabody High coach, gave the Western Champions a keynote speech. encouragement when they left for Bristol in 2009.
The alums, some of whom played for Bettencourt as Tanners, were more than happy to reciprocate.
“It’s amazing the support Peabody West has in general, and it’s a lot of fun watching these kids. My grandpa still goes to a lot of games,” Hosman said. “You can tell they are a hard working team and they are very disciplined. I can’t wait to watch the games and see what they can do there.”
Some former Peabody High baseball players have sent heartfelt messages to this year’s squad, including North Shore Navigators second baseman Jake Gustin, Tanner Moquin, Andrew McLaughlin and Jake Doherty. PHS Hall of Fame member Pete Soteropoulos assisted in the training.
Several of Tanner’s current college football and baseball players came to Ross Park on Friday to offer their own encouragement, as did Mayor Ted Bettencourt (the manager’s cousin).
“This city, since I have lived here, amazes me,” said Mark Bettencourt. “The way we embrace things as a community, whether it’s someone who needs help or the big positive things like this team, Heather MacLean at the Olympics… it makes you so proud to be there. city.
“I got a check from the police to help with the expenses, from my wife’s softball league. People donated food, meals, bus help. They were so generous. It reminds you that there is no place that enjoys its sports like Peabody Does. “
The 2021 Peabody West team, which plays at 7 p.m. Monday night on ESPN’s streaming app, received good luck videos from Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, future Hall of Famer David Ortiz, and a NESN broadcast cry from Tim Wakefield.
This year’s New England Regional is a double-elimination format, with the top two remaining teams heading to Williamsport for the World Series. From their arrival on Saturday, Peabody West will be in Bristol for at least four days and could be up to eight, staying in dorms at Little League’s Giamatti complex.
This is another aspect of regional life that the 2009 team was able to help them prepare for: enjoying activities like table tennis and making friends with children from all over the region.
“We joked that it was a lot of fun back then, how exciting it was to be with other kids and away from home,” Hosman said. even though we weren’t always listening in our time. “