, Newburyport, MA

July 18, 2013

Triton Babe Ruth team perfect heading into state tournament

By Dan Guttenplan
Sports Editor

---- — Paul McIsaac claims wins and losses are secondary to the Triton Vikings (B1) Intertown Babe Ruth 13- and 14-year-olds, but you’d never know it from the team’s record.

The Vikings concluded their Intertown season with a championship Sunday, giving the squad a 23-0 record after the two-game sweep against Seabrook. Triton will now advance to the Babe Ruth state tournament in Springfield, which begins tomorrow and concludes Saturday. Triton is one of only eight teams that earned an invitation to the state tournament.

“It’s a great group of kids; they love the game,” said McIsaac, who served as an assistant under Neal Lojek. “That’s been our focus with this team — ensuring they learn the game and have passion. These are kids who have been playing together for years. They’re humble kids who love playing baseball. In an era when not a lot of kids play baseball, it’s been exciting to watch.”

McIsaac coached several of the same players to a 15-0 record last season in the Byfield/Newbury Little League. That team won summer tournaments hosted by the Pioneer League and West Newbury Little League.

“The core of this team returned from that team,” McIsaac said. “I was relegated to bench coach this season because of some other obligations.”

Lojek and his twin sons, Cole and Ross, were scheduled to miss Sunday’s championship game due to a previously planned vacation in Maine. The Lojeks arrived at the field unexpectedly during warmups, providing the team with an emotional lift.

“When you schedule your vacation back in January, you don’t anticipate playing in a championship game on the day after you’re scheduled to leave,” Lojek said. “We met my wife and daughter in Maine on Sunday.”

“We had the best games of the season this past weekend against Seabrook,” McIsaac said. “Both teams played great defense. It’s a lot of fun to watch 13- and 14-year-olds go out and have a great time making great plays. They pitched well and hit well. That’s the reward of coaching, not wins and losses.”

Former Pentucket baseball coach Roger Roy also served as an assistant coach for the team. Lojek credited his fellow coaches — Roy, McIsaac and Dave Weeks — for getting their message through to the players.

“The kids were very coachable, and we had great coaching,” Lojek said. “I don’t necessarily mean myself. It was a talented group of kids and a very cooperative group of coaches. The coaches went over some of the finer points of baseball, and it gave us a competitive advantage. Once in a great while, it all comes together. This is one of those seasons.”