Page 14 THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – FriDAy, JUnE 7, 2024 Saugus native Mike Vecchione almost halfway home to another Calder Cup championship with the Hershey Bears By Joe McConnell T he Hershey Bears were by far once again the best regular season team in the entire American Hockey League (AHL) this year with a 53-14-5 record for 111 points. Their success has continued on in the playoff s with an 8-1 record. The Bears are currently 2-0 in the Eastern Conference fi - nals against the Cleveland Monsters. The fi rst two games ended in overtime triumphs. They won the fi rst game, 5-4 on May 30. It was the organization’s fi rst-ever playoff victory over the Monsters. Last Saturday night (June 1), they made it two in a row, a 3-2 victory. Saugus native Mike Vecchione netted the Game 1 OT clincher. In nine playoff games, Vecchione has two goals and two assists. The Bears opened up the playoff s against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the Atlantic Division semifi nal round, winning that series three games to one. They then swept the Hartford Wolf Pack in the divisional fi nals three games to none, which advanced Vecchione’s Bears to the above-mentioned conference fi nals against Cleveland. Again, after winning the fi rst two games at home, the conference finals resumed New St. Anthony’s Flea Market 250 Revere St., Revere, Lower Hall Indoor Flea Market Saturday, June 8, 2024 from 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM Admission .50 Cents * Free with Ad Lot’s of New Vendors! New Vendors Welcome! For info, call Lynda: (781) 910-8615 ANNOUNCEMENT Saugus native Mike Vecchione of the AHL’s Hershey Bears is shown celebrating his overtime goal with a teammate during the fi rst game of the Eastern Conference fi nals against the Cleveland Monsters on May 30. The Bears won the game, 5-4. The defending Calder Cup champs also won game two in overtime, 3-2 last Saturday night. (Courtesy photo / American Hockey League) this week in Cleveland on June 4 and 6 after press deadline. Game 5, if necessary, is slated for Saturday night (June 8) in Cleveland once again, starting at 7 p.m. Games 6 and 7 are tentatively scheduled for Monday (June 10) and Wednesday (June 12) back in Hershey, Pa., also beginning at 7 p.m., again if necessary. Saugus falls short on a walk off in softball tourney By Dom Nicastro Heartbreaker. That’s how Saugus High School softball coach Steve Almquist described the season-ending 7-6 loss to Oakmont Regional on the road in the opening round of the Division 3 state tournament. Indeed, when the opponent wins on a two-out, walk-off hit, it cuts to the core. That’s what happened to the Sachems, who ended the season 10-11. “This was a heartbreaker as REVERE AMERICAN LEGION POST #61 Is reopening soon! We are happy to announce that we have begun taking reservations for our function hall at 249 Broadway, Revere for events after May 20, 2024 For information, please call 781-284-9511 Leave your name and telephone number. we lost in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out walk-off single with the score tied at six,” Almquist said. “Despite the loss, I was extremely proud of how the kids played. We were a bit undermanned in this game as several players were missing. However, I cannot express enough how impressed I was with some of our younger players who stepped up in such a pressure-packed situation. Two of those players were the sister duo of Hannah (a junior) and Alannah Duong (an eighth-grader), who rose to the challenge to fill a void at third base, as well as eighth-graders Angelina Dow and Julia Strout, who were called into action as pinch runners in crucial situations. All performed exceptionally.” Things didn’t start out well for Saugus in this one as they fell behind early when Oakmont plated three runs in the bottom of the second inning, courtesy of a few infi eld miscues. The score remained that way until the top of the fi fth when the Sachem bats came alive, scoring four times to give them a 4-3 lead. Key hits in this inning came from senior Felicia Alexander, who delivered a two-run single, and junior Danica Schena, who ripped a two-run double. Schena and Millerick led the way with two hits and two RBIs apiece. Unfortunately, this lead didn’t last long as in the bottom of the frame, Saugus gave three of those runs right back. “We fell victim again to some shoddy infi eld defense as what should have been a 1-2-3 inning turned into a big inning for Oakmont, which saw them score three unearned runs,” Almquist said. Saugus battled back and tied the game in the top of the sixth on a clutch two-out, two-run single by senior Devany Millerick. However, it just wasn’t meant to be, as in the bottom of the seventh Oakmont’s No. 2 hitter delivered a huge two-out double to keep the inning alive. “At this point, it became a matter of picking your poison as their two best hitters were due up, so I elected to intentionally walk their No. 3 hitter to try and take a little pressure off the infi eld by keeping a force play intact,” Almquist said. “Unfortunately, the move didn’t quite work out as I had hoped, as their cleanup hitter launched a rockSOFTBALL | SEE PAGE 22

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