Monday, November 23, 2015

Ronald Henry Giovannacci - Topsfield Tories

TOPSFIELD- Mr. Ronald Henry Giovannacci 82 of Topsfield, Retired Chief of the Town of Topsfield Fire Department, beloved husband of the late Shirley Ann (Burkinshaw) Giovannacci, died Friday, September 25th, 2015 at his home surrounded by his family.

Born in Beverly, he was the son of the late Henry and Blanche Marie (Coullard) Giovannacci. He was raised and educated in the Town of Topsfield and was a graduate of Topsfield High School, class of 1950. He continued his education attending North Shore Community College studying Fire Science.

Chief Giovannacci began his professional career with Wood Engineering of Topsfield. He constructed and built fire apparatuses for many years in the Town of Topsfield. He then became the Superintendent of the Topsfield Fair Grounds, a position he held for several years.

Throughout his adult life, Chief Giovannacci was involved in Fire Safety for the Town of Topsfield. He held every position in the Department over the course of his career. He began as a call fire fighter in 1955 and was promoted to Call Chief in 1982. He was appointed the Town of Topsfield's first full time Fire Chief in 1985 holding that position until the time of his retirement in 1997. He dedicated his life to protecting and aiding the residents of his beloved Topsfield. Throughout his years of service Chief Giovannacci always placed the lives of the residents of Topsfield and his brother fire fighters above all else.

Chief was a Past President and member of the Essex County Fire Chiefs Association, the Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Association and the International Fire Chiefs Association.
A lifelong, 3rd generation resident of the Town of Topsfield, Ron was a well-known and acclaimed athlete in his younger years. He was a Hall of Fame and All Star baseball player in the Inter Town Twilight League for many years. He even garnered interest from several major league ball clubs. 

He was a member of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Topsfield and truly loved his community. He had a passion for animals especially his beloved dogs and horses. Yet above all else family was paramount. He truly enjoyed spending his time with his son and daughter and was very proud of their accomplishments.

Ronald is survived by his son, Topsfield Fire Chief Ronald P. Giovannacci and his wife Susan of Topsfield, his daughter, Linda M. Statkus and her husband Michael of Hollis, N.H., his five grandchildren, Ashley, Kelsey, David, Jessica and Kristen, his sisters, Rita Englert of Florida and Lauris "Lolly" Giovannacci of Maryland and several nieces and nephews. He was the grandfather of the late Kaitlyn Giovannacci and brother of the late David P. Giovannacci.

ARRANGEMENTS: His funeral will be held from the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home 167 Maple St., (Rte 62) Danvers, Monday, Sept 28th at 9:30 A.M. followed by his funeral Mass in St. Rose of Lima Church, Park St., Topsfield, at 10:30 A.M. Relatives and friends invited. Burial in Pine Grove Cemetery, Topsfield. Visiting hours Sunday, Sept 27th from 4 to 8 P.M. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Chief Giovannacci's memory to the Topsfield Firefighters Relief Association, 27 High St., Topsfield, MA 01983. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Elbridge Gilford

ITL Hall of Famer / Topsfield Tory Elbridge Gilford has passed away.

TOPSFIELD- Mr. Elbridge H. "Gilly" Gilford III, 95, of Topsfield died Friday, November, 20th, 2015 at Beverly Hospital surrounded by his loving family.

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, he was the son of William H. and Minnie S. (Currier) and the beloved husband for 62 years of the late Iva Grace (Taylor) Gilford. He had two brothers, William and Ernest, and a sister, Bernice. In 1928, his father traded their Nebraska home for a Studebaker and they made their way back to their native New England.

After graduating from Topsfield High School, Elbridge enlisted in the US National Guard in 1941, and later the Army of the US Air Corp where he earned the rank of Corporal. He worked as a radio operator and installer around the world. An honorably discharged veteran, Mr. Gilford proudly served his country during World War II.

In 1946 after his discharge, he returned to Topsfield and founded Gil's Grocery, a landmark that still exists today. Gilly went to the store daily for lunch and visits with friends and neighbors, including the day of his death.

A longtime resident of the Town of Topsfield, Mr. Gilford was an active member of the community serving as Town Selectman and as a member of the American Legion Post # 255 of Topsfield. He was the Grand Marshal of the Memorial Day Parade and, for many years, the catcher/first baseman of the Topsfield Tories, later serving as coach for several more years. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Inter-Town Twilight League. Gilly loved baseball.

A well-known and generous man, Mr. Gilford believed in serving his country as well as his community; he was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, who will be truly missed by his family and the many friends whose lives he touched over the years. A friendly smile and greeting was always the first thing anyone received upon entering Gilly's, his store, a legacy which he and Grace have passed down to their children. He will be remembered for his dedication to his country and family, his athletic talents and his kind and compassionate nature.

Elbridge is survived by his two daughters, Marsha Robinson and her husband John of Portsmouth NH and Polly Croteau of Topsfield, his son, Jim Gilford and his wife Martha of Topsfield, his three granddaughters, Jennifer, Heather and Emma, his three great-grandchildren, Hannah, Scott and William, and several nieces and nephews.

ARRANGEMENTS: His Funeral Service will be held in the Congregational Church of Topsfield, East Common St., Topsfield, Wednesday, Nov. 25th at 3 P.M. Relatives and friends invited. Following the service all are invited to a collation in the Emerson Center, 9 East Common St., (Directly across the Town Common) Topsfield. Visiting hours in the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St., (rte. 62) Danvers, Tuesday, Nov. 24th from 4 to 7 P.M.. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Legion Post # 255, P.O Box 243, Topsfield, MA 01983 or to the Topsfield Athletic Association 76 Wenham Rd., Topsfield, MA 01983. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit

Monday, August 17, 2015


For the Mariners, Mike Cain was the unquestionable offensive MVP of the playoffs. Cain batted .615 with 3 HRs and 11 RBIs in 6 playoff games.

From the news


By Nick Curcuru Sports Editor | Posted: Sunday, August 16, 2015 6:45 pm


 ROWLEY — Rowley knew it needed to be better than Manchester Essex’s Rusty Tucker in Saturday’s Intertown Twilight League playoffs if the Rams were going to force a fifth and final game in the championship series.
Unfortunately for coach Jeff Wood’s club, it doesn’t get better than perfect. 
Tucker retired every batter he faced and the Mariners walked away with a 6-0 win and the ITL crown in a game that was cut short due to heavy rain, thunder and lightning. Manchester Essex secured its fourth straight league championship and seventh in eight years.
“Obviously we didn’t get a lot going off of him (Tucker), but you still would like to finish the game and see where things would have shaken out,” said Wood. “But it wasn’t in the cards weather-wise. If this rain comes half an hour earlier, the game’s not official and we have to play it again. It’s just the way things worked out.”
Saturday’s win gave the Mariners their fourth consecutive league championship and the seventh in eight years.. 
“It’s awesome. We try hard all year and to put it together and win the title is a lot of fun,” Mariners manager Ryan Marques said.
The Rams actually hit Tucker pretty well in a loss in game two in which the team was able to score three runs. But Saturday was a different story as Tucker got the better of all 15 batters he faced, including nine strikeouts. His best inning was his last, as Tucker whiffed all three Rams’ hitters in the bottom of the fifth as the rain started to fall.
“He came ready to play,” Marques said of Tucker. “He did a tremendous job. Rusty came with that attitude that no one was beating him today.”
Rowley starter Tim Moore held the Mariners scoreless for the first two innings, but the visitors broke things open in the top of the third inning thanks to the big bat of Mike Cain, who launched a three-run homer over the left field fence. Later in the inning, Sam Schautt knocked in Tucker with a two-out RBI single up the middle to make it 4-0 Manchester Essex.
Cain’s power put the Mariners in the lead and then his selflessness added to the cushion. 
In the top of the fourth inning, Cain laid down an RBI sacrifice bunt to put the visitors ahead 5-0 before Alex Ray’s RBI single in the top of the fifth made it 6-0.
“He’s huge for us,” Marques said of Cain. “He’s a team leader, he hits home runs and he came up huge for us there.” 
The Rams, meanwhile, never got their offense going, as Tucker dominated from start to finish. 
“He (Tucker) throws strikes and he throws hard. You have to keep getting your swings at him,” said Wood. “There were a lot of solid at-bats today where it’s hard to tell from the spectator’s point of view, but as a coach watching the guys had a lot of foul balls straight back. They were right on it, but squaring them up is another deal all together. The timing was there; we just had trouble squaring it up.”
Wood remained positive about the season overall as the Rams put together a very strong summer despite being a little short on arms due to a pair of costly pitching injuries.
“We came into this year wanting to play championship baseball and we did that. The fact of the matter is from about the Fourth of July until now we had Tim Moore, Joe White, Joe Martin and Jeff Moore on the pitching staff and that’s thin,” said Wood. “Those four guys really just did everything we asked to get us to this point. At the end of the day that’s a lot to ask of four guys.
“I thought the season — I would deem it a success. We played it and we were competitive, but things just didn’t fall our way.”

Crunch Time

Posted: Sunday, August 16, 2015 9:00 pm

Crunch Time

Mariners Tidbits
The Manchester Essex Mariner’s 2015 Intertown Twilight Baseball League title was truly historic as the Mariners continue to re-write the league record books.
The longest running amateur baseball league in the United States, the ITL has been around since 1929 and with Saturday’s win over the Rowley Rams, the Mariners become the first team in league history to win seven championships in eight seasons according to the league’s website.
The Mariners also become the first team since the Rockport Townies from 1983-86 to win four straight ITL titles and the third team in league history to win four straight championship. The Topsfield Torries won four straight ITL crowns from 1976-79.
The 2015 championship is the third straight championship series where the Mariners topped Rowley. In 2011 it was the Rams that stopped the Mariners first attempt at a four-peat besting them in the semifinals en route to the championship.
Over the last 18 seasons only two non Cape Ann teams have won the ITL. The Rowley Rams won the title in 2011 and the Ipswich Chiefs in 2003. Since the 1998 seasons, the Mariners have won 10 ITL championships and the Rockport Townies have won six.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mariners 6 Rams 0

Rusty Tucker threw 5 perfect innings and Mike Cain had a homer and 4 RBIs as the Mariners won their 4th consecutive championship and 7th in 8 years. More details to follow...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Rams 4 Mariners 1

Staying Alive: Rowley shuts down Mariners in Game 3 win

By Nick Curcuru Sports Editor | Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2015 8:37 pm
Joe White made sure that his Rowley Rams lived to fight another day in the Intertown Twilight Baseball League Finals.
The Rams south paw allowed just three hits and one run in a complete game effort in Wednesday’s Game 3 leading Rowley to a 4-1 win over the Manchester Essex Mariners. With the win the Rams have successfully fought off elimination. The three time defending ITL champion Mariners lead the series 2-1 and Game 4 will be played on Saturday at Eiras Park in Rowley (4 p.m.).
If Rowley is again victorious on Saturday, a winner-take-all Game 5 will be on Sunday back at Memorial Field (4 p.m.).
“Joe has been our ace all season and tonight he did what he usually does,” Rowley manager Jeff Wood said. “He is inside and outside, he kept them off balance all night and he was almost always ahead in the count. We had the mind set that we just need to win tonight. Now we are back at home in Game 4 and hopefully we can even the series.”
The Mariners were uncharacteristically sluggish in Wednesday’s loss. The team committed three errors in the field and all of them led to Rowley runs and struggled at the plate against White putting just two runners in scoring position over the first six innings.
“It just wasn’t one of our best games, hitting, pitching and in the field” Mariners starting pitcher and manager Ryan Marques said. “We have to put this one behind us and focus on Saturday. We will need to put in one more good performance to win this series.”
Rowley took the lead in the top of the second inning plating a pair of runs on a Cam D’Agostino single to center after loading the bases with nobody out in the frame. 
In the third the Rams scored again as Colin Sitarz hustled down the first base line to prevent a double-play and score Jordon Silva from third to make it 3-0.
The Mariners threatened in the third with two on and one out, but the Rams were able to get out of the frame with a slick 5-4-3 double play started by third baseman Silva, who snared a hard chopper off the bat of Bryan Lafata to turn two.
White took over from there. The south paw had just one strikeout on the night but perfect defense behind him kept the Mariners off the board.
D’Agostino, the lone player with more than one hit on the night, would deliver his third RBI of the night in the sixth doubling in Colton Fontaine to give the Rams a 4-0 lead heading into the final inning of play.
“We’re an athletic team and we like to put pressure on the defense,” Wood said. “(The Mariners) don’t make many mistakes but we were there to take advantage of those mistakes tonight. We are always happy any time we can get a win here, especially over one of the premier pitchers in the league.”
Peter Clark spoiled White’s shut out with a solo shot to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning, but that’s all that the Mariners would get as Rowley stayed alive in the series with the victory.
Both teams are now looking forward to Game 4, as the Mariners can clinch a fourth straight title with one more win.
“We didn’t play our best tonight but we will be ready on Saturday,” Marques said. “Rowley is a tough team to finish off and we just need to focus on winning Game 4.”
The Rams, on the other hand, are looking to erase an 0-2 deficit the same way the Mariners did in 2014.
“This win gives us a lot of confidence moving forward,” Wood said. “We are going back home and we won’t be focusing on anything but Saturday’s game.”

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mariners 4 Rams 3

By Dan Harrison Staff Writer | Posted: Monday, August 10, 2015 12:00 am
ROWLEY—Rusty Tucker seems to have the Rowley Rams’ number.
The consensus best pitcher in the Intertown Twilight League was on the bump in game two of the championship series against Rowley last night and the lefthanded power pitcher went the distance as Manchester Essex topped the Rams 4-3. 
The Mariners now hold a 2-0 lead over Rowley and can clinch a fourth straight ITL title with one more win. The best-of-five series continues Wednesday at Memorial Field in Essex (5:45 p.m.). Manchester Essex picked up a 9-3 win over Rowley in Saturday’s Game 1 in Essex.
“Rusty is the best in the league. It’s really not that close. He got paid to pitch for a long time and he’s down here now doing a great job,” said Rowley manager Jeff Wood. “It seems like we always come up a run short against him. That’s why he is who he is. He’s the best in the league.”
Tucker pitched in the Padres, White Sox, Red Sox and Brewers organizations picking up over 100 career saves as a pro. In 2011, he moved back to Gloucester and now he’s the ace of the Mariners staff. The Rams put together some really good at-bats against Tucker last night but in the big spots late in the game Tucker came through for the visitors.
After Peter Clark’s two-out single in the top of the seventh gave the Mariners a 4-3 lead, Rowley leadoff hitter Anthony Conte laid a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. He then stole second and advanced to third on a errant throw giving the Rams a chance to tie with two outs but Tucker blew a fastball past Rams three-hitter Jordan Silva to end the game. Tucker had six strikeouts in the final three innings.
“Rusty dug down deep and came through in the end. It was a great game,” said Mariners manager Ryan Marques. “He’s a really good pitcher. He brings the heat and he really stepped up in the end. He made some really big pitches at the end of the game there.”
Manchester opened the game by plating a pair of runs in the first inning as the Mariners were able to jump on a few of Rams starter Tim Moore’s pitches for some extra base hits. Max Nesbit and Mike Cain belted back-to-back RBI doubles deep to left center and just like that the visitors led 2-0.
Moore settled in nicely from there and the Rams responded in the bottom half of the second inning when Justin Bolla led off with a line single and Colin Sitarz followed with a walk. Both guys advanced on a sacrifice grounder by Newburyport native Colton Fontaine and then catcher Mark Berkland ripped a two RBI single up the middle to tie the game.
“We went down two early and you never want to do that facing a guy like Rusty, but we came right back,” said Wood. “I thought we played a good baseball game sometimes you can play well and lose.”
Rowley actually took a lead in the bottomn of the third as Colby Ingraham belted a single and then advanced to third base on an errant pick-off attempt. Bolla came to the plate and launched a RBI double to put Rowley ahead 3-2.
But in the top of the fifth, Cole Josselyn hit a grounder to third that took a really tough hop for a Rowley error. Josselyn would score the game-tying run on a RBI single by Cain setting the stage for Clark’s big, opposite field RBI single. 
“It was a great game. It was a classic game with these guys where it’s always down to the wire. It’s always really high intensity,” said Marques. “Peter Clark had a great hit with the bases loaded and two outs in a big situation. He waited for his pitch and he shot it to right field and got us the run we needed.”
Moore, who doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, really competed for the hosts using his off-speed stuff nicely. He has a slow, sweeping curve ball that he throws consistently and, with the execption of a few hits, the Mariners had trouble squaring it up.
“Timmy was fantastic. To be honest, it was a tough umpire for Timmy. The guy was not calling curve balls for strikes and Timmy throws a lot of curve balls,” said Wood. “It seemed like he was working against the tide the whole way but Timmy has no quit in him. When he takes the ball I know he’s going to go and go and go and give it everything he’s got. Never at any point did I consider taking him out of that game and never at any point did he look over at me like he wanted out.”
The Rams will look to right the ship on the road Wednesday as the team will need to win three straight if it’s going to take the ITL title. Last year, Rowley was up 2-0 in the finals and couldn’t close it out so Wood knows a comeback is definitely possible.
“We just have to play a game that’s all. You can’t play three games at once. You can only play one,” said Wood. “We’ll have to go Wednesday, play our game, try to scratch that one out and figure it out from there.”
Conte had a very strong game at shortstop for the Rams highlighted by top of the second where he recorded all three outs on a line drive, a grounder and a pop up to shallow left. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mariners 9 Rams 3

The Mariners take game 1, 9 to 3. Rory Gentile picks up the win and Mike Cain went deep.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Oscar Clark Wright, 59

Oscar Clark Wright, 59

LAWRENCE: Oscar Clark Wright, 59, of Lawrence, died Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at Lawrence General Hospital. Oscar was born in Vallejo, Calif., November 23, 1955 to the late Oscar Clark and Doretha (Camper) WrightHe worked for the City of Nashua, N.H. for eight years and prior to that worked ten years for the MWRA in Boston as a Water Treatment Operator. Oscar was a member of Greater Lawrence Baseball Umpire Association (GLBUA) and the Massachusetts Umpire Baseball Association (MUBA). He was an avid sports enthusiast and umpired over 1,000 games, including games at Cooperstown Dreams Park in Cooperstown, N.Y. Oscar was a graduate of Vallejo High School in California and received an Associate degree from Napa Valley Community College, Calif. He attended San Jose State University where he met his future wife. His greatest joy was being a proud and dedicated husband and father. Oscar lived life to the fullest and will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Oscar is survived by his loving wife of 31 years, Mary (Sybert) Wright of Lawrence; daughters, Kelsey S. Wright and Jillian A. Wright of Lawrence; son, Stephen C. Wright and his wife, Claire-Lise (Augustin) of North Andover; brothers, Andre Wright and his wife, Gerri of Sacramento, Calif., Donald Wright of Sacramento, Michael Wright of Sacramento and Sydney Wright of Los Angeles; and one sister, Margo (Wright) Pierre of Anchorage, Alaska. He is survived by brothers-in-law, Norman Sybert and his wife, Karen of Lowell, Daniel Sybert of Methuen; sisters-in-law, Elizabeth D’Entremont of North Andover and Martha Sybert of Lawrence. He was predeceased by brothers-in-law Paul Sybert and Thomas Sybert. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews. Family and friends are invited to calling hours on Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Conte Funeral Home, 17 Third St., North Andover. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday at 11 a.m. in St. Patrick’s Parish, Lawrence. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to American Heart Association, or South Lawrence West Little League. To leave online condolences, please visit

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Rowley - 5, Rockport - 0

MBUA Umpire Oscar Wright Passed Away

Oscar Wright, one of the most well known umpires around has passed away.  The ITL has great memories of Oscar and we send our thoughts to his family at this time.  Truly one-of-a-kind, he will be missed around the diamonds of the ITL.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rockport 8 Rowley 7

Rockport ties the series.  There will be a deciding game 3 on Thursday night in Rowley.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Rowley 4 - Rockport 2

Mariners 5 Beverly 4

The Manchester/Essex Mariners advanced to the ITL Finals after outlasting the Beverly Giants on Monday, squeaking out a 5-4 win in Beverly.

Beverly jumped ahead 1 to 0 in the bottom of the first on a single by Brian Chirco.

The Mariners answered back in the 2nd on a RBI sac fly by Alex Ray.

Beverly took a 3 to 1 lead in the 3rd on a 2-out two run double by Luke McDonald.

In the bottom of the 5th Beverly scored another run on an error to increase their lead to 4-1.

Manchester/Essex rallied to score 3 runs in the top of the 6th on four walks and a clutch 2 run single by Cole Josselyn.

With the game tied 4 to 4 in the top of the 7th, the Mariners finally managed to grab the lead. A suicide squeeze by Rory Gentile scored Alex Ray to put the Mariners up 5 to 4.

Mike Gibbon shut the door in the 7th by striking out the side and earning the save.

Field Change

The Beverly / Manchester game will be played at 5:45PM at Cooney Field tonight.