2001-09-01 / Sports

Little League All Stars Bring Home The Flag

Little League All Stars Bring Home The Flag

By Tom Boggiano

The Rockaway Little League 9-10 year old traveling all-star team rolled through the District 27 baseball tournament last month finishing with a 5-0 record and capturing the coveted district flag. Rockaway has now captured the flag the last 2 out of 3 seasons and finally has some memorabilia to cover the clubhouse walls replacing those autographed portraits of Marty Andresen. The tournament pits all stars from each Little League within the Queens district against each other. The winner takes home the flag and represents the district in the sectional tournament that includes the winners of all the districts in NYC and Westchester County.

This year’s all-star team was made up of a virtual who’s who of the Rockaway Little League. The members included (in alphabetical order): Matt Alessi, John Ameruso, Tommy Boggiano, Vinny Boland, Sean Boyle, Pat Brown, Kenny Fiorintino, Matt Knott, Mike Knott, Eric Maxfield, Tommy McElhatton, Danny Munday, Matt Perrone and Eddie Re. This group of youngsters showed an outstanding commitment to the game with hard work during practice (even though Matt Perrone always wore his Chinese pajamas and Tommy Boggiano and Sean Boyle continually asked him for an order of spare ribs to go) and a keen desire to win with all games being called after 4 innings with Rockaway ahead by 10 or more runs.

The contribution made by the entire team was the reason for its success but there were some notable highlights that should be pointed out. Pitching always wins games and the pitching crew assembled on this team was up to the task. Vinny Boland, Danny Munday and Tommy McElhatton were the pitching aces of this team with Danny winning 2 games and Tommy and Vinny each winning 1. The complement to great pitching is solid fundamental defense and when this team was asked to make the plays it responded.

The defense was anchored by Mike Knott at catcher, Pat Brown at Shortstop and Sean Boyle, Matt Perrone, Kenny Fiorintino and Eddie Re in the outfield. Offensively, these all stars put the pedal to the metal in all of the games averaging 15 runs per game.

There were some key at bats that were put in by John Ameruso, Matt Alessi and Eric Maxfield that set the stage for the big guns of Matt Knott who routinely hit them over the outfielders head and Tommy Boggiano who in 2 games knocked in 12 runs. The road to the state finals unfortunately came to an end when these kids ran into the Rolando Paulino 9-10 year old all-stars, whose 1st baseman was 6’1’’ 185 lbs. and handled 1st base with more agility than Tino Martinez. That coupled with the numerous curve balls thrown by the 10-year-old pitcher was more than the kids could handle this year.

This talented team then went over to Staten Island to compete in the New Springville Little League tournament against some of the city’s best in the 9-10 year old division. The tournament of 10 teams was narrowed down to 2 finalists, Rockaway and the South Shore Little League (who consistently produce top rated teams in Little League play). The road to the title turned out to be a 3 game series with Rockaway winning the 1st in 7 innings, South Shore winning the 2nd in 9 innings and South Shore prevailing in the final game. This gained Rockaway a 2nd place finish but they gain an enormous amount of respect from the baseball community.

Special thanks are given to Tom Boland for all the hours and invaluable advice. Thanks also to Richie Knott and John Brown for their help.

The performance of this team and the major league division all-star team strengthens Rockaway’s position as contenders in citywide baseball. However, the success of these teams and the personal experiences of the youths, coaches and parents would not be possible without the countless hours of volunteer coaching that goes on throughout the league for the entire spring and most of the summer.

Hats off to all of you that give your time to coach and teach the kids the game of baseball and hopefully some valuable life experiences.

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