Daly-Demarco Sweeps In
By Joe McGivney
The Daly-DeMarco Dodgers won the championship of the Rockaway Beach Little League, Junior Division, with a two game sweep of Harbor Optics. Dominating pitching performances by Kelinton Tejada and Pat Miley, combined with solid defense, and timely hitting led the Dodgers to the crown.
In game one, Kelinton overpowered the Harbor Optic hitters with his hard fastball and deceptive change-up. But it was the bats of the Dodgers that put the game away early jumping out to a 10-2 lead after only two innings. Brian Elphant wrapped three hits, and John Corning cleared the bases twice with clutch bases loaded doubles.
In game two the proud Harbor Optics squad refused to quit. After falling behind 4-1 in the first inning, it would have been easy for them to lose confidence. But they didn’t finish the season with the best record this year, including two wins over the Dodgers, for nothing. They kept the pressure on Dodger starting pitcher Pat Miley with a run in the first, the second, and two in the third to pull within 4-3. The Dodgers defense came up big when it had to, with solid play in center by Kelinton, at second by Albin and Benny DeLeon, at first by Mike Dunne and Mike Sica, and behind the plate by John Corning. But the biggest rally killer was the pitching of Pat, who struck out 11, including striking out the sides in the second and fourth with two on and none out in each inning. The Dodgers added four more runs in the sixth to give themselves the cushion they needed to hold on. The game ended when catcher John Corning threw out a base runner trying to steal second with two outs, and the Dodgers were champions.
"I couldn’t have been prouder of this team," coach John Sica said after the game. They worked hard all year, came to practice, wanted to learn and improve. Benjamin DeLeon was a work horse all year. He carried the team on his back all season, pitching as much as he could for us, and was rested in case of a game three. Vinny Conti and Sean Cotter really improved their outfielding, and along with Willie Schnipper came through for us with big at bats when we needed them.," Sica continued. "Vladimir Francois and Gregory Perdriel were strong wherever I put them defensively and showed power at the plate. Albin and Benny DeLeon have great skills, and are still young players. And John Corning and Spensor Daly are the best three-four-hitter threat I’ve ever coached. My only regret is that Victor Navarro, and Brian Elphant weren’t here to share in the last victory after all they contributed all season."
"The parents support and the great coaching of Mark Schippner and Ben DeLeon made my job easy, and made for a memorable season.," an emotional Sica concluded, who has led a team to a championship for the first time in eleven years of managing.