2009-09-11 / Sports

Rockaway Cadets Capture 2009 Division Championship

A happy Rockaway Cadets squad celebrate after defeating the Youth Service League and RGMVM to win the division title. A happy Rockaway Cadets squad celebrate after defeating the Youth Service League and RGMVM to win the division title. The Rockaway Cadets baseball team (11-12 years old) entered the playoffs after finishing with an 11-5 record and placing second in the regular season.

The Cadets would face two tough teams in the playoffs - the Youth Service League team and Ridegewood/Glendale/Middle Village. The latter came in as the number one seed at 15-0-1, and were the odds on favorite to win after both teams defeated the Cadets during the season.

For the Cadets to come back and defeat both teams was living proof that a well coached team can come together to achieve the impossible dream. It was very special.

Under the guidance of Coaches Bill Erhard, Richie Savastano and Charlie Meier, the kids came out fighting and won.

The Cadets' first game was a little sloppy, but the last inning was a gem. Down 6-3 in the last inning, Anthony Scotto started the rally with a double to the outfield.

Then the fun began. Charles Gavigan, Kyle Strehle, Brian Ostrander, Jimmy Howard, Bard Featherston, Joe Savastano, George Clark, Garret Murman, Noah Nicholson, Brandon Lazo and Kevin McDonagh all teamed up to help produce four runs to win 7-6. The winning pitcher was Gavigan, who struck out 11 batters and was 1-3 at the plate. Strehle and Matty Erhard each went 2-3 at bat. Erhard had the game-winning single.

The Cadets advanced to the championship game against the undefeated RGMVM. Lazo pitched the game of his life. He not only won the game with his arm, but he also drove in the winning run (2-0).

He allowed only two hits while striking out three. As the saying goes, "You're only as good as your defense." Both coaches have instilled the importance of defense at every practice. It sure paid off.

Strehle and Erhard lead the defense by making major league caliber catches and throws. Strehle scooped up ground balls at second base like a vacuum as he spun and made perfect throws to Featherston at first base.

Erhard made a diving catch in the outfield. Gavigan and Featherston made good plays each at shortstop and first base. McDonagh played a great game behind the plate, stopping and grabbing wild pitches preventing runners at third base from scoring. Congratulations to all the boys on this great team. The coaches all agree that it was a great season.

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