Drama And Upsets Highlight Little League Playoffs
The quality of play has steadily improved all season in Pee Wee Senior and the opening round of the playoffs proved it. All four playoff games were low-scoring and decided by one run. First the #7 Slices N Ices Orioles defeated the #10 Pier 92 Cardinals, 3-2, in seven innings.
Then the #9 Mak Mint Used Cars Dodgers beat the #8 Denis S. O’Connor Rays, 4-3, with two runs in the bottom of the sixth for a walk-off, come from behind victory. That was followed by the #4 Quik Fund Mortgage Marlins’ exciting 1-0 victory over the #5 A.O.H. Division 21 A’s. The day was climaxed by the #6 Wave Publishing Pirates’ 2-1 defeat of the #3 American Legion Braves.
The first playoff game of the day was the “The Battle of the Birds,” Orioles vs. the Cardinals. In the first inning the boys came out hitting! The Cards were up to bat first with big hits from Michael Espo, Michael Tuffey, Michael Duffy and a double by Matt Piccone which scored the second run of the inning.
The Orioles came right back with big hits from Aidan Harkins, Timmy Mills, Jason Sabastino and Gerald McManus, with a close play at the plate where Timmy Mills slid underneath the tag for the tying run. The next six innings were filled with amazing pitching by Michael Esposito, Michael Tuffey and Matt Celtaino for the Cards and Timmy McGuiness, Jason Sabastino, Adain Harkins and Timmy Mills for the Orioles. Gerald McManus, Josh Monero, TJ David, Frankie Sabastino and Greg Tracy made big league plays on the infield and outfield to keep the score tied. The game went into a seventh inning where the Orioles scored the winning run!
Who could know that when the Marlins’ James Agoglia plated Ian Byrne with a first inning double, no other runs would be scored in third quarterfinal game? Ian Byrne, Sean Peter Mullin and Mike Strehle all pitched two scoreless innings for the Marlins. The A’s pitchers also were amazing, posting zeros the rest of the way. The Fish advanced with the 1-0 win.
In the fourth and final Pee Wee Senior playoff game of last Saturday, the Pirates and Braves continued the string of exciting one-run games as the Pirates defeated the Braves 2-1. The Braves scored a run in the bottom of the first on a single to center by Matty Mc- Donagh, a double to the left center fence by Zach Erhard and a run scoring fielder’s choice by Liam Rayder. McDonagh escaped jams in both the first and second innings with clutch pitching and Brendan Petronis escaped a bases loaded no outs predicament in the third by striking out three straight Pirates.
Meanwhile Daniel Endall and Corey Schwach of the Pirates kept the Braves from doing any further damage through the fourth inning. The Pirates helped themselves in the third inning when, with a runner on first and two out, Zach Erhard hit a huge drive to the left-center field fence.
With the lead runner rounding third and going home, center fielder Michael Coletta of the Pirates quickly retrieved the ball and relayed it to third baseman Jason Moore. He turned and fired to catcher TJ Mahoney who put the tag on the runner at home, thus keeping the game at 1-0.
The Pirates capitalized on that by scoring two runs in the top of the fourth to take the lead. Zach Erhard struck out six for the Braves in the fifth and sixth innings to keep the Pirates from any further scoring but Daniel Green of the Pirates matched that by striking out the final six Braves batters to preserve the victory.
There was a one-run game of a different nature in the Major Girls semifinals: a 22-21 slugfest. The Moriarty & Son Angels topped the Vintage Abstract Cubs in extra innings on Rina Cregan’s two-out, walk-off grand slam. The game was neck and neck all afternoon with the Cubs’ Emma Meade pitching the entire game so well and the underdog Cubs all playing so hard. In extra innings the Angels trailed by two but loaded the bases due to Nora Meehan’s hit. Thanks to Rina’s drive to deep right field the Angels advanced to play the first place F.C. Gerlach Braves in a three-game championship series.
The Major Boys’ regular season campaign was a taut battle between the Coastal Real Estate Marlins (8-2-2) and Henry Myers Plumbing & Heating Rockies (9-2-1), with the Rockies passing the Fish in the final week to capture the flag. In the semifinals, the “built for the playoffs” Bartoli Chiropractic A’s crashed the party and knocked off the Rocks, 7-3.
The Marlins were in top form, blanking the Monavie Orioles 8-0. Game one of the championship series was on Monday night and the A’s served up another upset. With the score tied 6-6 in the sixth inning, Luca Bartoli slashed an RBI double to leftfield. After the Athletics plated one more, Jag Guidarelli slammed the door on an 8-6 victory over the Marlins.
In Junior Boys, the J&E Industries Orioles dominated the regular season to earn a first round bye. In the semifinal game, the Storage Place Cubs beat the Empire Surgical Products Angels, 5-3, to earn a shot at the Orioles in the championship series.
As many as five divisions will hold their final game on Championship Saturday (June 25). Catch the action. And join us that evening for the annual RLL Night at the Cyclones. Contact Rich Mills (917-670-7181) or your coach for ticket information.
DIAMOND DUST – Sign up to kayak with RLL and Gateway. The first paddle is Friday, July 8. Contact Paul King (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information ... For updates and playoff results go to www.rockawaylittleleague ny.com ... Good luck to RLL’s 9-10 district team that started its quest for the LL World Series this week.