'Perfect' Start To Season For Express
The Rockaway Express began their season in the 9U division of the Nassau County Youth Athletic Association (NCYAA) with a doubleheader sweep of the Salisbury Spartans by scores of 6-0 and 6-5 in East Meadow, Long Island on Sunday, April 15. The first game was highlighted by the pitching of Daniel Green and Mikey McManus who threw a perfect game, retiring all 18 Spartan batters who came up to bat. The second game had the Express coming back from an early deficit and hold on for the victory.
Green started the first game and came out firing strikes. He struck out 7 of the 12 batters he faced. The perfect game in progress was saved by shortstop Ian Byrne in the third inning when he made a sparkling leaping catch of a high line drive. That was the only hard hit ball off of Green as he retired the other 4 batters on weak grounders. McManus came on to pitch in the fifth inning and kept up the pace by getting the first batter on a ground out back to him and then striking out the final 5 batters.
The Express took the lead on their opening at bat as Byrne led off with a single and after reaching third base on steals was driven in by James Tuohey. McManus drove in Tuohey later in the inning for a 2-0 lead. The Express erupted for 3 more runs in the fourth inning when Billy Reyes smoked a hit to center and James Agoglia walked to start the rally.
Green lined a hit to left field to drive in Reyes and Terence Marten drove in Agoglia for the second run of the inning. Then Byrne stroked a two out hit to the right side to make it 5-0. The final run was scored in the sixth when Green laced a double to left for his third hit of the game, and scored on Joe Featherston’s hard hit ball to second base.
The second game was an entirely different affair as the Express left two men on base in the first and then fell behind 3-0 in the bottom of the inning.
The Spartan batters came alive and got 3 hard hits in a row with one out. Starter Ian Byrne buckled down and struck out two to end the inning and limit the damage.
The Express started their comeback in the second. McManus led off with a single, moved to second on Christian Agoglia’s grounder and came in on Featherston’s second RBI of the day. In the third, Billy Reyes got robbed of a base hit by the
Spartan first baseman.
Marten was next up and he manufactured a run by himself as he singled to the left side and alertly went to second as the ball was mishandled by the infield. Marten then stole third and when the ball got away from the third baseman, he scampered home and scored on a close play.
That energized the Express. The Spartans led off their half of the inning with a walk and a steal and looked to threaten. That rally was killed when centerfielder Kieran Conaghan made two terrific running catches.
The Express momentum continued in the fourth as they scored 4 times. Byrne led off with a double and was followed by Joe Tammaro’s single, Matty McDonagh’s single and McManus’ RBI grounder. The Spartans scored 2 more runs in the fourth to make it 6-5 and looked like they were going to tie the game in the sixth when the leadoff batter hit a drive to right center. But Conaghan came through again as he made a sliding catch to retire the batter. Relief pitcher Billy Reyes closed out the inning for the save and the doubleheader sweep.