Rockaway Little League Captures 10U District Championship
The Rockaway Travelling All-Stars defeated Ozone Park / Howard Beach by a 9-4 score on Saturday, June 30 at Broad Channel to capture the Little League District 27 10 and Under championship. The Rockaway team dominated play during the week-long tournament beating Rosedale 8-2 and Ozone Park/Howard Beach 9-5 before the final. Ridgewood knocked Rosedale and Broad Channel out of the double elimination tournament before Ozone Park/Howard Beach defeated them for the right to play Rockaway for the championship. But as they had in their previous game, Rockaway used aggressive baserunning, gritty pitching, flawless defense and timely hitting to win the game.
Shortstop Brian MacDonald once again started the attack in the top of the 1st inning by leading off with a solid triple to right field. After a walk and stolen base by center fielder James Resker, right fielder Tom Resker drove in both runners with a solid single to left for a quick 2-0 lead. Rockaway starting pitcher Daniel Green had some early trouble in the bottom of the inning before settling in as he walked 3 batters around a double allowing 1 run before striking out the side. James Tuohey’s strong throw from left field kept Ozone Howard from scoring more.
Rockaway increased their lead to 4-1 with single runs in the third and fourth innings. In the 3rd, MacDonald again got things started with an infield single and stolen base. And again Tom Resker drove him in with a solid base hit for his 3rd RBI. Next inning Matt McCabe led off with a walk and was followed by left fielder Mike McManus’ hard hit double to left center. McCabe was thrown out on a close play at the plate but McManus took third on the throw home. Joe Tammaro then brought home McManus with an infield single.
Meanwhile Green settled into a groove after his opening inning troubles by retiring 8 straight Ozone Howard batters until he gave up a double and walk with one out in the fourth. He came back to strike out the next batter for the second out before reaching his pitch limit. All told Green battled through the 90 degree heat to pitch 3 2/3 innings striking out seven and allowing just one run on two hits. He was helped by third baseman McCabe in the second who made a strong throw from third to first for the out and by MacDonald who backpedaled into short left center to grab a pop up in the third. Ian Byrne came on in relief to get the final out of the fourth and pitch a scoreless fifth by retiring four straight batters, three by strikeout.
He was aided by catcher Tamarro who threw out the runner trying to steal third for the final out in the fifth inning. That continued the streak of outstanding catching play by Rockaway as James Agoglia had picked off 3 runners from behind the plate in the previous 2 games.
The Rockaway offense exploded in the sixth. McManus led off with a single, his second hit of the day. After a James Resker walk with 2 outs, first baseman Billy Reyes slugged a line drive single to center to score McManus. Then after Tom Resker walked to load the bases, second baseman Phil Benoit drove a double to center to drive in 2 runs. Byrne followed with a solid hit to right to drive in 2 more.
The game entered the bottom of the sixth with Rockaway holding a 9-1 advantage. To Ozone Howard’s credit they didn’t give up as they fought back to score a run and then load the bases with 2 outs. Benoit got the second out with a fine running catch of a pop up by second base. Jack Casey came in to relieve Byrne and, after struggling to find his control by walking 2 to make it 9-4, he settled in and struck out the Ozone Howard cleanup batter for the third out and the championship.
After shaking hands with Ozone Howard, the Rockaway boys grabbed their championship banner and gleefully ran around the field to the applause of family and friends. Manager Kamin Green was rewarded with a Gatorade bath from the players. Green commented, “We’ve been talking for years about getting all these boys together on one team and now that it’s happened, it’s as good a team as we expected it to be.”
Next up for Rockaway is to present the championship banner to Rock- away Little League president Marty Andresen for hanging in the clubhouse. Then it’s on to the battle for the city championship.
The next game for the Rockaway Travelling All-Stars will be in the sectional tournament at Fort Tilden on Tuesday, July 10. The All-Stars will take on Garden City at 5:30 p.m. Please tell your family, friends and neighbors about the game and urge them to come down. Let’s get a big Rockaway crowd to cheer the boys on.