A’s Win Major Championship; 10U Defends Title
Throughout the tumultuous 2013 Rockaway Little League season, two things were a given: The Major Boys division will be unpredictable and our 10U travel team will be consistently outstanding. Both “givens” were in play during the final weekend of Little League action as the third-seeded Walsh Properties Athletics snatched the Major Boys title in dramatic fashion and the 10U all-stars defended their District 27 championship with machine-like precision.
All season, Major Boys was a fun division to watch as the AKB Security Giants and Seaway Marine Cubs engaged in a see-saw battle for first place, the Arverne By The Sea Cardinals were dangerous every week, and the Walsh Properties A’s rose from an early season 0-4 abyss to grab the third seed. The A’s nipped the Cubs 3-2 in a classic semi-final matchup and earned a spot against the Giants in the finals. The teams split the first two games of the championship series, setting up a winner-take-all Game 3.
As expected, the Major Boys finale started with a tight pitching duel between aces John Resker (Giants) and Kevin Erhard (A’s). All batters seemed overmatched in the first two frames. Erhard changed the tempo at the plate in the top of the third, using fake bunts to work out a walk and aggressively swiping bases. His teammates followed suit. The A’s antics on the base paths affected Resker’s control and Matty Ostrander took advantage with a two-run double. When the dust settled the underdogs had a 4-0 lead. Erhard sparked another mini-rally with his legs in the fourth inning as the A’s added two more.
Down 6-0, the top-seeded Giants were in trouble. They responded impressively. Brendan Gallagher led off with a loud double to left. After a walk, Felix Cepeda, Jr. blasted a home run over the left-centerfield fence, cutting the lead in half. Erhard responded with four straight K’s but in the fifth, the Giants showed some base path magic of their own. Another three-spot tied the game 6-6 entering the final frame.
The Giants now had the momentum and it showed in a 1-2-3 top of the sixth that was highlighted by Andrew Erhard’s thievery. The left-handed second baseman ranged far to his right to snatch a grounder that was ticketed for centerfield. Erhard spun 180 degrees and nipped the runner with a long throw. In the bottom of the inning, the Giants were 75 feet from a championship after they loaded the bases with no outs. This time the Athletics rose to the challenge with great defense. A diving catch in foul ground, a force out at the plate and another infield grounder stranded three Giants.
The momentum swung back to the A’s and they used it as extra innings began. With two out and two on in the top of the seventh inning, Ostrander topped a single down the third base line to plate the go-ahead run. Brett Davison followed with a two-run rip down the left field line, making the score 9-6. The Giants were unable to summon any more magic as A’s pitcher Brian MacDonald induced the final outs. Both teams put in a proud effort.
The following day, Rockaway’s 10U squad defended its District 27 championship with a 10-1 over Ozone Howard. (See separate story.) The boys take their next step toward the State championship tomorrow, July 13th. The sectional begins at Ft. Tilden. Please come to the field at 10:00 a.m. to root on the Rockaway all-stars.
Diamond Dust: Rockaway’s 12U team finished the district tournament 3-2, defeating all comers except the eventual champions from Ozone Howard.