SPORTS

Season closes with rain, trophies and fun

By Patricia Belizario

Downtown Express photos by Elisabeth Robert

The Downtown Little League regular season came to a close this weekend, bringing with it the triumph of victory for many, as well as trophies and satisfaction from a season hard played by all. Next year, many will advance to play in different leagues with a little more confidence than they had at the start of this season, for they’ll know they’ve improved, and that they’ll improve even still, coaches said. “They’re gonna play a lot of baseball this summer, and come back, next year playing even better,” said Marlins coach Alan Goodman.


Tee-BALL

Angels vs. Rangers
The Angels, one of Little Leagues only teams that has not missed a single game this season, played the Rangers on Saturday morning in what one parent, Angela Bensfield, called “a great end of the season game.”

“Everybody did really well,” she said of her Tee-Ballers, who managed to get in their game just before the rain began.

When it did begin to fall, the kids were already all receiving their end of the season trophies at the picnic tables in Rockefeller Park.

“The kids were all so excited to receive their trophies,” Bensfield said. “It was a great season; we really appreciate all the hard work put in from everyone in the league.”


JUNIOR MINORS

Cardinals vs. Rangers
The Rangers, a team made up of players who coach Ernie Shore said “are such a good bunch of kids,” displayed what he said was “a tremendous amount of team spirit,” this weekend even though the Cardinals won the game 10-5.

This season, he watched his team root for one another no matter what happened in the game, taking pleasure in knowing that they willingly supported each other on their own. He was also pleased by the parents, whose support of their children unusual but never unnoticed. “Every game all the parents were there to support their kids…you don’t see that a lot,” he said. “Their dedication was fantastic.”

The undefeated Cardinals undoubtedly made for the game highlights though, moving Shore to say that they “are a really great team.”

Cardinals coach Dana Vlcek said that the defense was “outstanding…it really won the game.”

Outstanding plays came in the form of four doubleplays, three of which were unassisted – two by third baseman Kyle Maer, and one by Brando Brandemen started another with a fly to center field. First baseman Roy Vlcek, assisted by Jake Bader, fired the ball from first to second base, for the 3-4 doubleplay.

Players on both teams received trophies at the end of the game where everyone received an award for a season well played.

Marlins vs. Indians
The Marlins played the Indians in what Marlins coach Alan Goodman called “a sea-saw battle all the way.” Goodman said it was the “best game of the season…even though the Indians eventually beat us by one run.” He said that all of the players contributed equally well in the game, leading the Marlins to score the most runs of all their games in entire season. The Indians pulled out a close game, 8-7/

“We had a great time…everyone helped us out,” Goodman said.

After the game, the Marlins enjoyed an end of the season celebratory cake that included each players’ name, and each player received a trophy. The players had a lot of baseball left even after the cake.

“A lot of guys went back to the field for a catch, so that goes to show how much the team loves playing,” he said.

Veronica Chmiel standing to the left, had a good laugh with her Yankee teammates.

White Sox vs. Twins
The White Sox won their final game this weekend with the Twins “despite the defensive efforts of Daniel Komanoff, who made a variety of nice plays in the infield,” said Twins coach Mark Hatton.

In a very close tug of war game, the Twins took an early 3-0 lead, only to have the White Sox come back 5-3, the Twins ending the score 5-4 with a valiant final effort.

“The game was hard fought till the end,” said Sox coach David Glovin.

Glovin said that Sox players Gabe Kleinman and Teddy Lau contributed to the game with “big hits,” also giving credit to Sam Kohen, West Loving, Tayler Myers, and Grant Glovin for their “nice fielding.”

“It was a very encouraging season for a young team,” he said. “They were much better by the season’s end than they were in the beginning.”

Twins coach Hatton credits the Sox victory to what he called “a big outfield hit” made by Gabe Kleinman in the second inning.

“I really like the Sox and their coaching,” he said, adding that “good sportsmanship is always the wise way to play.”

All of the players received trophies at the end of their games, and half of the Twins team are expected to go on to the Minors next year.


MINORS

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays
This weekend’s games started off with the rain as a familiar key player, though the Red Sox and the Blue Jays prevailed by sneaking in an hour and a half long game in a temporary breach in Friday night’s storm. The Red Sox prevailed further to win the game 6-1, ending the season undefeated and untied.

Coach Michael Greenblatt of the Red Sox said “overall both teams played crisp baseball…”

Sam Gilberg had an outstanding game, leading the team pitching three innings of no-hit ball with eight strikeouts, one run and two walks. Owen Kimmel closely followed, pitching 2 innings giving up no hits, no runs, with five strike outs and two walks. Eren Adriansen wrapped up, pitching 1 inning with no hits, no runs, no walks, and three strikeouts.

Mariners vs. Brewers
When the Brewers forfeited their game on Saturday due to lack of players, Mariners coach David Leach gave them a few players to continue the game, and commenced to end the season with what he said was “a very fun game.”

The Mariners played well defensively, making for a very light hitting game. Justin Valenzuela pitched three innings for the Mariners, playing “very well” according to his coach. Paris Leach had a double in the first inning, scoring two runs, and Wyatt Leach had a single and an RBI. Sean Wils “pitched a nice inning of relief” to close the game, said coach Leach. He also credits Josh Colon, who after catching for the first time this weekend caught very well for the first inning, which the coach said was “a nice end of the season surprise.”

The score was tied at 5.

A’s vs. Pirates
A rare and laudable act in Little League baseball occurred this weekend after the Pirates forfeited their game against the Athletics due to lack of players. A’s manager Tom Morton, in a compassionate effort to even out the game, allowed one of his best players, Nicholas Morton, to assist the Pirates, said manager Robert Kolb of the Pirates, whose team is comprised of mostly nine year olds in a league where 11 year olds dominate.

“When they see they’re playing nine year olds, a lot of parents lose their heads,” said Kolb of the overly competitive nature of some parent coaches in the league. “So it was really appreciated that he (coach Morton) gave up not only his best player, but his son.”


MAJORS

There were no Major League games this weekend because of the rain, though all the players will receive their end of the season trophies individually.


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