CHILDREN/LITTLE LEAGUE



Downtowners get in a solid weekend of play

By Jane Flanagan

Downtown Express photos by Corky Lee

Lashon Moody of the Rangers rips into a pitch.


Little Leaguers faced a number of obstacles last weekend including rain, closed-off fields and unusually heavy traffic. The traffic, caused by the five borough bike tour, was a problem because the players are traveling to other parts of the city while their home field in Battery Park City is being renovated.

Tee-Ball

Tee-ballers, have some of the best attendance of the league, perhaps because they are the only division to enjoy homefield access in Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park. The tee-ballers, who are 5 to 7 years old, played in the park for the first time this weekend. Unfortunately, due to a drainage problem, a large section of the field was inaccessible.

Things got interesting in the cramped quarters when, with two games running at the same time, balls rolled between fields, said Cliff Benfield, who helps manage the Tee-ball division. More distressing, however, was when players chased balls onto the promenade.

“I was concerned they were going to get hit by bicycles or roller bladders,” he said.

Junior Minors

Rangers vs. Indians
The Rangers came from four runs down to win the game in the final inning by a score of 13-7.

“It was unbelievable,” said Rangers manager Ernie Shore. “The kids were so demoralized going into that inning and then they scored ten runs.”

The Rangers pulled it out thanks, in part, to two homeruns; one a grand slam by Oren Shore and a three-run homer by LaShawn Moody.

Reds vs. Cubs
The Reds beat the Cubs 10 to 6.

Despite the loss, Cubs coach Greg Petrick was not disappointed in his team.

“It was a hard-fought contest,” he said.

As for the Reds, the hitting stars were Michael Ajami, who hit a three-run homer and Matthew Fragliossi, who hit a two-run homerun, according to Reds manager Ralph Tuzzino.

Cardinals vs. White Sox
Although the Cardinals won 16-8, the game was very competitive, with the teams nearly tied in the third inning.

“We were down five nothing and came back and made it close,” said White Sox manager David Glovin. “But then they hammered us later,” he said.

Despite the loss, the White Sox did plenty of hitting, even in the clutch. In the final inning, White Sox players hit three ground balls in a row. But good fielding by the Cardinals prevented any of them from getting on base.

Marlins vs. Twins
Despite the Twins lopsided win 8-2, Marlins manager Alan Goodman was happy with his team’s performance.

“All my players showed improvement,” he said. “Everybody made a contribution.”

One of the best moments in the game for Twins Manager Mark Hatton was Adam Kester’s smash hit to the outfield. The reason: Kester had been practicing very, very hard. Hatton loved seeing that pay off, he said.

Another game highlight was a play by the Gallagher brothers – Liam at short center field and Aren at third base. They made a play at second base forcing a runner out.

“It was a clutch situation,” said Hatton.

Minors

Red Sox vs. Brewers
The Red Sox beat the Brewers 16 – 3. Among the notable players were Red Sox pitchers Sam Gilberg, Eren Adriansen and Owen Kimmel. Among the hitting highlights was a homerun by Corey Greenblatt.

Pirates vs. A’s
The game, which was played on Friday night, was rained out after two innings. The teams, who were playing under lights for the first time, began the game on a lovely, spring evening. But soon it started to drizzle and then pour.

“It was such a shame. It was beautiful night” said Pirates manager Robert Kolb who said that the game will be rescheduled.

Majors

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies
Although the game was technically forfeited by the Diamondbacks because some players were late, the teams went on to play for fun in a game that proved competitive, said Rockies manager Wally Turbeville. The Rockies won 8-7.

The highlight of the game for Turbeville came from the Rockies Nikhal Teckchandani in the final inning. At the top of the inning, Teckchandani threw out a Diamondback at homeplate and at the bottom made a game-tying homerun.

The Diamondback players were late, according to Manager Robert Kolb, because they were stuck in the heavy traffic caused by the bike race.

“It was unbelievable traffic. It was like the president was in town,” he said. Kolb said that Grant Field, where his team plays on the Lower East Side, is difficult to reach by public transportation.

Royals vs. Devil Rays
This game, too, was forfeited. The Devil Rays forfeited because they only had eight players, instead of nine. But the teams also went on to play an unofficial game. The Royals won 2-1. The score reflected the excellent pitching by both teams, according to Devil Rays manager Matt Clarke.

Softball

The girl’s softball team played their first game in two years, according to coach Jen Hensley. They played a team from Greenwich Village, losing 17-3. Hensley, who has been scrambling to find teams to play against, was not discouraged, she said.

“The girls were enthusiastic, energetic and very focused. We have to work on some plays, but we are off to a good start.”

The reason games are hard to come by is that, unlike leagues elsewhere in the city, the Downtown Little League only has one girl’s softball team. (The team is for girls ages 9 – 12.) In order to play games they have to go outside the league.

Unfortunately, the possibility of future games this season does not look promising because the inclement weather is forcing the league teams to schedule makeups, leaving little, if any, time for competing outside their leagues.

Makeup Games
Several teams played makeup games this weekend that were previously cancelled due to rain: .

In the junior minor league the White Sox beat the Cubs 9 to 7.

In the minor league the Red Sox beat the A’s - 12 to 5.

Coaches, e-mail info about your games to news@downtownexpress.com before Monday afternoon.


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