Volume 17, Number 47 | April 15 — 21, 2005

Downtown Express photos by Robert Stolarik

Outgoing league president Vito Suppa, who received an award, watched the field while the TriBattery Pops performed.

Lots of hits and even more fun on Opening Day

The Downtown Little League opened the season Saturday with their annual, revelry-filled march from City Hall to the Battery Park City ballfields. T-Ballers got started a little earlier and were playing on the fields to the sounds of the TriBattery Pops, a local band.

Vincent Licata, league president, took a moment to remember the difficulties of the recent past when 9/11 forced players to fields outside the neighborhood and the league struggled to keep games going. Judging from the burgeoning enrollment and the crowd gathered Saturday morning, those worries are long over.

A look at some of Opening Day weekend highlights:


T-BALL

Pirates & Reds
A beautiful sunny spring day made for a most enjoyable debut of Manager Rachel Plota’s Pirates hosting Manager Andy Scheman’s Reds on Saturday morning.  As the Pirates took the field, it looked like a party on the pitcher’s mound!  Once all 12 of the Reds batted and scored several runs, the Pirates had a chance to even the score a bit (not that anyone was keeping it!)  There were at least four true outs in the three-inning game.  Morris Katz of the Reds caught a fly ball.  Tyler Rohan of the Pirates fielded a grounder and tagged the runner at second.  Nicolas Ng of the Pirates fielded a grounder, threw the ball to Christian Plota, and the runner was out at third.  And, Noah Skelskie of the Reds showed great hustle making a big play at first, with the crowd of parents erupting in cheers.  There was a lot of strong hitting as well, with Noah Brodsky of the Reds getting a big hit out to right field and Jacob Morris of the Pirates doing the same.

Downtown Little Leaguers marched to the fields from City Hall Park.

Marlins & Royals
The Marlins and Royals played an outstanding game on Saturday. The Marlins’ defense was led by Tommi-Ann and Taylor Gangi, Nicole LaGreca and Sammy Duffy. Their offense was powered by the booming bats of Gianna LaGreca, Douglas Stapler and Gregory Elefterakis. The Royals made an outstanding play in the field, with Theo Levine fielding a slow rolling ground ball and diving home to tag a Marlin. The Royals’ hitting was led by Gabriel Leitner and Ethan Wallis.
 

Red Sox & Mets
“It just doesn’t get any better than this,” a joint statement from the coaches of the Red Sox and the Mets said it all.  Under a cloudless Downtown sky, to the strains of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” it was the most fun 30-30 tie that T-ball fans have seen since last season.

Both teams put in exciting and enthusiastic performances from the start, and by the second inning the tension was mounting and there was some great play.  A fantastic hit by James Carney (Red Sox) was followed by an outstanding fielding display from Sofia Agnifilo( Mets), Cameron Lamser and Matthew Levine (Red Sox) proved themselves to be excellent catchers; and Dylan Paige (Mets) runs like lightning, an ability shared with teammate Alexandra Agnifilo (Red Sox).  The day was summed up beautifully by the resounding cheer from both teams as they watched each player run home.
 

Diamondbacks & Athletics
Opening Day was a classic, the weather was perfect and the players came with their game faces on. Big Jack Hunter from the A’s hit a hard shot for extra bases, and the fielding of the A’s was good. The Diamondback’s put on a hitting display. Ben Steinberg, Michael Diperi, T.J. and Luca Romeo all went 3 for 3. There was great fielding by Liam O’Connor at first, and the highlight of the game was the homerun by “take’em deep” Teddy Eustace.


Mariners & Yankees
Both teams were surprisingly focused. In the first inning the Yankees led off and soon had the bases loaded. Kelly de Klerk, Yani Porter and Lorren Winder got on base. When Gabriel Colon smacked a hard one, they started coming home.

The Mariners followed with an impressive line-up of their own. In the first inning Aiden Ostermaier hit a long drive down center field for a triple, and Thomas Burns made a solid hit, something he would repeat in the second inning.

Meanwhile, out in the field, Yankee first baseman Brian Hennings got a runner out, and for the Mariners, Lauren Barragan did an excellent job covering first base.

The second inning was also competitive, with both teams getting batter after batter on base. The third inning was cut short when the parade and marching band arrived and took over the fields. Everyone adjourned to listen to Little League president.


JUNIOR MINORS DIVISION

Sox & Giants
The teams began their seasons with a thrilling 6-6 tie. Both teams staged dramatic comebacks. The Giants drew first blood, scoring a pair of runs in both the first and second innings to take a 4-0 lead. Brandon Mirabelli, just called up from the T-Ball Division, hustled to an infield hit in the second inning to keep his team’s rally alive.

In the third frame, the Sox scored five runs to take the lead. William Merrill provided a key hit, hitting a hard shot off of the pitching machine that drove in two runners. The Red Sox added another run in the top of the fourth and final inning to move ahead 6-4. But refusing to die, the Giants answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to salvage the tie.


Phillies & Indians
The Phillies rallied from 5 runs down in the bottom of the fifth to tie the Indians and finish 5-5. Chynna Basso and Gabrielle Ponce started the rally, and key hits by Andrew Jansen, Michael Marino and Thomas Caruso helped tie the game in the last inning. Anthony Marino played solid defense behind the plate.


MAJORS DIVISION

Cubs 10, Rockies 5
Great pitching and timely hitting were the keys to the Cubs victory Sunday. Michael Indelicato let up 1 hit in 3 innings while striking out 5 batters. Mark LaGreca let up 1 hit and struck out 7 batters in 2 and 2/3 innings. Gabe Kleiman got the last out for the save. The hitting attack was led by Michael Galindo and Michael Indelicato; each had base clearing hits. Vincent Licata scored 3 runs, leading the Cubs to victory.


JUNIOR SOFTBALL

Batteries & Patriots
An exciting midday match saw the Batteries take an early lead with a strong first inning of 4 runs. With the second inning both teams brought in 2 runs, then the Patriots closed the gap with 2 more runs in the third. The Batteries, leading 6 to 4, added 2 more in the fifth and final innings to win 8 to 4 in a game full of great hitting and mixed pitching. Most importantly, everyone had fun.


Seniors Softball

The Revolution Seniors softball had their first game scheduled for this past Saturday with Harlem. However, Harlem was unable to make the game as their opening day was postponed a week. So, Revolution divided the squad and played 7 per side with some helpful parents filling out the roster. They had a great time on a beautiful day.
Next week Revolution Senior softball will host the West Side Little League Comets on their fields and are looking forward to an exciting game.

Thanks to the Downtown Little League organizers, coaches and parents who contributed to this report.

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