Downtown stars shine in seasons last weekend
Downtown Express photos by Elisabeth Robert
Downtown Little League Marlin Ethan Feldman looks to score as Oriole Tyler Goldberg readies to block the plate.
Downtown Little League closed out their regular season this weekend with hot action and weather, exciting all-star games, and trophies for all.
ANGELS VS. AS
The Angels finished their season undefeated with a victory over the Athletics. Making his pitching debut, Wil McArdle threw two innings of one-run ball. For the Athletics, Joseph DeMarco continued his strong hitting with a single that drove in three runs for his team and relief pitcher Lee Perry was solid. But two hits by Adam Kester and a deep outfield blast by Aren Gallagher preserved the victory for the Halos.
WHITE SOX VS. BRAVES
Twelve weeks ago, the Braves and White Sox opened their seasons with a game against each other. Last week, they closed their seasons in a rematch that demonstrated how far the skills of the players on both teams have progressed. The game was 6-5 after three innings, as both starting pitchers, Peter Manny for the Braves and Cameron Spector for the White Sox, were sharp. Charles Eltrich, John Zito and Connor Weitz had key hits for the White Sox and Cale Donaldson nailed a runner at second base with a great throw in the fourth inning. The Braves were lead by Daniel Sexton, who had three hits and Gabe Smith who had two. Nicholas Fils-Aime made a stellar catch in the deep part of right field, and added a two-run double at the plate. Eventually, the power hitting of the White Sox prevailed in this contest as Michael Porter hit a three run homer in the top of the fifth.
The Minors Division featured some of its young players in its annual all-star game held on June 22. Playing in wet conditions, the Shore Thing, coached by Mariners manager Ernie Shore, took control of the contest in the middle innings and then held on to preserve an 18-10 victory over the Brandon Bunch, coached by Marlins manager Nat Brandon. Pitchers Josh Blaney, Jack Finio and Ricardo Smith combined to hold the Brandon Bunch to only one run through four innings. Leighton Brillo-Sonnino, Louis Moreschi, and Oren Shore helped them in the field. Pitchers Jack Hatton and Tyler Brandon were just as effective for the Brandon Bunch, each striking out two batters in the first and second innings. The Shore Thing offense, however, erupted in the third and fourth innings to give them a 10-1 lead. In the fifth inning, the Brandon Bunch defense bore down. Shortstop Lee Perry made a terrific toss to second for a putout and centerfielder Anthony Narin fielded several long hits holding the Shore Thing hitters to only one base. This seemed to spark the teams offense. In their half of the inning, Yanai Feldman hit a triple that cleared the bases and then was driven in by Henry Costello. In the sixth inning, Brian Boyd and Isaac Simons drove in runs allowing the Brandon Bunch to cut into the Shore Things lead.
The Minors Division All Stars were: Josh Blaney, Leighton Brillo-Sonnino, Oren Shore, Weston Loving, Ricardo Smith, Sam Cohen, Louis Moreschi, Danny Sexton, Gabe Smith, Nicky Bader, Jack Finio, Darby Northington, Michael Porter, Cameron Spector, Isaac Simons, Tyler Brandon, Yanai Feldman, Jack Hatton, Henry Costello, Lee Perry, Joe Demarco, Aren Gallagher, Ethan Gooderund, Anthony Narin and Brian Boyd.
CARDINALS VS. PADRES
Sundays face-off between the Cardinals and the Padres was a fitting send-off for summer as temperatures topped ninety and the noontime sun warmed thirsty Little Leaguers and wilted proud parents.
From the first inning a surging Padres team found their stroke. Leadoff hitter, Owen Little Dog OKeefe, paced the team with the first of his three hits as well as the first of his two runs scored. Michael Mr. Intensity Shorris also singled to move Little Dog to second. Perennial gold-glove, Bryan Gomez, collected an R.B.I. driving in OKeefe, but here the Cardinals slammed the door with two well-executed putouts by Cardinal shortstop, Alexander Godzilla Irikura, the second just nipping fleet-footed Elaine Rocket-girl Farah at the bag. Good defense by the Padres held the Cardinals in the first as Bryan Gomez and Henry Martin continued their special shortstop to first magic.
The second inning was all Padres as Aidan The Flash Rogers was liquid lightning on the base paths beating out an infield single and taking third on Graham Nelsons first of two hits on the day. Alexander The Great Komanoff collected two R.B.I. on his double, scoring Rogers and Nelson. Rookie sensation Wild Will Pangburn continued his torrid hitting streak with a single to send Komanoff to third. Again it was the Little Dog belting a sharp single to right to drive in Alexander The Great. It looked like it was going to be a monster inning for the Padres as Mr. Intensity ripped a liner down the line, but a fine fielding play by third baseman Jose Inoa robbed him catching Wild Will advancing from second for the force to hold the score at 4-0.
Bryan Gomez led off the Padres third with a single and raced home on a sharp liner by Joltin James Demsak. Aidan Flash Rogers again came through with a liner to left, scoring Demsak and then scored his second run on a double by Graham Nelson to make the score 7-0. The Cardinals threatened in the bottom of the third as second baseman Emily The Rose Chin smacked a bullet to centerfield and beat the throw for a double, but the Cardinals were unable to bring her home.
The fourth inning was all Cardinals, with scores by Iasmin Rocha and Sara Inoa and R.B.I. for Godzilla Irikura and Emily The Rose Chin. Solid defense blanked the Padres to make it 7-2.
The fifth and final stanza saw the Little Dog score again on another R.B.I. by shortstop Bryan Gomez who, himself, came home on James Dimaggio Demsaks second R.B.I. of the day. Final score was Padres 9, Cardinals 2.
RED SOX VS. DEVIL RAYS
Wielding bats almost as hot as the temperature on the playing field, the Red Sox closed their season on Sunday with a 16-7 victory over the Devil Rays. Brody Sharoff, Alec Tullock, Alex Hirsch and Samantha Sewell led the Red Sox attack with multiple hits, and Dante Stoeri-Darrigo drove in four runs. For the Devil Rays, Jack McGreevy and Moses Rubin each made spectacular defensive plays. Fielding the pitching mound, McGreevy made a diving catch of a pop fly to end the third inning. Playing shortstop, Rubin speared a line drive to retire Tullock in the fifth inning. Later that inning, he also fielded a ground ball and ran to third base to force a runner for the final out.
GIANTS VS. MARLINS
As the morning sun came up hot, so did Marlin bats. In the top of the first, Scott Bamford doubled on aggressive base running followed by hits by Jack Fitzmaurice, Simon Miles, Taidgh Barren and Sam Davis to put the Marlins up by two.
In the second inning the Marlins put up three more runs to go up 5-0. The Giants answered with one run in the bottom of the second bearing up under an already blistering day. The real action came in the fourth and final inning. The Marlins came out again, bats blazing with more hits including William Carr, Alden Cope and Sarah Miles. Invoking the five run limit the teams changed sides and the situation looked dire for the Giants at 10-1.
In a last do-or-die effort, the Giants awakened to rally and pull to within one run before the final out. The Marlins held on to win 10-9 with both teams finishing the season with determination and grit.
PHILLIES VS. DIAMONDBACKS
The Phillies finished their season with a winning record by defeating the Diamondbacks 19-5. Anthony Randazzo led the offensive attack that was paced by Michael DiMaria, Nicolette Catona, Rachel Licata, Jenna Tuzzino, John Barbieri, Anthony Marino, Michael Marino, Thomas Caruso, Gabrielle Ponce and Chynna Basso, who each had multiple hit games. Phillies Max Sperling, Andrew Janzen and Liam Barwick all played solid outfield defense in the outfield. The Phillies infield was strong again, as it was all season, led by John Barbieri, Anthony Randazzo, Michael DiMaria and the catching duo of Anthony Marino and Thomas Caruso.
DODGERS VS. INDIANS
The Dodgers ended their season on Sunday by winning a tightly contested game against the Indians. The Dodgers season was capped by Jackie Robinson-like fielding and a .900 batting average from Xavier Russo, awesome fielding and batting by left hand hitting Chris Bauman, solid hitting and fielding from Luke Desinye, awesome glove work by Jake Rosenberg, a strong bat from Theo Munger, out-of-the-box fielding from Ryan Porcaro, and awesome speed by Nico Santore.
ASTORS VS. CARDINALS
After a weeks hiatus, the Astros manager and second baseman returned and provided the spark needed to get the Astros back on track. Cal Cook continued to provide the pitching and defense that he provided all season. In five innings pitched, he struck out nine and walked two and got the win for the Astros. Offensively, almost every Astro got at least one hit with multiple hits going to Owen Kimmel, Jake Shapiro, Wyatt Leach and Max Bowens. The Cardinals kept it close for three innings. In the third inning, a triple by David Benjamin of the Cards, followed by a single by Zane Holmes and a double by Sean Wils, brought the score to 5-3 in favor of the Astros. However, in the fourth inning the Astros broke it open on home runs by Wyatt Leach and Max Bowens. The Astros went on to win the game 13-3. The win clinched at least a tie for first place for the Astros in the Majors division.
ASTROS VS. ROCKIES
In the last game of the season, the Astros sent their 10-year-old ace, Jake Shapiro, against Brandon Diaz of the Rockies. The Rockies batted first and got on the board with a nice R.B.I. double by Diaz, scoring Christian Albrizio who walked earlier. The Astros countered in the bottom of the first with nice hits by Owen Kimmel, Wyatt Leach and Max Bowens and took a 2-1 lead. The Rockies countered in the second inning with a nice double by Albrizio after Eben Cooper robbed Justin Basso of a hit down the third base line. The Astros returned the favor with solid hits by Jack Scordato, Shapiro and Leach in the bottom half of the inning and led 4-3. In the third inning, the Astros jumped to an 8-5 lead. However, in the fourth inning the Rockies bats got hot, scoring five runs to take a 10-8 lead. During the inning, Jake Goodman of the Astros threw a missile from right field to nail a runner at home plate. The Astros scored one in the fourth to make it 10-9. The Rockies countered with two runs and extended the lead to 12-9. The Astros rallied in the fifth with a double by Shapiro and singles by Leach and Cooper, but pitcher Dexter Zimet stranded runners on second and third and held a one run lead. The Rockies wouldnt come out in the sixth inning due to time constraints, and the game ended with the Rockies winning 12-11.
BLUE JAYS VS. DEVIL RAYS
The Blue Jays defeated the Devil Rays 8-5 in their final game and finished the season tied for first place with the Astros. A strong three inning pitching performance from Charles Porcaro led the way along with hitting star Kyle Maer, who went 3-4, with three R.B.I. Josh Lawrence reached base three times. Rahul Khanas catch of a line drive in right field squelched the Devil Rays surge in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Jays outfield of Kyle Maer, Curtis Seeman and Charles Chan also made fine catches to seal the victory. Liam Gallaghers spectacular over the shoulder catch down the left field line in foul territory ended the game in dramatic fashion.
ALL STAR GAME
The Downtown Little League Major Leagues best players showed off their talent in the Leagues annual All-Star game in Battery Park City.
It was representatives from the North and Midwest Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, and St. Louis Cardinals playing the representatives from the South and West Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Colorado Rockies. The game started out as a pitchers duel with Mark LaGreca of the Cubs squaring off with Justin Valenzeula of the Devil Rays, each getting through their rotations with no runs scored. Nick Morton of the Cubs robbed Jake Shapiro of a hit in the first inning with a beautiful catch going into leftfield from shortstop. The first run of the game came in the third inning when Shapiro doubled to centerfield. He drove in Owen Kimmel who previously singled to left field. The North came back to tie the score on a Morton bunt single. Kimmel had an impressive outing on the mound despite the one run scored. Felix Chmiel came in to relieve Kimmel and did an outstanding job turning back the South, who had bases loaded with one out. He got the next two batters and stranded the three base runners. Josh Lawrence had an impressive hit for the North. The South opened the gates in the fourth inning and scored five runs including towering shots by Justin Valenzuela and Brandon Diaz. Jake Shapiro came in to relieve Chmiel and had a perfect inning. He struck out each of the three batters he faced, who represented the heart of the Norths batting order. The game got interesting in the bottom of the sixth inning when the Norths bats came alive and scored three runs off of the Souths pitcher. Pitcher Dexter Zimet kept his composure and stranded two North base runners to save the victory for the South. The final score was 6-4 in favor of the South. Kudos goes to all the All-Stars who were:
Mark LaGreca, Jake Shapiro, Michael Indelicato, Owen Kimmel, Nick Morton, Cal Cook, Vincent Licata, Wyatt Leach, Lucas Ortega, Justin Valenzuela, Josh Lawrence, Sam Levine, Jackson McGonagle, Mathew Sheridan, Harrison Hatton, Felix Chmiel, Elias Sosa, Brandon Diaz, Eamon Gallagher, Dexter Zimet, Alex Wainger, Miles Schuck, Zane Holmes, Ridley Youngue, Sean Wils and Roy Vleck.
PIRATES & REDS
In the welcome shade of the Battery Park City field scoreboard, the Pirates and Reds tied again to end the T-Ball season. The Reds took the lead at first, with consistent hitting and skilled base running, thanks to coaching from Andy, John and David. Andy even kept stats of each team member throughout the season, and strategically arranged the batting order.
The Pirates, batting strategically in the order of their jersey numbers, hit solidly as well, and scored a few runs despite the Reds excellent defense. In the second inning, James Borrelli hit a fly ball to shallow center, and Cameron Burger blushed from the cheers when she caught it in the air. The Manheim twins, Mak and Tai, showed lots of hustle, and Oscar Sullivan managed to run home all three times at bat while keeping his batting helmet artfully balanced on his head. Christian Plota and Tyler Rohan each smacked a line drive in the second inning, but Christian was robbed in the third by an awesome catch by Noah, the Reds first baseman.
It was nice to have Nicholas Ng back after missing a few games, and thats not just because his dad sponsored the team and brought donuts and coffee. Jackson Mansfield did some creative base running, and Jacob Morris had two nice hits. Jack Fergus enjoyed himself as usual. Thanks to Alan Borrelli for enthusiastic and positive coaching, and Rachel and Troy Plota for managing the Pirates. The team plans to re-group for a barbecue after everyone gets their hair cut.
POWDER KEGS VS. LIBERTY
The season finale for both teams continued the Liberty-Powder Kegs hard fought matches with the Liberty, hosting the last of their series. The Kegs Katerina Michaels and Sarah Weldon led off the game with singles and Sarah McGowan drew a walk to load the bases. With one out, Emma Dries came out of her recent hitting slump when she knocked in two runs with a single. The Liberty pitching settled down and got out of the inning with only two runs down. The Liberty didnt wait long to come back when three drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the first and was driven home with a two-bag blast from Maribell Guerrero.
Audrey Banks was hit by a pitch and then the Liberty loaded the bases. With the Liberty poised to open the game up, Kegs starter Lindsay Holcomb came up with two big strikeouts to get the Kegs out of trouble. In the top of the second, Marina Ouranitsas and Miranda Strand drew walks, followed by an R.B.I. single by Katerina Michaels. Lindsay Holcomb then hit a single that brought up Sarah McGowan with the bases loaded. A base clearing double scored three runs and gave the Kegs a 6-2 lead. The bottom of the inning saw the Liberty get two back when Krista Burns, Veronica Chmiel and Maribell Guerrero drew leadoff walks, and Olivia Lautin and Audrey Banks drew walks and forced two runs in.
The Liberty pitching proved too much for the Kegs in the top of the third when pitcher Anna Waterman got two Ks and a groundout to end the first half. The Liberty took their first lead of the game when Krista Burns, Veronica Chmiel and Maribell Guerrero singled and Sonia Marshall hit a monster shot to deep left field to score two runs, and then scored herself to give the Liberty a 7-6 lead. Kegs pitcher Sarah Weldon then retired the side with a ground out. The lead seesawed back when the Powder Kegs scored in the top of the fourth. Holcomb led off with a hit and Sarah McGowan was hit by a pitch, which gave the Powder Kegs runners at first and second. Emma Dries came up big and hit a two-R.B.I. double to give the Kegs the lead. Dries hit would prove to be game winning as she went two for two coming out of her slump.
The Kegs were poised to put more on the board when Aimee Chico was hit by a pitch and Willa Rubin drew a walk. But the Liberty pitching held strong and retired the side. With Emma Dries taking the mound in her last appearance as a Powder Keg, she was able to hold the Liberty to zero runs on one hit by Kate Shore, a walk, and one runner, Anna Waterman, left stranded.
Both the Kegs and Liberty went scoreless in the fifth, when Liberty pitcher Veronica Chmiel retired the side in order with a nice double play. Sarah McGowan, pitching for the Kegs, ended the inning giving up one hit, no runs and one left. The Kegs bats came alive in the top of the sixth to clinch their first victory against the Liberty of the season, with a score of 13-7. Lindsay Holcomb led off with a single, going three for four for the day, to be driven home by a double by Sarah McGowan and some of the best base running of the season when Holcomb managed to run out of a Liberty squeeze play between third and home and score. When Emma Dries and Willa Nathan drew walks, Aimee Chico drove two runs in with a single. Two more runs scored when Willa Rubin, Marina Ouranitsas and Miranda Strand drew walks to force in two. The game ended when Sarah McGowan and Emma Dries were able to throw out the lead runners after Olivia Lautin drew a walk and Audrey Banks and Kate Shore singled.
Downtown Express wishes to congratulate all Downtown Little League players on a great season and thank all of the coaches and parents who submitted game highlights to us. We wish the best of luck to the Leagues tournament teams playing teams around the city and hopefully, around the country.