Volume 18 • Issue 10 | July 29 - August 4, 2005

Better showing for Downtown tourney teams

The two Downtown Little League tournament teams were eliminated from the competition, but coaches say the league took a big step forward this year.

“Downtown Little League made a very, very strong showing in this year’s tournament,” Jimmy Nolan, the district administrator for New York’s Little League, told coaches.

The 9 and10-year-olds lost on July 14 to a Stuyvesant Town team. The team was 2-2 and was not eliminated until the bottom of the last inning when a wild pitch scored the winning run on a bang-bang play at the plate with two outs and two strikes on the batter. The final score was 13-12, but the Downtown team fought hard to come back from a score of 9-2 after the first inning to end up leading 12-10 in the fifth.

“Seven of our kids had legitimate base hits in this game against darn good pitching,” said manager Mark Hatton.

Led by slugger Josh Lawrence, Downtown batsmen included Clayton Brandt, Gabe Kleiman, Jake Bader, Michael Porter, Weston Priest and manager Hatton’s son, starting pitcher Jack. After enduring a three-week crash course in outfield play from the coaching staff, Joseph DeMarco, Jake Wegweiser, Weston Loving and Ethan Gooderum all made outstanding plays in the outfield.  

Jack Hatton appeared a little rattled in the first inning, but shut down Stuyvesant afterwards allowing no hits the rest of the way, Hatton said.

“What inspired me the most was the way the team rallied around each other chanting, rooting and cheerleading as much down by seven as when up by two,” Hatton said. Kevin Loving also coached the team.

  In an after-the-game meal in Washington Heights much of the team came to understand that this game was no simple loss but a big step forward and a victory for the baseball program that has become the Downtown Little League.  

The tournament team of 11 and 12-year-olds suffered two tough losses against East Harlem, and two weeks later against Harlem on July 6, and was eliminated from the National Little League tournament that ends up in Williamsport, Penn. 

In the first game, D.L.L. faced tough pitching and were only able to get one hit against East Harlem ace James Norwood.  Brandon Diaz pitched well enough to win giving up only three runs in five innings of work. 

Runs and hits were not in short supply for D.L.L. in the second game against Harlem.  The Downtowners scored two runs in the top of the first on three consecutive hits by Nick Morton, Sam Fishman and Mark LaGreca.  In the top of the third, D.L.L. scored two more runs when four players reached base consecutively, including Felix Chmiel’s two-run double. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Downtown scored three more runs when five players reached base in a row, but it was not enough to top the tough Harlem team, which won 12-7. 

The team included Owen Kimmel, Nick Morton, Sam Fishman, Mark LaGreca, Vincent Licata, Felix Chmiel, Devon Kolb, Jess Coleman, Alex Wainger, Ridley Yongue and Brandon Diaz.

— Compiled and written by Lauren Dzura and Downtown Little League coaches


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