Downtown Express photos by Elisabeth Robert
Marlin Joshua Lorberblatt slides in safely to second while Bryan Gomez goes for the ball in a Downtown Little League game over the weekend.
The Rockies earned the Downtown Little Leagues Major Division championship on Monday with a 5-4 win over the Astros, capping a sweep of the leagues first-ever playoffs.
The Rockies struck first, edging a run across the plate in the first inning. The Astros struck back with two runs, the Rockies responded with two runs, and the Astros tied the score at 3-3 late in the game. In the bottom of the fifth, the Rockies mounted a two-out rally, with key hits by Dexter Zimet and Justin Valenzuela, giving them the lead. The Astros had runners on second and third base in the sixth inning when Rockies hurler Eamon Gallagher tossed a perfect third strike to end the game. A dozen Rockies rushed onto the field and lifted their victory trophies high above their heads.
Jake Shapiro pitched a complete game for the Astros with beautiful control. Defensively, the Astros had some extraordinary defensive plays by Elijah Turner on second base, Cal Cook at shortstop, Sam Youkilis on third base, Rahul Khanna in left field and Shapiro on the pitchers mound. Alex Wainger anchored the infield on first base.
Nick Vega and Zane Holmes led the Astros offense with two key hits each, while Cook, Shapiro and Khanna each contributed hits that kept the see-saw battle going with the Rockies. The swift base running of Matt Tuzzino and Eli Jossen also added to the Astros offensive output.
Zimet, Eben Cooper and Charles Brillo-Sonnino led the Rockies offense. Pitchers Gallagher and Justin Valenzuela tossed strike after strike, and Grant Glovin, Isaac Simons, Anthony Vitale and Eddie Owens flashed leather to stop a powerful Astros lineup. Sam Cohen and Leighton Brillo-Sonnino had solid hits and plays in the field, and the Rockies victory was even more remarkable because they were missing key contributor Josh Blaney, who was out with an injury. All in all, the championship win was a total team effort.
The Rockies marched to the championship game with thrilling playoff wins over the White Sox and Dodgers. The Astros beat the Blue Jays and Cubs to earn their place in the finals. Every game was close in the first season of the Downtown Little League playoffs, with all games decided by at most two runs, and highlighted by a classic pitching duel between Mark LaGreca, Jr. and Cal Cook in one of the semifinal games when the Astros topped the Cubs 1-0 in a 7-inning squeaker.
D.L.L. Angels beat Stuyvesant
An exciting Juniors division consolation bracket Championship Final pitted the number one seed Angels from the Downtown Little League against the number two seed Cardinals from the Peter Stuyvesant Little League in Central Park Sunday.
The Cardinals came out like gangbusters in the first inning and roughed up the Angels number one starter and season-long ace, Eric Coler. They batted around the order and took away a 5 0 lead by the top half of the first inning.
However, the Angels proved themselves resilient once again, didnt pack it in and showed the resolve against adversity theyve learned from coaches. As a result, in the bottom of the first, the Angels sent up their whole lineup and scored seven runs with key hits by second baseman Timmy Rossi, Coler, center fielder Felix Chmiel, and first baseman Sean Wils, and also through great base-stealing by Rossi, Wils, Jackson McGonagle and Jukie Tsai.
However, the never-say-die Cardinals responded to the Angels rally with a rally of their own. In the top of the second inning, they sent eight men to the plate and retook the lead with five hits, two walks and three runs scored. Half way through the second inning, the score was 8 7 with the Cardinals in the lead.
In the bottom of the second, the Angels bats responded to the Cardinals lead. Again the Angels sent their whole batting order to the plate, and, again, the Angels scored five runs to retake the lead. This time around, the Angels rode the bats and base-running of right fielder Scott Franchi, left fielder Lucas Franjdlich, designated hitter Nestor Ouranitsas, first baseman Eren Adriansen, right fielder and short stop Owen Kimmel, and second baseman and short stop Vincent Licata, staking out another 5 runs, to retake the lead 12 8.
In the third, the Cardinals hot bats were silenced by relief pitcher Sean Wils as he faced only four batters.
In contrast, in the bottom of the third, McGonagle led off with a solid single, followed by consecutive hits and walks by Tsai, Coler, Adriansen and Ouranitsas, leading to what would be the final score of 13 8. Because of time constraints and extremely long innings, the umpires called the game at the end of the third with the Angels named as the Consolation Champions!
Overall, this win puts the Angels winless in 2005 and with one win in their first six games in 2006 at the .500 mark for the 2006 season. That feat in itself was a huge one for the players and coaches of the D.L.L. Angels.
Braves vs. Mets
The Rookie Ball season ended last Saturday with the Braves hosting the Mets at the Battery Park City ballfields. Braves slugger Jack Jones slammed a gigantic home run to drive his team. Braves fans also cheered clutch hitters Ethan Berg, Melisa Hester and Noah de Guchteneere who all collected multiple hits in the game.
Mets highlights included the smooth fielding of Palmer Menken and Maya Greenbergs speedy base running. Mets batter James Stinnett ripped line drives down the baseline while power hitter Lauren Davidson crushed the ball deep into the outfield.
Philles vs Indians
On the first real sunny day in quite a while, the Phillies and the Indians met for the final game of the season. The Indians Melina Driscoll, Devyn Zaminski, Julian Goldberg and Max Dell-Thibodeau all hit singles. Felix Barwick hit an R.B.I. single up the third base line and Jackson Robbins hit a high fly ball to center field for an R.B.I. single.
The first inning also saw some great fielding by the Phillies. William Sisson caught a high popup for an out, and Katie Higgins got a groundball and threw to first base for another out. The Phillies Charlie Scruton, Julian Kaufman. Sisson, Indy Halpern and Higgins all hit singles, Alexander Burnett and Ash Hawthorne hit R.B.I. singles, and Morgan Witt hit a 2-R.B.I. double.
The second inning saw some hard hits from the Indians, which brought the runs in, but good plays by the Phillies kept the game tied. Hawthorne had two grounders as pitcher and threw to first for two putouts. Hawthorne also led off the second inning with a single rolling past second base. Higgins hit for a single, and Halpern hit a single up the third base line. Witt and Sisson both had R.B.I. singles, and Burnett hit another high fly ball over center field for a 2-R.B.I. double. Kaufman hit a single to center field, and Scruton hit a high fly to third base for an R.B.I. single.
With the Indians at bat in the third inning, the game became a nailbitter when they scored several runs and took the lead. However, some great defensive plays from the Phillies were made. Scruton caught a high pop up for an out, tagged the runner for another out and stepped on third for a triple play. Also, Sisson threw to second for an out, and Higgins had a great play at first for an out.
With these power hits, the game ended in a tie. Both teams were sad to see the season end, and look forward to meeting on the field next year.
Devil Rays vs. Orioles
The Junior Minors season ended Sunday with a stern test for its remaining undefeated team the Orioles. With the thermometer already at 90 by 10:15 a.m. game time, the Devil Rays took the field with the idea of dealing the birds their first loss and improving their own record to 7-1.
Both defenses were airtight, and no runs crossed the plate until the third inning. Then the Orioles bats boomed. Staked to a five run lead by the hitting of Louis Dannatt, Walter Bernath and Zach Tractenberg, they seemed headed for a blowout.
Then the Devil Rays came alive. Sparked by the defense of Ben Karam and Jack McGreevy and augmented by the stinging line drive hitting of Moses Rubin, the Rays crept back into it. Then the Orioles slammed the door, thanks to the late inning defense of Tractenberg and Theo Klein.
White Sox vs. Red Sox
The White Sox and Red Sox battled hard in the last game of the season. The Red Sox jumped out to an early lead, scoring five runs in the first inning with hits from Meryl Chan (two for three), Brody Sharoff, two doubles from Gabriel Quinones and Thomas Bate with Alec Tullock hitting a 2-R.B.I. triple line drive to left field.
In the second inning the White Soxs Kelly De Klerk singled and was driven home by Ben Beaumonts double to center field. The Red Sox scored three more runs in their half of the second inning with Ben Norrito, Lev Gordon, and Jack Fitzmaurice touching home. Alden Cope and Cole Barker added some fielding punch, which helped to hold the Red Sox in check in the third inning.
With the score 9 to 1 the White Sox started their own rally with 4 runs in the bottom of the third. Hits from Karyna Lambert and Cameron Lamser started them off while Sam Duffy and Yani Porter had singles that drove them in with Cameron making a great slide at the plate to score. Later that inning Roman Junceau had a 2-R.B.I. double over the left fielders head. The Red Sox had some outstanding fielding plays to shut down the White Sox in the bottom of the fourth, when Marcus Chan threw to first base for an out and Tullock made a diving catch for another out.
Judah Lang of the Red Sox and Lambert of the White Sox both went three for three for the day. In the fifth inning Matthew Burnett hit an R.B.I. single up the first base line while the Red Sox added five more runs. The White Sox came back once again with three runs in their half of the fifth and three more runs in the sixth with Eva Vignola and Ben Beaumont scoring.
Ultimately the Red Sox prevailed with Simon Miles and Sarah Miles providing key hits in the sixth to drive in two more runs.
Dodgers vs. Yankees
The Dodgers and Yankees finished their respective seasons with great team efforts. The Dodgers Emily Glovin, Olivia Wolk, Theo Simko and Maread Farrell made important offensive contributions. As usual, Uriah Frederick was strong in the field. Liam Lawlor made a fantastic play in the fifth inning ranging to his right near third and making a perfect throw to first. Lucas Pryor once again demonstrated great poise and patience at the plate collecting several hits.
For the Yankees, Rae Finio and Dylan Miles made eye-popping unassisted putouts in the field, Michael Bogdanos and Catherine Kemer turned a smooth 4-3 combination and Rick Mortenson and Iliano Memmo anchored an airtight infield, Hannah Sklover and Alexandra Agnifilo saved several runs each with their clutch throwing, and Cole Hawthorne used his baseball savvy to save another score.
At the plate, Delia Costello, Spencer Kiehl, and Sofia Agnifilo slugged R.B.I. hits, and Michael Bogdanos came up big, hitting a shot up the middle with the bases loaded.
Braves vs. Giants
The weather was forecasted to be very warm on Saturday, but the game between these two talented teams didnt actually heat up until the fifth inning. The setting was Governors Island.
The Braves were unable to get more than six players to arrive on time and had to face the Giants at full strength. Teddy Eustace led off, and in a rare occasion, he batted seventh as well for the Braves in the first inning. His first at-bat was a linedrive right to the glove of shortstop Sam The Masher Liberman. Dylan Paige, Yannick De Guchteneere, Advay Sriram and Justin Lam each followed with a single.
By the time Teddy Eustace was up again, the Braves were ahead 2-0 and the remaining three players were heading over from the ferry terminal. George Kaltner stepped right up to bat with an R.B.I. single. Mikio Lacapra followed with a 3-R.B.I. double, calling on the mercy rule to end that half of the inning.
The Giants answered with a lead off single from Simon Big Glove Curtis-Ginsberg. Elias Silver Streak Griffin brought him in with a homerun blast to left field. Dario Posada Flores followed with a single, demonstrating skillful base-running skills moments following a sacrifice by Dante Inferno Stoeri-DArrigo that brought him to third. Mateo El Capitan Flores followed with an R.B.I. single.
The Braves Chase Kaltner led off with a single, but was caught in a neat double play with a fly-out to Jacob Golden Glove Roter, resulting in a scoreless inning. The Giants Josh Flash Steinberg was out at first with a great defensive play by the Braves shortstop, but Matthew Clutch Levine was able to get on base. Liberman brought him home with a triple (sliding on his stomach to avoid the close throw from the outfield). Jacob Roter, in turn, brought Sam home with a single. Luke Boom-Boom Dilworth smacked a single, and both players were brought home when Tyler Mr. Wheels tattooed a double. Clyde The Bopper Huibregtse, Simon Curtis-Ginsberg and Brandon Speed Demon Mirabella also hit singles, ending the inning with five runs for the Giants.
The Braves had another scoreless inning in the third (another fly-out to Roter). The Giants were only able to score one run in the bottom of the third, with singles from Elias Griffin, Dante Stoeri-DArrigo, Mateo Flores and Luke Crackers Marable.
The Braves picked up three more in the fourth, with consecutive singles by George Kaltner, Lacapra, Chase Kaltner (R.B.I.), Dylan Paige (R.B.I.), Douglass Stapler (R.B.I.), De Guchteneere and Sriram.
The Braves Eustace was put out at first, and Lacapra rose to the occasion, starting a streak of singles. Chase Kaltner and Dylan Paige followed suit. Douglass Stapler poked a double, and De Guchteneere and Sriram hit R.B.I. singles to bring the deficit to just two runs.
Once it was clear there wouldnt be enough time for a sixth inning, the teams ended the season with a picnic in the field and trophy presentations for all.
Red Sox vs. Phillies
Saturday 6/17/0 The Red Sox defeated the Phillies in the final game of the season for both teams. Louis Moreschi pitched two perfect innings for the Red Sox before ceding the mound to Dylan Prior, who made his pitching debut for the Red Sox. Justin Wenig, Moreschi, Alex Wenig, Jack Anderson and Tyler Paige all had extra-base hits for the Red Sox.
For the Phillies, Theo Fendrich made an outstanding catch in centerfield. Michael and Anthony Marino each scored a run. Ryan Porcaro pitched well in relief, and Leanne Elefteratis had a put out at first base.
Downtown Express congratulates the Downtown Little League players and coaches on a great season.