Luke Marable reaches first base safely for the Yankees in a game against the Devil Rays.
Downtown Little League action
Tigers vs. Grays
Last Sunday saw the long-awaited Majors Division match-up between two Downtown aces, Jack Hatton of the Tigers and Gabe Kleiman of the Grays. In the first inning, the Tigers got a lead-off double from Andrew Puopolo. Jack Finio drove Puopolo in, but Klieman soon settled down, striking out the next seven Tigers in order.
Hatton was equally tough, allowing just one hit and no runs through the third. The Tigers got another two runs in the top of the third when Isaac Simons slapped a single to drive in Xavier Russo. Hatton helped his own cause in the top of the fourth, scoring a run. Jake Wegweiser also scored in the inning on a delay steal from third, bringing the lead to 5-0 for the Tigers.
The Tigers added four more runs in the fifth inning, but the Grays answered with grit in the bottom of the inning, scoring three. However, Sasha Auerbach and Isaac Simons executed a beautiful double play to quell the rally. With the bases loaded with Grays, Wyatt Gray came on in relief for the Tigers and managed to allow just one run.
The game finished as a 10-4 win for the Tigers.
Southpaw Jack Freedman of the Downtown Little Leagues Dodgers fires one in against the Braves Saturday.
Junior Minors Upper League
Devil Rays vs. Yankees
Under a cloudless sky on April 22 at the Battery Park City ballfields, the Downtown Little League Devil Rays staged a remarkable final-inning comeback to force a tie with the Yankees in Junior Minor Upper League action.
Sam Lieberman connects for a double.
The Devil Rays struck out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Jacob Turner and Mikio Lacapra singled to bring home Blas Lee. However, the Yankees responded with eight hits in the bottom of the inning, including a leadoff single by Ted Eustace and seven straight hits from Ariana Howard, Michael Bogdanos, Ethan Wallis, Tyler Rohan, Marcus Chan, David Lampietti and Louis Dannatt. The offensive surge put the Yanks up 5-1 heading into the second.
The second inning featured stellar play in the field from the Yankees rightfielder, Rohan, who assisted on all three outs. The Yanks tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the inning to bring the lead to 9-1.
The teams traded runs through the middle innings, as each squad showed off its defensive prowess. Entering the sixth and final frame, the Yankees seemed in control with a 12-4 lead. However, since the five-run mercy rule does not apply in the final inning, the Devil Rays had one final chance for a comeback.
The Rays rose to the challenge, stroking hit after hit. Singles by Hailey Coffey, Aidan Ostermaier and Eli Isikoff kept the rally alive. By the time the Yankees Luke Marable fielded a grounder, beating the runner to second to end the inning, the never-say-die Devil Rays had tied the score at 12 all. In the bottom of the sixth, Bogdanos stroked a one-out single. The next batter, Wallis, crushed a ball down the leftfield line. A game-winner if fair, the ball landed just foul, leaving each team with a hard-fought tie on its record.
Astros vs Reds
Saturdays early game this week featured two of the Minors toughest teams and Downtown Little League fans were not disappointed as this game went all the way to the final pitch.
The Astros were the first to take advantage. Lead-off specialist Bryan Speedy Gomez worked a game-opening walk, his first of three on the day. Steady backstop Michael the Professor Shorris also drew a free pass and team-leading R.B.I. man Conner the Babe Cimino picked up where he left off last week, smoking a liner into left to tally two for the visiting Astros. But starting pitcher Brennan Giffin bore down for the Reds and piled up three strikeouts (his first of 7 on the day) in the inning to end the threat.
Double threat Gomez took the mound and proceeded to demolish the Reds, wracking up six strikeouts of his own over three innings and shutting the Reds down for the first two innings with the help of some fine fielding by Axcel the Aviator Epps and first baseman Timothy ODonnell.
The Astros put together another rally in the third as the Professor smacked a sharp single to left, advanced on the Babes second hit of the day and was driven home by the Aviators sharp single up the middle to make it 3-0 Astros in the top of the third.
In the bottom stanza the Reds battled back as Tyler Kraehling lined a sharp single to left driving in Jack Kiehl to break the ice for the Reds and narrow the margin to 3-1.
Fine defense by the Reds held the Astros to a goose egg in the fourth as Brennan Giffins fine play at first stole a sure double from ODonnell, a screamer down the first base line. The Reds looked ready to take the lead in the second half of the fourth as their first two men drew walks off relief pitcher ODonnell, whose butterflies seemed ready to do him in until the Professor came out to the mound to settle him down. Whatever he said was magic as Tim found his rhythm and struck out three in a row, stranding two.
The fifth looked like it was all Astros early as the Professor worked another walk and the Babe hit his second homer of the season to increase the Astros lead to 5-1. The Reds however had other ideas as they took advantage of a tiring ODonnell, who walked the first two batters he faced. In came the Babe who seemed to slam the door getting Jack Kiehl to hit into what at first looked to be a double play opportunity, only to turn into a series of misplays and errors, filling the bases and setting the table for the Reds offensive star of the game, Spencer mighty mite Kiehl, who rocked the house with a tremendous drive to right center, clearing the bases for his first grand slam of the season, tying the game at 5.
The Astros however werent ready to quit as lead-off man Speedy Gomez worked his way aboard yet again, stole second and headed for home as Timmy ODonnell connected on a home run blast that rolled all the way to the right centerfield wall to pull the Astros ahead 7-5. You could cut the tension with a knife as Brennan Giffin drew the deciding walk to tie the game. Cimino blew a fastball down the middle to preserve the 7-7 tie.