Volume 20 Issue 6 | June 22 - 28, 2007


Downtown’s Blue Jays capture league title

The Downtown Little League’s Blue Jays won their second title in three years over the weekend with a 7-3 victory over the Blues in Sunday’s final game of the Greenwich Village Little League Seniors Division playoffs at Murry Bergtraum High School Field. They advanced to the final with a 10-7 win over the Jazz Saturday.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said Blue Jays’ manager Michael Greenblatt. “All year long, they did it with pitching, good defense, aggressive base-running and timely hitting. This weekend was no exception. For a team of 14- and 15-year-olds, they played some real baseball.”

On Sunday, Blue Jays starting pitcher Will Gibbons went six innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs while striking out seven and walking four. Gibbons overcame a rocky first inning in which he walked two batters, allowed two hits and two runs. He also belted a home run over the fence in right-centerfield in the bottom of the sixth to provide the eventual margin of victory.

Raymond Perez provided the big hit for the Blue Jays when he smacked a double with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning, racking up three R.B.I. In the top of the third, Pete Barbieri made a spectacular diving catch of a line-drive hit to left field. The Blues then tied the score, 3-3, on a single followed by a double. The Blue Jays answered in the bottom of the third: Barbieri scored the go-ahead (and eventual winning) run when he walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then stole home, evading the diving tag of the Blues’ catcher.

The Blue Jays were able to shut down the Blues high-powered offense over the remainder of the contest. Despite a sore shoulder, Blue Jays’ ace pitcher Sam Gilberg (5-0, regular season) came in and closed out the victory by retiring the side in the top of the seventh inning.

In Saturday’s semifinal game, the Blue Jays jumped out to a 8-2 lead over the Jazz after four innings and appeared to be cruising. But the Jazz staged a five-run rally in the sixth, made even more dramatic by the arrival of a thunderstorm with substantial rain and lightning, to pull within one run. Philip Kay, the Blues’ season-long offensive leader, pitched 5 1/3 innings, striking out seven and allowing three earned runs. Nick Meuceri recorded the final four outs of the game, three of them on strikeouts. For the Blue Jays, Perez went 2-for-3 with two R.B.I.; Gilberg had a two-run single; Meuceri contributed two R.B.I., and Kay, Gibbons, Luke-Smith Stevens and Eric Coler added one R.B.I. each.

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