Volume 20, Number 52 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | MAY 9 - 15, 2008

Downtown Express photos by Elisabeth Robert

Spencer Kiehl steals second for the Reds. Below, pitcher Kai Glick

Downtowners play hard through tough weather

Rookie Division
Athletics vs. Angels
Player enthusiasm was higher than the temperature this cold Saturday morning on the fields of Rockefeller Park. Pre-game calisthenics helped warm the players, intent on showing off their hitting and fielding skills despite the windy, damp day.

With Angels first at bat, Jeffrey Lau started the rally, sending a hit into the mitt of A’s third baseman Michael Morin, who, despite a good throw to first, was not able to beat the runner. Kaitlyn Parker, next at bat, took a determined stance and hit one hard for a single. Angel Oliver Ripps then slammed one out to left field, immediately followed by a line drive up the middle by Michael Trotta. 

With Alexander Brown up on deck taking serious practice swings, the A’s were nervous about ending this Angel rally. A’s fielder Michael Barbieri took some action and stopped a hard hit ball from going through his legs at second. 

Daniel Coffey, the next Angel at bat, sent a line drive past first base, with Edward Dowd and Alexa Klippel both sailing their hits high over the head of the pitcher. Last at bat was the Angels’ Dylan Gutierrez, who, in a show of strategy and skill, bunted and sped for first.

After a brief pep-talk huddle, the A’s were ready for their turn at bat. Putting a finger in the air to feel the direction of the wind, August Biggio then slammed a hit out to center field for a double. Dylan Knox hit, ran fast and made it to first, but was then hit in the knee with a line drive by batter/teammate Michael Morin. Dylan never flinched, as he advanced to second base.

Now it was the A’s turn to keep a rally going with batters Luke Sullivan and Luca Vertucci doing their jobs, both with solid hits to center field.  

Next at bat was Nate Braus, who excitedly screamed to the fans, “Oh Boy! – I’m up and bases are loaded; bases are loaded!” He did not disappoint and dropped one out to right field to bring two of his teammates home. Federico Cestero and Michael Barbieri  both had solid hits to the Angels’ infield, with Jack Beaumont hitting a line drive into the lap of the pitcher.

With both teams going two more innings back and forth, tit for tat, the biggest hit was also the last hit of the game by A’s batter James Purpora. After several swings, still determined to make a hit, he slammed one hard and far to center field to end the game between the Angels and A’s in a tie. What a crowd pleaser!   

Junior Minors
Orioles vs. Dodgers

It was a brisk Sunday morning on May 4, when the Orioles and Dodgers played to a spirited 4-4 tie. The Dodgers scored the games’ first run on an R.B.I. single by Luca Nickola. Luca’s hitting prowess was evident throughout the contest as he went three for three at the plate with three R.B.I. for the visiting team Dodgers. The Orioles exploded for four runs in the bottom of the first.

Justin Ng started the rally and came in to score on consecutive hits by Mateo Zules and Arjun Khorana. Back to back hits by Joshua Davis and Henry Bodwell led the Orioles to a 4-1 lead. A dramatic, unassisted play at third base by Isabel Zelter ended the inning. The top of the second inning ended in one of the most incredulous plays ever witnessed. With runners on first and second for the Dodgers, Duke Tsapalas caught a well-struck line drive and tagged second base and the runner coming from first for an unassisted triple play. The resilient Dodgers ultimately tied the game at 4-4, backed by the hard hit balls of Spencer “Hammy” Nelson and Chet Weissberg. A great game all around between two very well coached teams. 

Yankees vs. Pirates

In a hard fought match-up between the Yankees and the Pirates on Sunday, the Pirates jumped out to a commanding lead, largely due to Lloyd Chinn’s power display, going 3 for 4 with 3 home runs and 8 R.B.I. driving in Jaren Rodriguez on all 3 home runs.  Also with multiple hits for the Pirates were Ethan Berg, Ben Acker, Charlie Pomerantz, Jack Krupp, Milo Hume and Tyler Rose.  

But the Yankees showed their true colors by battling back in the last two innings.  Jason Bogdanos continued his torrid bases-loaded hitting, following last week’s grand slam with this week’s bases-clearing double.  The Yankees also got clutch 2-out hitting from Damon Watson, Luke Kinder, and Patrick Baumann, while Kami King and Conor Gubbins flashed serious leather in trying to shut down the Pirates attack.  When the dust settled, however, the Pirates won 13-7.

Minors Division
Reds vs. Cardinals

On a day tailor-made for baseball, spectators alternated between fleece and sunglasses to watch another exciting game at the B.P.C. fields. Luke Dilworth succumbed to the Reds’ Tyler Kraehling, leading off for the Cardinals with a strikeout. But Kraehling couldn’t keep up the magic and walked the next three batters: Ben Steinberg, Jack Steinberg and William Steere. Luke Carson grounded to first base for an out, but was credited with the R.B.I. 

The Reds, facing Cardinal pitcher Milo Schreier, led off with a single by Spencer Kiehl. Kraehling’s double brought in Kiehl, tying the score. Will Best struck out, and Kraehling stole third, making it easy for Tyler Rohan to drive him in with his sacrifice grounder to second base. Kai Glick followed with a base on balls and a stolen base, but was stranded on second. 

The Cardinals were unable to catch up to the Reds in three consecutive innings because of the Reds’ pitching phenom Glick. Schreier’s bloop single to the pitcher followed, and Douglass Stapler’s first hit of the season was a fine smack to center field. He was only credited with a single because of the quick defensive plays by the Reds. 

Sam Davis walked, loading the bases. The Reds squeaked out of it when Dilworth’s grounder to Kraehling at second base was neatly thrown to first to end the top of the second. Schreier handled the Reds well in the bottom of the inning, striking out three. Josh Steinberg was walked but stranded on first. It was a one-two-three inning for Glick when he struck out Ben Steinberg and Steere, and Jack Steinberg’s grounder to the pitcher was deftly handled for a put-out at first. But the Reds added another three in the bottom of the third, when Kiehl walked and Kraehling brought him home with a solid triple.

Best struck out, but Rohan’s single brought Kraehling home a split second before he was tagged at the plate by Jack Steinberg’s golden arm. Rohan stole second as Glick came to the plate. Before Glick’s pop fly was snagged in a diving catch by the heroic catcher, Rohan managed to steal third, forcing an overthrow which brought him home.  Sal Derogatis ended the inning with a grounder to Schreier. 

The Cardinals faced Glick’s searing heat again in the fourth. He struck out Carson, walked Wilson and hit Kaufman in the shoulder. When he walked Schreier and loaded the bases, the pressure was on again, but Glick coolly struck out Stapler and Barron to end another scoreless inning for the Cards. Schreier faced Mettle in the bottom of the inning, walking him, but striking out Josh Steinberg and Donnelly. Having reached his maximum pitch count, he was replaced by Dilworth, who walked Barwick but nicely fielded Kiehl’s grounder to shut out the Reds in the bottom of the fourth.

Glick was also retired in the fourth, and in stepped Best. It went downhill after his strikeout of Davis, as he struggled to find the strike zone. He walked seven consecutive batters: Dilworth, the Steinberg brothers, Steere, Carson, Wilson and Kaufman, before the coaches brought in Kiehl, who immediately struck out Shreier. However, the bases were still loaded when Stapler headed to the plate. His rocket-propelled grounder found a hole between first and second and continued into center field, where it went under the legs of Best, who was still preoccupied with the four runs he allowed as pitcher. 

The jubilant Stapler rounded the bases and celebrated the rare eight-run inning with a flying bear hug to his dad, coach Alan Stapler. The Reds had their work cut out for them in the fifth, but Kraehling’s pop fly was neatly handled by none other than Jack Steinberg, who had moved to first base from catcher. Best struck out, and it was up to Rohan who ripped a home-run distance foul ball and swung at another great pitch from Dilworth, but ended up with a base on balls. Glick brought him home with a stand-up triple, a smash over the shortstop’s head into left centerfield. 

Derogatis was hit by a pitch, and three consecutive walks to Oliver Mettle, Josh Steinberg and Miles Donnelly moved some more Reds across the plate, closing the gap to one run. Liam Barwick struck out to end the spree, and the Cardinals came to the plate in the top of the sixth, leading 9-8. They were unable to do much against Kiehl, who struck out Barron and Jack Steinberg. He walked Davis, but Dilworth’s grounder to second put Davis out with a neat toss to the Glick at shortstop, who had come over to cover the base. Dilworth stole to third base, and Ben Steinberg was walked, but the Cards were unable to make it home to increase their lead.

The atmosphere was charged as the Reds came to bat in the bottom of the sixth. Dilworth walked Kiehl and Kraehling, who stole bases as Best fanned. Rohan drew a base on balls. With the bases loaded, the Cards brought in Carson for his lifetime pitching debut. Glick was also hungry for a hit, but his fly ball was snagged by Ben Steinberg. Derogatis came to the plate with two outs, bases loaded.  His walk tied the game and Mettle finished with a walk-off walk to bring the final score, Reds 10, Cardinals 9.

Eagles vs. Hornets

The Eagles came out on top by a score of 7-6 in a nail biter against the Hornets on Wednesday night, April 30.  The Eagles scored in the top of the first off of a Taro Nakagawa single and a towering home run over the left field fence by Michael Klusendorf. 

The Hornets, immediately answered, scoring two runs in the bottom of the inning with Bryan Gomez and Chris Baumann knocking in runs.  The scoring continued in the second inning, when the Eagles’ Chris Yee tripled to drive in a run and then scored on a single by Noah Kahan to put the Eagles back up by two.  After the Hornets cut the deficit in half with a triple by Matthew Welden and an R.B.I. by Axel Epps.

Klusendorf’ responded again with a two-run double in the third inning, making the score 6-3.  The Hornets tied the score with a three-run fourth on successive hits by Baumann, Luca Lesser, and Michael Shores.  The score remained tied until the sixth inning, when Louis Moreschi tripled and then scored the go-ahead run on a single by Klusendorf.  Hornets starter Henry Costello pitched five strong innings for the Hornets and reliever Will Merrill pitched 2 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball for the Eagles.  
Giants vs. Hornets 

The Giants hosted the Hornets in a  greatly anticipated grudge match Sunday.  Sean McGowan got the start for the Giants, getting the top of the order to fly out to Giant right fielder, Taylor Myers.   Hornet ace Chris Baumann struck back with a one two three bottom as well.  In the second, Sean continued a no-hitter facing only four batters and giving up a walk to Baumann.  Baumann was able to pitch out of trouble after giving up walks to Weston Priest, Josh Lorberbatt, Michael Watanabe, and Ethan Opheim.  Chris escaped with no runs in the bottom of the inning with two K’s and fielding help with a beautiful throw from Hornet catcher to stop a stolen base.

The Hornets threatened to break the stalemate with runners on the corners after Matthew Weldon and Axel Epps drew walks.  The rally was shortlived after Weston Priest, Gabe Smith and Matt Wilens executed a bang-bang 6-4-3 double play. The Giants’ bats came alive in the bottom of the inning when Jake Kiehl smacked a two-run triple, scoring Taylor Myers and Gabe Smith who had reached on walks. Jake was able to add one more by stealing home.

But the Hornets were not going to give up without a fight and came right back in the top of the fourth.  Henry Costello got an R.B.I. on a ground ball scoring Michael Banks who had reached on a walk. Trevor Cronin walked and scored after Bryan Gomez hit a grounder to advance Trevor to bring the Hornets to within one.  The Hornets threatened more when Baumann and Luca Leeser were able to get on base with walks of Zach Tractenberg pitching in relief.   Hornet reliever, Bryan Gomez was able to pitch out of trouble after giving up a singe to Gabe Smith and a double to Jake Kiehl.

In the fifth the slim one-run lead Tractenberg settled down and retired 3 out of 4 batters giving up only one walk to Axel Epps.  The Giants were able to add an insurance run on a monster lead off solo home run from Zach Tractenberg.  Gomez retired the next three out of four batters stranding Opheim who had reached on a walk.

Giant reliever, Jake Kiehl, was able to shut down any hopes of  a last inning rally, retiring the side in order. The Giants won 4 –2.

Crawfords vs. Eagles

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon for baseball, Tom Merrill’s undefeated Newark Eagles hosted Ross Weingarten’s feisty Pittsburgh Crawfords in an exciting game that was up for grabs until the final pitch.

From the outset, the Crawfords’ Isaac Simons was ready for Eagle flamethrower Michael Klusendorf, getting the Crawfords off to a quick start with a base hit up the middle.  He was later brought home on Adam Kester’s double.  Kester then scored on an R.B.I. groundout by catcher Peter Manny to give the Crawfords a quick 2-0 lead.  The Eagles answered in the bottom of the first, as catcher Louis Moreschi led off with a base hit and came around to score on Dean Scotti’s R.B.I. walk.

        After strong second innings from both starting pitchers, the Crawfords scratched out another run in the third.  Simons again led off with a hit and his aggressive base running caused a series of errant throws by the Eagles infielders that later allowed him to score after stealing second.  The Eagles rallied to score five in the bottom of the third to take a 6-3 lead.  Klusendorf’s long double to center plated two runs and a base hit by Clay Walsh scored Klusendorf, as the Eagles inched ahead.  After Chris Yee was hit by a pitch, Noah Kahan’s double scored Dean Scotti and Yee.  Walsh, however, was gunned down at the plate as Zach Kraehling made a terrific throw to catcher Peter Manny who applied the tag as Walsh tried to elude him.

The Crawfords inched closer in the fourth.  With the bases loaded and two outs, Jacob Roter battled off several tough pitches and eventually worked an R.B.I. walk to tighten the score to 6-4.  Reliever Noam Saul held the Eagles scoreless in the fourth, setting the stage for a Crawfords comeback in the fifth inning.  Nathan Goldberg, Simons and Kester all worked walks in advance of a long triple to right field by Peter Manny that emptied the bases, giving him four RBIs on the day and putting the Crawfords ahead 7-6.  But, as was typical of this see-saw battle, the Eagles countered, scoring on a bases-loaded walk to knot the score at 7-7.  With the bases still loaded, the fifth inning ended on an unusual double play as the Crawfords fielded a grounder at short and forced out the runner at second while also benefiting from an interference call, which ended the rally.

Excellent relief pitching took over in the sixth inning as Louis Moreschi, for the Eagles, and Peter Manny, for the Crawfords, were both untouchable and silenced the cheering crowd by striking out the side.  An exciting, back and forth battle ended in a 7-7 tie.





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