This year’s Downtown Little League team of 9- and 10-year-olds played well in the tournament getting two wins before being knocked out.
Downtown tourney team knocked out after strong showing
On a lovely summer evening, in beautiful Inwood Park, far, far away from the Battery Park City ball fields, the Downtown Team of 9- and 10-year-olds (1 win, 1 loss) faced Harlem.
Jack McGreevey started the action with a hard grounder to left center for a stand-up triple. Moses Rubin cranked one to left field for an R.B.I. double. McGreevey threw hard and well to the top of Harlem’s order, striking out three. The Downtown team was scoreless in the second, and let Harlem catch up and take the lead in the bottom of the inning. Roma hit a hard chopper to 3rd, and stole all the way to home. Prince was called out for running out of the base path, avoiding the second run. But some walks, bunts and errors brought Harlem to 3.
The Downtown Team had a field day in the third, starting with a walk by Michael Bogdanos. Ryan Porcaro reached first on a catcher’s interference call. McGreevey’s next cannon dropped shy of right field, and while the runners advanced, Rodwell’s rocket to home kept them from scoring. For the moment. With the bases loaded, Rubin bounced one high, scoring Bogdanos. Doug Stapler’s soaring double brought in two runs, and William Steere’s triple brought in another run. Gabe Quinones tripled, bringing in a run. Nick Leong’s double gave him a ribbie as well. Valentino Rosa took a base on balls and stole second, and by the time the inning ended, the Downtown team was ahead 8-3.
Ryan Porcaro relieved McGreevey on the mound in the top of the third, and between the two of them, only allowed one run when Koch’s single up the first base line drove in Prince.
Stapler reached first on an error in the top of the fourth and stole second. Leong, Rosa and James Borrelli walked, adding another run for Downtown.
Now down 9-4, Harlem’s Swenia started things off with a crank to left field. Bramble went down looking, Roma’s grounder to Quinones resulted in Perry being forced out at second, but drove in a run. Downtown tried to peg him at third, but the ball was overthrown and he crossed the plate himself. Harlem played their best defense in the top of the 5th, with Bramble on the mound. Stapler walked and stole second, but was stranded on base. Harlem’s Foy cranked a grounder with wheels, and crossed the plate to the cheers of the Harlem fans. Porcaro (aided by an awesome catch by Dante Secada-Oz) kept them to that one run, though, and the score was now 9-7.
In the top of the sixth, Quinones led off with a double, stole third and stole home on an overthrow. Secada-Oz slammed the ball to left field, right into the glove of Harlem’s Swenia, who couldn’t hold onto it. Clyde Huibregtse, fresh off the reserve list, walked a run in. Borrelli was hit by a pitch and loaded the bases. Porcaro’s single drove in a run, as did McGreevey’s base on balls. Rubin and Stapler joined the fun with R.B.I. singles, and Steere walked a run in himself. Quinones’s single drove in a run, and Secada-Oz loaded up the bases with his one-bagger. Huibregtse was hit by a pitch, bringing in another run, and McGreevey’s double brought in runs 10 and 11 for the rout.
Down 20-7, the Harlem team, with intense coaching from the side by Matthew John, was no match for Porcaro and his defense. Bramble’s pop fly was gloved nicely by McGreevey, Rodwell’s by Borrelli, and Prince went down looking for the third and final out of Downtown’s most exciting game yet.
Season ends with Stuy
Facing Stuyvesant again, but with more “practice” and playing at the Westside field, the Downtown team was excited to redeem their 9-0 loss. Four walks and R.B.I. singles made a difficult start for the Downtown team, however, and they faced the bottom of the first down 4-0. But Jack Conlon walked Ryan Porcaro, and Moses Rubin’s shot to left center field advanced both runners. Jack McGreevey’s double brought in the first run, and Douglass Stapler’s one-bagger drove in the second. Michael Bogdanos walked, but the inning ended with the team down 4- 2.
In the second inning, the Stuyvesant team batted around the order again, starting with a walk. Brian O’Connor’s liner to left field was handled well by Tyler Rohan, who threw all the way to home to keep Isaiah Yim from scoring. More walks and R.B.I. singles increased the lead even more, until Gabriel Quinones made a leaping catch and turned it into a double play. Down 13-2, the Downtown team was only able to add one run in the second, when Rubin walked and McGreevey’s double drove him in.
The Downtown defense kept Stuyvesant scoreless in the third, though. James Borrelli made two consecutive put-outs from second base to Dante Secada-Oz on first base. McGreevey’s great fielding of a ball hit to him at centerfield kept Sean Jennings from getting more than a single. And a grounder to Quinones at short stopped the runner at third with a force-out. The Downtown team was unable to narrow the gap in the bottom of the inning due to searing heat from Conlon and excellent defense at his back.
In the top of the fourth, Stuyvesant continued to add the runs, with walks and wild pitches and R.B.I. doubles bringing the score to an unbeatable 18.
Jackson Vertucci, fresh off the D.L. and just having snagged a pop fly in the air, took a base on balls to start the bottom of the fourth for Downtown. (And this was his second at-bat; his first was declared ineligible when the league scorekeeper noticed that two players occupying the same place in the batting order were both on the field). Borrelli walked as well, but a heads-up play by Bryce Andrew resulted in two outs, and a groundout ended Downtown’s hopes to go further in the tournament.
Despite the two crushing losses to Stuyvesant, this is the furthest a Downtown Little League team has ever gotten in tournament play, and the two wins over Inwood and Harlem proved that this was a team to be reckoned with. Congratulations are due for the hard work and dedication of the entire team:
Michael Bogdanos, Moses Rubin, Jackson Vertucci, Jack McGreevey, Gabriel Quinones, Tyler Rohan, Douglass Stapler, Ryan Porcaro, James Borrelli, Nicky Leong, Valentino Rosa, Liam Fuerst, Niall Gallagher, Elan Halpern, Clyde Huibregtse, Dante Secada-Oz, William Steere and Jacob Turner.