Volume 22, Number 01 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 15 - 21, 2009

Downtown Little League game highlights

Junior Minor Lower

Astros vs Brewers
The first meeting of the season between the Astros and the Brewers proved to be an entertaining treat for the moms (and dads) on a sunny Mother’s Day afternoon. Both teams demonstrated their abilities in the field and at the plate. For the visiting Astros, Saxon Dilworth started a second inning rally by reaching base with a good hit and was followed later that inning by Mateo Nickola who stroked a double into left field.

Throughout the game the Astros bats were alive, with Will

Zimmerman, Gabriel Chalker and Connor Donigian hitting the ball well.

Elijah Yong in right field connected with Jack Doyle for a throw out at first base while Milo Kern stole a base hit by catching a difficult fly ball to deep second. Jon Anthony Jablonski, Oliver Ripps, Breny Group and Edward Dowd were also strong on defense by making some great fielding plays.

Although the Brewers were handed their first defeat of the season thanks largely to the Astros smothering defense, their bats were able to pound out some hits and keep the game close. Luke Silver, who would later save a run at the plate by out-sprinting and tagging a speedy Astros baserunner, led the Brewers with a solo homer. Other Brewer standouts included catcher Michael Morin who scored from second sliding safely across the plate, Roman Hoey who tripled and James Purpora, Joseph Safer-Bakal and Nico Lord who slammed singles.

Devil Rays vs Marlins
The Devil Rays and the Marlins had a fun and competitive spirited game early Sunday morning.  Fielding a limited team, the Devil Rays managed with strong defensive plays and successful hitting by everyone in the line-up.  Dylan Fineman, Andre Dang, and Lorenzo Frugiuele each had smashing hits early to give the Devil Rays a lead.  Eli and Harper Harrell each had several hits and each had a “B.B.I.” or brother batted in.  The Marlins were able to keep the game close due to stellar defensive plays from Jesse Ingerman, Nate Braus and Beattie Bern-Millman. 

As the morning progressed, the Marlins’ offense came to life and they showed their competitive spirit by mounting a strong comeback behind key hits from Rubin Parker, Miles Briggs, Bo Nordberg and Braden Donoian.   However, the stellar Devil Rays’ defense was able to stop a last rally by the Marlins.  The Devils Rays’ defense was anchored by the reliable play of Carter Weaver, Aaron Agudelo and Noah Zaleman.  Harper made several defensive contributions, including snaring a line drive while playing shortstop. The teams did a great job preparing for the game.

Downtown Tigers vs. Stuyvesant Yankees
With many of their mothers in attendance, the Junior Downtown Tigers celebrated Mothers Day with a versatile display of pitching, slugging, and slick glovework, beating the Stuyvesant Yankees by a score of 20 - 4 at Pier 40.  

The Tigers are a team of 13- and 14-year-olds playing on a Major League-sized diamond (with 90-foot basepaths as opposed to the 60-foot basepaths used by Little Leaguers from ages 7 through 12).  Roughly half of the Tigers squad are in their first weeks of play on the larger diamond, and the team’s uneven work in prior contests reflected this inexperience.  Manager Steve Curasco’s Tigers split their exhibition schedule, winning one game and losing another, going 2-1 in regulation play in April.  But even in victory, the team had looked inexperienced at times.

But on Sunday, the talented Tigers put it all together.  Starting pitcher Lucas Ortega was absolutely dominant, striking out six of the first seven Yankees faced, not allowing a ball in play until the third inning.  Roy Vleck and Campbell Weaver, both returning Tigers from the 2008 club, pitched ably in relief. 

Vleck and Weaver were both aided by stout defense.  First baseman Nicky Bader continued his nimble play at first, staying with a tricky, twisting popup in foul territory toward the stands at Pier 40.  Third baseman Jack Finio made two fluid plays at third, while Isaac Simon narrowly missed a tremendous assist from deep in the shortstop hole.  Catcher and team leader Kyle Maer kept the Stuyvesant running game at bay over the first three innings.  Tyler Paige, spelling Maer behind the dish, did the same.

Most of all, the Tigers slugged.  Pitcher and centerfielder Vleck had two booming doubles, including a shot pulled high and far down the left field line at Pier 40, perhaps the longest “bomb’ yet hit by any Tiger slugger in 2009.  Daniel Komanoff lined a double down the line, shortstop Isaac Simon was on base five times, and second baseman Henry Costello notched his first hit of 2009, an R.B.I. single to right, walked twice and scored twice.  Chris Riddick drilled a sharp single up the middle to break open the scoring in the first, an explosive inning capped by Jake Bader’s majestic three-run home run to left center.

Stuyvesant also had its standouts.  John Mulvahill led the offense with two hits. Jack McCabe pitched well in relief.  Scrappy second baseman Billy Joyce was in the middle of numerous plays all day, battling the closer Vleck in a memorable showdown with two outs and runners on in the final inning.  Joyce worked the count full, fouling off numerous pitches.  But the veteran Vleck won the confrontation, catching Joyce with called strike three to end the game.


Reds vs. Tigers
Starting for the Reds was flamethrower Douglass Stapler.  He squared off against the Tigers leadoff hitter, Ethan Wallis. Ethan hit a solid ground ball to the Reds third baseman, Liam Doyle.  Doyle was able to stop the ball on a nice play but the throw was too long and Ethan reached on a single. Michael Bogdanos hit a line drive triple into the right center field gap rolling all the way to the wall.  A good relay, however, kept him at third, which would turn out to be important because Doug settled down and struck out two out of the next three hitters to retire the side, giving up just one run.  Doyle led off the game with a walk for the Reds and was immediately pushed to third when Tyler Rohan roped a solid line drive to right center.  The next two hitters reached base on walks, and Tyler Adams followed with a shot to left.  But the Tigers had him played perfectly and he was erased on a good catch by Alexander Komanoff.  The chain kept moving as four out of the next five hitters (Tucker Rothbart, Jonah Frere-Holmes, Luke Marable and Trevor Maruffi) reached on walks, and the first inning scoring ended at 5-1 Reds. 

In the 2nd, the Tigers drew four walks to produce one run and close the deficit to 5-2.  The Reds went quietly in the bottom of the inning, and in the top of the 3rd Simon Miles led off the inning with a piercing line drive triple over the head of the left fielder.  Two out of the next three hitters reached on walks and Jonah Weinstein lined a base hit to center field.  Rothbart made a stellar play and quickly threw out the runner at second on a bang-bang play.  In the bottom of the inning however, Stapler stepped up to the plate and delivered a soaring blast deep to the tree beyond left field, clearing the bases.  At the end of three, Reds led 11-5. 

In the fourth the Tigers threatened, but could only plate two runs and left the bases loaded.  In the bottom of the inning, the Reds led off with two consecutive hits by Marable and Maruffi and went on to score five runs.

Entering the fifth inning, which would be their last because of a time limit, the Tigers stared at a large deficit, but they certainly did not go down quietly.  The first three Tiger hitters reached base and Nick Leong struck a hit just over the reach of Doyle at third and just inside the left field line.  Michael Bogdanos hit a similar ball down the right field line and Ethan Wallis scored on the play.  The dangerous Miles stepped up again and delivered a line drive double to right center which scored Leong and Bogdanos.  James O’Grady lined a single to right and on a great relay throw by Rohan, the Tiger runner was cut down at the plate.  The rally continued, however, and the Tigers scored three more runs before Best found a way to stop the bleeding and struck out the last hitter he faced.  Great game with a final score of Reds 16, Tigers 13.  





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