Volume 22, Number 06 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 26 - July 2, 2009
The Revolution Varsity softball team went to this season’s finals playing perrennial powerhouse Yorkville tough in the championship game.
Action-packed last weekend for many Downtowners
The Crawfords beat the Wolves 4-1 Tuesday in the Downtown Little League Majors championship, concluding the second part of a tight game that began several days earlier.
The championship game, which began last Saturday at noon, was postponed in the end of the fifth inning due to heavy rain and lightning. The final inning, with the score already 3-1 in favor of the Crawfords, was played on Tuesday.
Prior to Tuesday’s victory for the Crawfords, the game had been relatively close. For the majority of the game, the score remained tied, 1-1, as pitchers Justin Wenig and Lee Perry battled, letting up few hits until later in the game. With runners on first and second, a Crawfords grounder to third and an error by the third baseman put two runs on the board, and left the score at 3-1, where it stayed until the game was postponed.
In the sixth, a line drive to right field by Sam Frere-Holmes and an R.B.I. single by Conor Cimino put an insurance run on the board for the Crawfords.
The Crawfords celebrated the victory by chasing after their coach with Champagne bottles (the players, aged 10 –12, abstained) provided by their parents.
“Just about all of our wins [this season] were come-from-behind wins,” said a soaked Carles Moffett, 24, coach of the Crawfords. “It feels good to see that hard work actually pay off.”
The play was much friendlier Tuesday after a heated argument Saturday right after the game was suspended. Both sides said the league did a good job resolving the dispute.
Revolution vs. Yorkville
The Revolution, Downtown Little League’s senior fast-pitch softball team for girls aged 15-17, reached the Inter-City Girls Softball finals this season, facing the defending champions Yorkville Little League All-Stars in Upper Manhattan two weeks ago.
Playing before a boisterous crowd of mostly Yorkville supporters, the Downtowners kept their cool, falling in the end by a score of 7-3. But the game was much closer than the score indicates.
The Junior Revolution (ages 12-14) also battled to the district finals, losing an exciting game to another strong Yorkville squad in that age group. Yorkville is the defending New York State Champion in the U11 age bracket. The Downtown Juniors had the tying and winning runs on second and third in the last inning but did not bring them home. Yorkville hung on to win 13-12.
In the Senior contest, Yorkville started its ace, Alexandra Sappington, considered one of the top pitchers in New York City. Featuring an underhand fastball at fifty miles an hour, delivered from a pitching distance of only forty feet, Sappington was coming off of an earlier no-hitter for LaGuardia High School.
Downtown fell behind 4-0 in the first inning. But Olivia Lautin pitched a complete game for the Revolution, surrendering only three earned runs. Defensively, Downtown sparkled. Ariana Elefterakis made key plays and cannon throws at shortstop, while Ellen Mulan-Jayes and Mariana Winnik made running catches in the outfield save runs. Sarah McGowan made a diving catch at first base late in the game to keep things close.
In the fifth, the Revolution finally broke through against the supposedly unhittable Sappington, scoring on key hits from Destini Torres, Olivia Lautin, and Leanne Elefterakis.
Yorkville and Downtown ended the Little League season as the two best
teams in District 23, a Little League region taking in all of Manhattan and most of the Bronx. There are ten separate leagues in the District, serving about ten thousand kids.
“Yorkville is the Notre Dame of girls softball in Manhattan,” said Mark Costello, a former president of Downtown Little League. “For both of our girls teams to make it to the finals and play Yorkville closely is an incredible achievement.”
The Senior Revolution made their first appearance in the District Finals since Coach Joe Marino took over the program three years ago. It is also the first time in Downtown’s history that both the Junior and Senior teams played in the finals.
“Not so long ago, we were playing top programs, like Harlem and Yorkville, and sometimes losing by scores of 40-0,” Costello said. “While winning isn’t our highest priority as a league, the girls and coaches knew they could hang with the best programs. They set their minds to do it. They have really brought their game up over the last few years.”
“We are so proud of the girls, their parents and the community for helping build a competitive softball program for the Downtown kids,” Coach Marino added. “They are extremely talented and played with courage and determination. Each year, Downtown softball kids have increases their level of play and the number of kids participating. We will continue to build the program and promote girls sports in the Downtown community.”
JUNIOR MINORS LOWER
Dodgers vs. Astros
The J.M.L. Dodgers and Astros came out in the rain to play their final game of the season, taking to a field which by then was more of a swamp. The home team Dodgers first took the lead in the bottom of the first, with Dean Dowling scoring on an R.B.I. single by Declan Rexer. More hits came from Jamie Morrison, Lucinda Delaney and Ben Kaplen.
The Astros answered that call in the top of the second, scoring three runs fueled by the bats of Saxon Dilworth, Edward Dowd, Conner Donigan and Brenny Group.
At the bottom of the second, it was Rylie Spiegel and Mack Hallett who both brought home runs, off a slew of singles from Alexi Judge, Will Bompey and Eden Mills. Graham Stuard and Sam Vaillancourt also had solid hits that inning. The visitors showed some especially keen fielding skills, making an impressive double play in the bottom of the second. The catcher, Oliver Ripps, snared a grounder, touched home to get the force and threw to Milo Kern at first, making the last out of the inning.
The third was scoreless for both teams, but in the top of the inning, Dean made the last out with a dead-on throw to Mack at third.
In the top of the fourth, the Astros bats came alive once again. With terrific base hits from Evan Chakrabarti, Will Zimmerman, Elijah Yong and Jack Chin the Astros scored an additional five runs.
The Dodgers donned their rally caps and made a good try to come back in the bottom of the fourth, with Rylie hitting a lead-off double. Sam and Eden followed with singles, batting in Rylie for the fourth run of the game, but the Astros, behind the strong defensive play of Jon Anthony Jablonski and Teo Nickola, prevailed in the end.
JUNIOR MINORS UPPER
White Sox vs. Yankees
The game had all the indications of a classic: the White Sox had proven themselves among the better, if not the best, teams in the league. But they had played the Yankees twice and lost both games by a total of three runs. The White Sox were looking forward to the third game. When the dust settled, the game lived up to its hype.
The Yankees led off in the top of the first with base hits by Myles Dunlop and Jason Bogdanos, who had yet another three-hit day, and were driven home by a double by Holden Higgins. Base hits by Julian Memmo and a shot to left field by Diana Bogdanos knocked in more runs. The White Sox started strongly with solid hitting by the White Sox sluggers who have carried the team all year: Lucas Kinder, Julian Rubinfien, Owen Gallagher, Felix Barwick and Oscar Rachmansky. The inning came to a close when Memmo made a spectacular catch at the pitcher’s mound and completed the double play with a strong throw to Jason Bogdanos at first base. The top of the second saw base hits from Max Marshal and Aakash Yagnik, but the Yankees were held scoreless due to excellent fielding, as they have been all year, by Mason Boyce, Sumit Singh, Reid Yesson, and Michael Monticiolo. The White Sox then took the lead with more solid hitting by Talon Smith, Truman Gaynes, Mateo Zules, and Karlos Acosta., but the Yankees regained the lead in the top of the third following base hits by Dunlop, Jason Bogdanos, Higgins, Memmo, and Diana Bogdanos—her second three-hit game in a row.
An eye-popping catch by Scott Robins at third saw the Yankees off to a good start in the bottom of the third and a great catch by Dunlop in center field held the White Sox scoreless. The Yankees managed another three runs in the fourth with base hits by Wylie Muchowski, Marshal, Yagnik, Kami King, Erin Paholke, and Dunlop. And again, the White Sox were held scoreless when two jaw-dropping plays by Paholke at second base resulted in runners out at first and second in very close calls.
The next inning, Higgins led off for the Yankees with a double, followed by a base hit by Memmo and a sizzling line drive past third for a triple by Robbins. Freddy Purpora then added another base hit and Muchowski followed with a double. Smart base running by both Purpora and Muchowski kept the inning alive long enough for Karun Sagar to drive home another run with his hit. The bottom of the fifth started with close plays to first from catcher Diana Bogdanos and Robbins at pitcher’s mound, but the White Sox’ Gallagher and Barwick hustled out base-hits, cutting the lead once again. Yagnik got his third hit of the day and Paholke her second to start the sixth inning. Jason Bogdanos brought a run home with yet another line drive, and great base running by Paholke kept the rally going.
In a tightly contested game that went to the wire between two of the most fundamentally sound teams in the league, the Yankees managed to beat the White Sox — but just barely. The Yankees proved that team play, sound fundamentals, and never-ending hustle can lead to a great season. But both teams showed true class and sportsmanship during the year and their players can be expected to bring those traits to the league next year.
Royals vs. Yankees
In a match-up of two classy teams, the long-awaited Royals-Yankees game lived up to everyone’s expectations. The first inning saw the Royals threatening to score early with a leadoff single by Amelia Eigerman and a double by James Christian, but the rally was stopped by an unassisted double play by Jason Bogdanos (his fourth of the year). Dashing into foul territory, he caught a foul ball and then raced to double up the runner at second base, bringing the inning to a close. After a solid base hit by Julian Memmo to start the bottom of the first, the Royals proved too strong and the Yankees were soon back on the field.
Shaping up as a tough game, the second inning also yielded no runs for either team, with two hard hit balls by the Royals to Jason Bogdanos at first base both resulting in outs. Despite not scoring, the Yankees demonstrated some good hitting in the second with Scott Robbins, Freddy Purpora, and Karun Sagar all completing strong base hits. The third inning saw the Royals finally cross the plate with singles by Conn Slattery, Will Landau, and Liam Torres. James Christian’s second double of the day scored the first Royal runs. The Yankees followed suit with Memmo, Wiley Muchowski, Holden Higgins, Diana Bogdanos, Scott Robbins, and Freddy Purpora (who had three hits on the day) all getting solid base hits as the team brought three runners home.
The fourth saw a lead-off double by the Royals’ Alexander Burnett and a single by Will Landau. But again the Royals were thwarted by the defensive gems of the Yankees. Memmo got two outs at first, one of which was on a great catch and throw by Aakash Yagnik in right center field. In the Yankees half, defensive plays by first baseman Aaron Sapollnik for the first two outs kept the Yankees scoreless. The Royals added another run to take a two-run lead in the fifth when Luca Nickola hit a double and scored on a double hit by Chris Gushee before two great stops by Memmo at pitcher’s mound both resulted in outs at first by Jason Bogdanos. Despite a base hit by Diana Bogdanos (her third hit of the game) and strong hits by Yagnik and Erin Paholke, the Royals’ Alexander Burnett and Charlie Pomerantz showed great leather in keeping the Yankees from scoring. It was a great game, but the Royals proved too strong in a 5-3 nail-biter.
Reds vs. Tigers
Coming off a stellar pitching debut against the Twins, the Reds’ Luke Marable got the call for the start against the Tigers on Tuesday at Pier 40. He did his best, and most importantly never stopped having fun, as he faced batter after batter. Niall Gallagher’s liner skimmed the foul line and got him to second. Michael Bogdanos followed with an almost identical shot, bringing home both runners.
In the bottom of the inning, Will Best’s crank to right field added a double to his stats.
Best got the call from the dugout, not only relieving Marable, but striking out the side in the top of inning two. Tyler Rohan started things off for the Reds with a giant blast to right field, which was played well by Jonah Weinstein who kept him at first.
The Tigers led off with Gallagher, whose rocket to right field brought him all the way around the bases. The play was close at home, but Gallagher beat the throw. Bogdanos also drove one to centerfield, zipping the ball right past Memmo. He, too, tore around the bases, to the welcome arms of his teammates at home plate. Rohan was able to strike out the next batter and scoop up two consecutive grounders to the mound, and the Reds went into the bottom of the sixth down 7-5.
Liam Clayton snagged Doyle’s pop-out for out one. Rothbart, connecting with the ball for the first time in many games (and using both hands this time) sailed one into right field for a stand-up single. Isabel went down for out two, but Memmo saw what Rothbart had done and liked it. Her shot to right credited her with a one-bagger and brought Rothbart around to second. During Marable’s at-bat, Rothbart stole third, and scored easily when Marable’s zinger down the third base line went into left field. Adams tried to keep the two-out rally going, but his grounder to short was squashed by Bogdanos and a short hopped throw was keenly scooped by first basemen Leong ending the game 7-6. The Reds (aka the Lucky Dogs) were thrilled they were able to compete after surviving 3 shutout innings form a Majors pitcher. The Reds packed up their gear and headed off into the sunset, readying themselves for the challenge of facing the first-place Angels on Saturday as the Tigers took their momentum into their match-up with the Orioles.
Orioles vs. Tigers
The final game of the season between the Orioles and the Tigers was exactly what was expected from two of the most fundamentally sound teams in the league. The Tigers started scoring in the first inning with hits by three of their players who had multiple hit games: Brandon Mirabella, Nicholas Leong (who had two doubles), and Michael Bogdanos. It was Bogdanos’ fourth three-hit game of the year. But it was Liam Clayton’s pitching that made the difference early, holding the powerful Orioles to two runs in his time on the mound. The second inning saw more of the same from the Tigers who showed patience at the plate and the ability to jump on a pitch they liked. Jonah Weinstein, Justin Ho, and Niko Weinstein all came around to score, with Niko thrilling the crowd with his two major-league-level slides into second and third bases. The Orioles kept in close behind the solid pitching of Graham Moore, Dante Secada-Oz, and Graham Nelson, all of whom threw smoke on the mound.
The Orioles came roaring back in the third behind the strong hitting of Secada-Oz, Duncan Stuard, and Duke Tsapalas, but were stopped by Simon Miles throwing out his fourth runner of the year to Ethan Wallis at third base, and Jonah Weinstein running down a blast to centerfield and showing off his rocket arm. More clutch hitting by Bogdanos, great base-running by the speedy Ethan Wallis, and quality at bats by Mirabella and Clayton kept the Tigers in front by a slim margin. But the Tigers were in a bind. Their two catchers were both injured and there was a potential for a forfeit until Justin Ho, who was later awarded the game ball, volunteered to catch the last inning—the true embodiment of a team player. Once again, the game Orioles fought hard, with a bases-clearing shot by Secada-Oz bringing them within one run. Behind the gutsy pitching of Leong, however, who held the Orioles in check for the last two innings, the Tigers were able to squeak by one of the best teams in the league, 17-16.
The Tigers, who won their last three games, and lost the prior two by one run each, showed what good team baseball is all about. Their plate discipline, exceptional defensive play in the field, their smart and scrappy base-to-base running, but mostly their respect for the game and its fundamentals made their season a true success. The Orioles, one of the best and best-coached teams in the league, had little time to rest, though, scheduled to face the first-place Angels the following morning.