Volume 23, Number 9 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 9 - 15, 2010
Downtown Express photo by Kirsten Caroline Ryan
2010 DLL Majors’ Division Champions, the Birmingham Black Barons, following their victory over the New York Cubans last month.Front row, kneeling (left to right) Isaac Longobardi, Brody Sharoff, Devin Minnihan, Josh Fish, Ryan Porcaro, Max Dell-Thibodeau. Middle row, standing (left to right) Justin Wong, Tommy Caruso, Clyde Huibregtse, Tyler Rohan, Noah Berrie, Nathan Goldberg. Back row (left to right) Randy Higgins, Coach James Porcaro, Coach Scott Noga and Manager Dave Conover
Birmingham Black Barons take home the crown
In what Downtown Little League Majors’ Coordinator Doug Friedman said was the best championship game he’s ever seen, the Birmingham Black Barons, who finished the regular season in first place with a 7-2-3 record, faced the New York Cubans (3-3-4) on Saturday, June 19th at the Battery Park Fields, winning 3-2.
The Cubans faced off against Brody Sharoff on the mound for the Barons in the top of the first. Sharoff retired the first batter with strikes. Kai Glick took a base on balls after a full count as the Barons outfield prepared for the slugging capacity of the Cubans’ next batter, Zach Pine. Pine delivered, but his cannon to centerfield was no match for Ryan Porcaro who made a sliding catch to the cheers of the Barons’ fans. Spencer Kiehl’s line drive was gloved by shortstop Josh Fish, ending the top of the inning.
The Barons’ Porcaro led off with a fly out to Elias Griffin at first. Then Tyler Rohan tried to jump back to avoid the incoming heat from Glick on the mound, but the ball hit him squarely in the thigh. Tom Caruso’s hard grounder allowed both of them to reach base safely. During the next at-bat, which ended in the first of five strikeouts for Glick, each runner advanced on a steal. Sharoff’s high fly ball just inside of the foul line in deep right field brought in both runners and took the batter to second, where he was stuck when the next Barons’ batter grounded out to Steven Ratigan at third base.
In the top of the second, Tyler Kraehling, another strong hitter, was robbed of a base hit when Porcaro captured his fly to center. Huibregtse snagged Griffin’s liner to first for out two. Once Sharoff struck out the next Cubans’ batter for the third out, his teammates were left stranded on bases.
In the bottom of the inning, Fish sent a high fly ball to right field, which Alex Hirsch tracked and trapped after sliding to his knees. Noah Berrie took a base on balls but was forced out at second when Devin Minnihan’s grounder to the Cubans’ Uriah Frederick was tossed to Kiehl. Glick struck out the next batter, looking to end a scoreless inning for the Barons.
In the top of the third, the Cubans’ Frederick smoked a ball up the first base line but Huibregtse caught it for an out. Lucas Pryor took a base on balls; then Sharoff struck out the top of the order for out two. Glick’s single to shallow centerfield advanced Pryor, and Pine’s blast to right field drove in Pryor for the Cubans’ first run. But Sharoff struck out the formidable Kiehl to close out the inning.
Ahead only by one run, the Barons tried to get some insurance in the bottom of the third. Isaac Longobardi brought Glick to a full count, fouling off several balls before succumbing to a strikeout. Justin Wong took a base on balls and advanced to second when Max Dell-Thibodeau, recipient of the Spirit Award at D.L.L.’s Night at Citifield, connected with the ball. Then the Cubans’ Griffin slid on his knees to grab Porcaro’s shot, ending the inning for the Barons.
In the top of the fourth, Kraehling’s fly to centerfield dropped too far in front of Porcaro’s reach, but he was able to hold Kraehling to a single. Ratigan took a base on balls, and although Sharoff struck out the next two batters, both runners advanced on steals. When the Barons tried to catch Kraehling stealing third, the ball careened into right field, allowing him to tie the game. Liam Clayton took a base on balls, but Sharoff struck out the next batter.
The Barons’ Rohan sent Glick’s fastball right back at him, but as Rohan dashed towards first Pryor barehanded the ball and tossed it cleanly to first for out one. Pryor rose to the occasion again, gloving a fly to second for out two. Then Huibregtse careened a ball to left field for a double but Kiehl put out the next batter with a groundout.
The Cubans’ leadoff batter succumbed to strikes for out one. Hirsch’s smash to centerfield was tracked well by Porcaro for out two. Glick walked on a full count, but Huibregtse scooped up Pine’s grounder for an unassisted out three.
The Barons’ Randy Higgins blasted one to centerfield. Glick sent the next batter back to the dugout with another strikeout, but Berrie took another base on balls. Glick struck out the next batter and was relieved on the mound by Kiehl. Higgins was forced out at third when Goldberg’s grounder was fielded by the Cubans for out three.
The Barons’ Longobardi walked to lead off the bottom of the sixth, as did teammate Wong. Both stole during Dell-Thibodeau’s at bat, which gave Kiehl another strikeout. Porcaro also walked, and the bases were loaded with one out in the bottom of a tie game. The excitement was palpable as Rohan came to the plate. But a grand slam wasn’t meant to be. Kiehl threw strikes with confidence, and Rohan went down looking. When Caruso grounded out to first, the Cubans literally jumped at the chance to go into extra innings.
Now facing the Cubans’ Joseph Dudley on the mound, the Barons led off with a grounder to third. Sharoff took a base on balls, however, and the winning run was at first. When Dudley retired Higgins on strikes, the Cubans exhaled. Coaches Scott Noga, Dave Conover and James Porcaro told their players that the Barons don’t give up. Fish connected with a triple, ending the game with the Barons on top, making the team champions of this year’s D.L.L. Major League teams.