Downtowners take tourney opener against Stuy Town

Downtown Little League won its 2009 Little League Tournament opener, defeating Peter Stuyvesant Little League on June 27 by a score of 11-2.

D.L.L. took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Will Merrill singled and advanced to second on Bryan Burns’ fielder choice. With two outs, D.L.L. manager Scott Noga made use of the special pinch runner rule and substituted the speedy Kojin Glick for Merrill. The move paid off, as Glick scampered home from second when Robbie Martino stroked a ground-ball single through the right side of the infield. The Stuy Towners tied the game in the second, but two innings later home runs by Lee Perry and Cooper Weaver put the Downtowners ahead for good.

Perry’s solo shot cleared not only the left field wall, but also the Con Edison field fence to land on 16th St. — to that point only the second home run ball in District 23 tournament history to leave that ballpark. Two batters later, though, with Louis Moreschi on base, Weaver hit the third homer in tournament history to leave the park when he deposited a ball over the right centerfield fence into the Con Edison parking lot.

While D.L.L. added 7 more runs to its tally over the final two innings, hurler Sean McGowen continued to overpower the Stuyvesant batters. Going 5 1/3 innings before reaching his pitch-count limit, McGowen struck out 10 batters and yielded only two hits and two runs before surrendering the hill to Merrill. He induced a weak grounder to Martino at first and then, after hitting a batter, struck out the final hitter of the day to end the game.


Angels vs. Orioles

Much of the Minors Division was anticipating a great game — the final game of the Minors season — between the mighty, first-place Angels and the Cinderella-story, second-place Orioles Sunday afternoon, and the teams’ fans and spectators were not to be disappointed. 

The home team Angels put two runs up on the board quickly in the bottom of the first, with Jackson Vertucci and Valentino Rosa scoring on a clutch 2-run double by Jonathan Sandella. But the Orioles’ starting pitcher, Graham Nelson, soon found his groove. Then the Angels’ starter, Vertucci, held the Orioles scoreless in the first inning. In the top of the second, the Angels’ Brendan Dougherty scored on a ball hit by Gabriel Colon. Then, in the top of the third, Angels catcher James Borrelli made a big-league play on a foul pop-up to end the side.  

In the top of the fourth, with the Angels up 3-0, Steven Ratigan hit a strong single to get the Orioles on base, and quickly stole second and third. Graham Moore hit a clutch one-out fielder’s choice, breaking the Orioles’ drought and driving Ratigan home for the Birds’ first run. With two outs, Duncan Stuard hit a single up the middle to continue the rally. Duke Tsapalas got a hit and Arjun Khorana walked. A few walks later, both Duncan Stuard and Max Kern crossed home to even the score, 3-3. 

Orioles relief pitcher Duke Tsapalas came into the fourth, with targeted off-speed pitches to throw off the tempo of the game and hold the Angels scoreless. The Angels’ Jonathan Sandella came in for relief, and held the Orioles scoreless for an inning.

But in the top of the fifth, the Orioles’ Tai Manheim, Sam Froud and Nathaniel Cohen all reached base. Then Mak Manheim walked with bases loaded, giving the Orioles their first lead of the game. On a hit from Dante Secada-Oz, Graham Nelson slid under a tag at home, making the score 5-3. 

Orioles closer Dante Secada-Oz came in to the bottom of the fifth inning to face the Angels. He walked the first Angels batter, putting the tying run at bat. After a wild pitch, catcher Graham Nelson fired one to shortstop Ratigan to tag out the Angel stealing second. Secada-Oz then retired the next batter. With the entire Battery Park City fields focused on the pitcher/batter duel, the next Angels batter cracked the ball high to right field. Orioles second baseman Graham Moore got a bead on it. Time stood still for fans and players alike. When the dust settled, the ball came down in Moore’s well-handled, 2-handed catch to end the game. 

This was undoubtedly, one of the best-played and most well-coached games of the season to appropriately cap the end of a great season for both sides.