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Little League: Race Lane Outhit, but Not Outdone

Thu, 06/20/2024 - 18:04
“Our pitching was good, and we took advantage of our opportunities,” Matt Morgan, at left, Race Lane’s head coach, said of his 11-and-12-year-old Little League players. Behind him is Marcus Borowsky and at right is Scott Tashman.
Dawn Lucas

Benefiting from an over-the-pitch-limit ruling that had resulted in Smile Navy Beach having to forfeit a seeming semifinal playoff win, the Amagansett Fire Department’s 11-and-12-year-old Little League team nevertheless acquitted itself well in a 7-5 loss to Race Lane in the Major League championship game played at Stephen Hand’s Path on June 10.

The Fire Department outhit Race Lane 5-3, with two of those hits going for extra bases, but although things began well enough with Hudson Thomas, A.F.D.’s starter, on the mound, his successors yielded a number of walks and wild-pitched two runs in, and were victimized by errors. A passed ball following what seemed to be an inning-ending strikeout enabled two Race Lane base runners to cross the plate in the first inning.

“That’s the way it’s been all season,” Carter Tyler, A.F.D.’s head coach, said afterward. “Our hitting has been great, but we make some errors.”

Thus Race Lane finished the season with a 10-4 record, and A.F.D., which took the Smile Navy Beach semifinal down to the wire, ended up at 5-9.

“We kept our heads in the game and battled back, our pitching was good, and we took advantage of our opportunities,” Matt Morgan, Race Lane’s head coach, said afterward. “The kids did a great job — it was very exciting for them.”

It was, he said, the fourth straight time his team had defeated the Amagansett Fire Department this season, “though three of them were close — this one and two during the regular season that were decided by one run.”

The Fire Department, the “away” team, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the championship game, and, after Race Lane tied it with the two unearned runs, made it 4-2 on Thomas’s inside-the-park home run to the left-field fence in the top of the third, the night’s big blow.

In the fourth, a two-out run-scoring triple tacked another run onto the A.F.D.’s lead, after which Race Lane, taking advantage of two wild pitches, one by Thomas and one by Baron Hildreth, who, with two outs, had relieved Thomas, pulled to within 5-4.

After Jackson Cook, who replaced Race Lane’s starter, Kix Bock, in the top of the third, retired A.F.D. in order in the top of the fifth, the “home” team, facing Hildreth and Matthew Altagracia, the Fire Department’s third pitcher of the evening, scored three runs on no hits in its fifth at-bat, which proved to be pivotal.

Race Lane’s fifth began with a strikeout, but three successive walks given up by Hildreth loaded the bases, prompting Tyler to bring in Altagracia, a left-hander. The tying run came home on a subsequent infield groundout, and brought up Cook, who, with runners at the corners, hit a fly ball into the outfield that was muffed, a costly error that enabled Race Lane to take the lead for the first time, at 7-5, and ultimately to win the championship.

The Fire Department’s second, third, and fourth hitters, Thomas, Ryan Balnis, and Altagracia, were due up in the top of the sixth, but Cook, who has a smooth delivery, was up to the task, retiring Thomas on a 5-3 groundout and Balnis on a comebacker before Altagracia scratched out an infield hit to keep A.F.D.’s hopes alive. An ensuing strikeout on a 3-2 pitch sealed the win.

Softball Trophy

In other East Hampton Little League championship games played recently, M&R Deli defeated CE King 11-1 for the 9-10 softball trophy, and Wirth & Company defeated Highpoint, the 11-12 pennant winner, 16-11.

Addie Cinelli, who went 4-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in, was the winning pitcher in the Major League final. Others to drive in runs for Wirth were Story Walsh, Evelyn Royal, and Ruby Nguyen. Sienna Kinney went all the way for Highpoint, and went 4-for-4 at the plate with three doubles and three runs batted in. Her teammate, Morgan Flynn, went 3-for-4 with one r.b.i.

Logan Neff, Sierra Williams, Gianny Matos, Ellie Marin, Mila Jones, Millie Bourke, and Harper Jones had multi-hit nights for M&R Deli in the Minor League final. Williams and Jones shared the pitching.

The rosters of the East Hampton teams that are to play in District 36 tournaments are as follows:

U-12 baseball: Scott Abran, Ryan Balnis, Jackson Cook, Alex Bobek, William Babinski, Griffin Page, Casey Carney, Owen Diamond, Kix Bock, Carl Gatlin, Walter Bohnsack, and James Balnis.

U-10 baseball: Cooper Meehan, Asa Gosman, Colin Stone, Nathan Altagracia, Caelan Ferguson, Jax Posillico, Henry Barbour, Henry Sullivan, Ryder Abran, Colton Smith, Henry Rozzi, and Luca Cereda.

U-12 softball: Addie Cinelli, Ava Duryea-Kelly, Brynn Gosman, Evelyn Royal, Gabrielle Pitts, Laila Sanders, Mia Coppola, Morgan Flynn, Sage Quackenbush, Sailor Cangiolosi, Siena Kinney, and Story Walsh.

U-10 softball: Evelyn Sanders, Ann Peterson, Madeline Abran, Sophia Scheurlein, Charlotte Vickers, Blakely Ball, Kenzie O’Connell, Vera Ryan, Maggie Shea, Avery Dalene, Novella Dunham, Maya Eckardt, and Natalia O’Brien.

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