Playoffs In Full Swing

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The Rockaway Little League playoffs began last weekend with exciting games in all divisions.

In Minor Boys, the L. Mahoney Real Estate A’s continued their phoenix-like rise from the ashes of an 0-6 start, beating the Laquila Group Pirates 18-8 in their playoff opener.  Hits by Michael Nestor, Ben Gressel, Matt Steiner, John Kelly, Andrew Vacarro, and Joe Butler plus walks by Jonathan Lazo and Matthew Schneider helped to secure an early 10-0 lead. In the field, the A’s got great defensive plays from Matt Steiner at first base, Michael Nestor at second base, Matt Schneider in right field, Hunter Gilhuley in left field, and Dino Tomasetti in left center to keep the Pirates from scoring.  John Kelly gave up three runs over three innings. Andrew Vacarro gave up no runs over two innings. Ben Gressel closed the game and secured the win with a save.

The victory earned the A’s a date with the top-seeded Empire Unlimited Mariners.  In that game, the Mariners grabbed the early lead and built a 7-0 advantage with machine-like efficiency.  The A’s closed to 7-4 and had the tying run at the plate in the last inning but a fine fielding play at second base ended the game.  The Mariners advanced to face the winner of the Ozane Orioles vs. El Caribe Reds tilt while the A’s dropped to the loser’s bracket of this double-elimination tournament.

In Major Girls, the Knights of Columbus Hilltoppers have had an up-and-down season. They hit a bit of a slump during the first three weeks of May, losing four games, but not without some notable plays and good at bats.  When the Hilltoppers took on the Graybeards Bonnies, Maddy Sheridan covered first base securing six outs and got one hit and scored, while Jackie Piccione at shortstop secured two pop-ups and scored on a walk and multiple steals.  The Bonnies took the game with a 12-5 win.

A similar fate awaited the Hilltoppers when they took on the Stop and Shop Pandas.  Helema Khan scored twice on a walk and a single along with an RBI, while Carianne Sconzo scored three times including on a three-run homer.  The Pandas came out on top, 18-13.

The Walsh Property Flippers took the field against the Hilltoppers quite strongly on May 20, but not without a valiant effort by Corinne Connelly as pitcher and covering first base; strong at bats by Jackie Piccione and Carrianne Sconzo, both of whom scored twice and hit one homer each! Alas, the Hilltoppers couldn’t flip the Flippers who took a 14-6 win.  It was a “Play it Again Sam” the next day with the Hilltoppers against the Flippers.  The Hilltoppers notables were Kallynn Schanstra with a 3 run homer, Corinne Connelly with a 2 run homer and Maddy Sheridan with 2 stolen bases, and scoring on one of her two singles.  Again, the Hilltoppers couldn’t top the Flippers as they took a 10-5 win.

The final day of May, and the last game of the regular season brought the Hilltoppers against the Pandas.  The Hilltoppers, who spent many of their games this season playing with nine dedicated girls did it once again to end the regular season, however, this group of girls came to play! Their determination shone through as Helema, Jackie, Colleen, Carianne, Maddy, Leah, Kallynn, Jen and Corinne all played their strongest game. Each player scored at least once.  Defense was on point as Corinne Connelly covered first and Colleen Bambury and Jen Quagliariello pitched three innings each.  The Hilltoppers took a 15-3 win!

The Hilltoppers players and coaches hope and pray for the complete recovery of Hannah Chasnoff who has been on the D.L. with a broken ankle. They also hope to see Mary Israel’s dad, Andy, feeling well and back in the stands real soon! They will excitedly welcome back Jill Ortega to the field just in time for playoffs rather than leading the chants in the dugout while recovering from an ankle sprain!  The K of C team got off to a rough start in the post-season, losing to the Walsh Flippers by a baker’s dozen.  The play an elimination game against the St. John’s Hospital Tigers, who had been raging hot before being edged by the Pandas, 10-7, in the first round.

The Major Boys division has seen several tightly played games in the early rounds of the playoffs.  The AKB Security Rockies rallied from an 8-run deficit to edge the Ram Title Pirates 11-10.  The #2 seeded DriveSafe Mariners held serve against the 132413 Reds 6-3 while the Ridgewood Savings A’s upended the 144132 Orioles 8-5.  The A’s upset victory earned them a matchup against the top-seeded Conte’s Carpets Royals on Monday.  That game became quite the pitcher’s duel.  The A’s tied the score at 1-1 in the fourth inning with a second run denied at the plate.  The Royals responded by scratching out two in their half and another run in the fifth inning to forge a 4-1 final.

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