On the road to Williamsport?

The regular season never felt so long to Chris Piteo. Whenever he crossed paths with one of his travel teammates, all he could talk and think about was the upcoming summer, when the real season - as he described it - would begin.
“I was just waiting,” he said,” for the journey to start.”
There were plenty of reasons for anticipation. RGMVM (Ridgewood-Glendale, Middle Village-Maspeth) won their first state title last summer in the 10-and-11 year-old Minor Division, and second consecutive city championship. This year, in the 11-12 year-old Major Division, they are eligible to qualify for the nationally televised Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.
“We’re pretty quiet about it,” pitcher Gerry Fraracci said, “but our hopes are high. It would be great, a team from four towns going to Williamsport and being on TV.”
It is a dream RGMVM has let dance in their heads since they emerged from the loser’s bracket in last year’s state championship. Almost every player made a habit out of watching the games in Williamsport, thinking of participating one year later. Piteo imagined his team being there, what it would be like, cameras tracing their every move.
They took their first step of many on Saturday, blitzing WORKS Little League, 12-1, in a mercy rule-shortened four-inning game, the first of the District 27 playoffs. It is a lofty dream, of course, one that will require at least 20 victories. The first step is district competition, then sectional play, the state tournament and the Mid Atlantic Regional.
“It’s really tough,” Fraracci said. “We’re going to have to get lucky, but if we play our cards right, who knows.”
Added league president Pat Piteo: “You need everything to go in your favor.”
Manager Steve Adams’ toughest job, at this point at least, is convincing his players that their past success is irrelevant this summer. A former player in the Western Queens Little League from 1985-92 who now works for Stitch Across America, he didn’t win much as a player. His dad Richie coached the first district championship team in 1998.
“Winning through these kids,” Adams said, “is a lot of fun.”
Based on the past success of this group, RGMVM is in store for a ton of it. Led by Piteo, the ace and shortstop, they go three deep in the rotation. Against WORKS, Fraracci, the third starter, went the distance, allowing just two hits, one run and striking out six while added three hits and a two-run home run. They are a deep offensive club that can put up big numbers - RGMVM, after all, won a Triple Crown tournament in Newburgh, N.Y. two weekends ago, swatting 30 home runs - but also winning low-scoring affairs because of their deep pitching staff and stout defense.
“We have that special spark - whatever happens, we do our best,” Piteo said. “We always want to do better. We never put ourselves down.”

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