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RGMVM ousted from Little League playoffs

Off the bat, it looked harmless enough, a three-hopper up the middle. Chris Piteo, who had pitched 6 1/3 brilliant innings, allowing just a solo home run, immediately dashed to his left, making a headlong dive.
Unfortunately, the ball didn’t find leather; instead it was only dirt, then grass, plating the go-ahead runs in South Shore’s 5-1 seven-inning victory over RGMVM in the 11-12-year-old Major Division Section 3 final last Wednesday at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem.
“Baseball is a game of inches, a few more inches I catch that ball,” he said. “We get the man at second, and maybe they score one run, maybe they don’t score any runs.”
Only Piteo didn’t reach Chris Sena’s grounder up the middle. And two more runs would follow. And just like that, the Aces’ run was over - no state tournament, no Mid Atlantic Regional, no more dreams of Williamsport, where the Little League World Series is played. The two-time Section three champs, who also won the state crown last year, were dethroned, beaten by an upstart that wasn’t even supposed to make it out of their district.
“It’s horrible, but we just didn’t execute today,” RGMVM Coach Steve Adams said. “Right now I’m upset. I’ll probably go home and be sore. I’ll be sitting home thinking of what I could’ve done differently, replaying the game in my head.”
Adams questioned a few of his moves, who to pinch-hit when and so forth. But what was the killer was the District 26 victory over Forest Hills when he used starters Gerard Fraracci and Eric Tully too much. With both of them throwing over 20 pitches, they were unavailable, as per Section 3 rules, to go against South Shore. So when Piteo went over the Little League-mandated 85-pitch limit in the seventh with two on and one out, Adams was forced to call upon little-used right-hander Paul Hyland, who was tagged for three hits and two earned runs.
Adams, of course, was expecting his power-laden lineup to score more than one run against South Shore starter Nick Razzore, but he limited them to three hits, struck out seven and walked just three. Their one run came in the fifth, when Casey Surdi sent a fastball over the short porch in right field, his first homer of any kind in Little League.
“When it came, it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Adams said. “That was awesome.”
The good feelings would not last. Fraracci grounded out with two aboard to end the fifth and after Austin Nieves was hit by a pitch to start the sixth, the Aces couldn’t muster much against reliever Rob Peccerillo, who kept RGMVM off balance with an assortment of off-speed stuff. In two innings, he struck out five.
“He was throwing a lot of curves, and a lot of them weren’t strikes,” Piteo said. “I guess our guys were trying to get too anxious.”
Of course, it was just a game RGMVM lost. Many of their players will move on to play on the high school level in the next few years, and look back at this run fondly. Adams made a point to say they had nothing to hang their heads about, they lost to a team that simply executed better.
“It’s just hard to handle,” Piteo said. “I’m pretty bummed. I’ll probably go home and just get some ice cream.”

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