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LITTLE LEAGUE PLAYOFFS II

At the onset of this season, coaches and parents hoped that their little leaguers would develop sportsmanship and leadership skills. Those hopes were fulfilled as the season closed out with style, grace and some high cheese.

The kings were crowned in Bayside as Prava Stone defeated Pal Mar Plumbing, 7-3, in the championship game on Wednesday, June 23. Both teams came out swinging, but Prava ended up on the winning side thanks to shut down pitching and timely hits.

Pal Mar manager Rich D’Orta said that even with the loss, the season was a success. D’Orta pointed to the great play of John Brennan, Billy Hatzinikolau and Dean Mylonas from the mound and the plate, noting that they rose to the challenges of a long season.

The coach also honored Anthony D’Orta for his gold glove play at first base and Nick Theocharidis for the same behind the plate. Evan Giron and Tyler Siamas had stellar seasons as well, fielding like pros and hitting for power. Justin Grill made game-saving plays at four different positions throughout the season, while Nick Palmieri, Anthony Benanti and Bobby Campbell were excellent team players all year long.

D’Orta would also like to thank coaches Manny Theocharidis, Doug Grill and Steve Fonovich for their hard work and dedication in making this season a home run.

Three of Cups had one more comeback left in them, but this time they came up one run short and were eliminated from playoff contention. The squad from Bayside, which had become known for its late-inning rallies, fell to Bayside Batting, 7-6, after a raucous back and forth battle.

Dylan Rinfret opened the scoring for Cups when he legged out a two-run triple early in the game. However, Batting would earn their name in the very next inning with a five-run explosion. Cups’ bats were held silent until the bottom of the last inning when they came to bat with the same positive attitude that carried them throughout the season. Savino Barile led off with a walk and wound up on third after singles by Christopher Gluck and Nicholas Perez. With the bases loaded, Johnny Kosnar singled, scoring Barile and bringing Cups to the brink of tying the game. But it wasn’t meant to be this time around, as Batting’s hurler recovered to strike out Cups’ last batter.

In his post-game speech to his team, Coach Anthony Barile lauded his team for fighting back all season long. Cups opened the season winning their first two games, but then dropped six in a row. Just when the season seemed lost, Cups became the comeback kids and won their next half dozen games.

“I’ll always be proud of you as long as you play hard,” Barile told his team. “Just like in life, you win some and you lose some.”

Jake Weingarten agreed with that statement, but still wanted to be on the winning side. He was on deck when Cups made the final out and was itching to get a chance at the plate.

“I was looking to crush the ball,” said Weingarten. “If I got up to bat, it would’ve been game over.”

The Immaculate Conception Youth Program (ICYP) showcased its Senior Division All-Stars in Astoria on Father’s Day. Deanna Danke, the game’s most valuable player, and Katarina Gioino pitched shut down baseball as the Purple team defeated the Pink team, 11-2. Samantha Peponakis backstopped the pitching duo, while Melanie Marzan, Patti Grippi and Brianna Ojeda led the offense with two hits each. Nicole Schweit, Emma Finn and Alexis Blanchard fronted a stellar defensive effort with Nicole Bianco and Alex Romano providing bench support.

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