Four Entries in Little League Tourney

To play in District 36 traveling all-star tournaments
Pesky base running by the Blue Jays in the latter part of the deciding game of the 11-12-year-old girls softball “world series” helped the Blue Jays to an 11-9 victory and the championship on June 19. Jack Graves

The East Hampton Town Little League organization has fielded what its president, Steve Minskoff, has called “four very competitive teams” to play in District 36 traveling all-star tournaments.

The first to sally forth, the 11-12-year-old girls, coached by Jeff Miller, pounded Bellport 29-1 in an away game last week before losing 11-7 to North Shore here at East Hampton High’s softball field Sunday.

“It was 8-0 after the first inning, but then we came back,” said Miller, noting that “North Shore was the state runner-up last year — they’re always a powerhouse because they can draw from such a large area, including Rocky Point, Miller Place, and Shoreham-Wading River. But we showed we can play with them.”

Bellport in turn defeated Riverhead that day, setting up a return match with East Hampton Tuesday. Should East Hampton have emerged as Tuesday’s winner, it will have to beat North Shore twice — today and tomorrow — to win the district title, a tall order.

Miller’s roster comprises Gabrielle Miller, Gianna D’Agostino, Caroline DiSunno, Ryleigh O’Donnell, Lily Somers, Lyla Wilson, Lola Garneau, Alyssa Brabant, Ella Eggert, Melina Sarlo, Katie Bruno, and Mia Reinhardtsen.

Brabant was the winning pitcher in a June 19 “world series” rubber game contested by the Springs Fire Department Reds and the Ruddy & Sons Blue Jays. The Blue Jays as a result won the championship two games to one, an upset given the fact that the Reds, the pennant-winner, had sailed through the regular season at 11-1 (with three wins over the Blue Jays), while the Blue Jays had gone 7-5.

The Blue Jays won the first game of the series, on June 12, 6-2, and the Reds prevailed the next night, 8-7. 

The visiting team on June 19, the day the deciding game was played, the Blue Jays led 3-1 after the first inning, but five walks, a two-run error, and a two-run double by Mariann Brennan in the bottom of the second put the Reds up 6-3.

In the fourth it was the Blue Jays’ turn as DiSunno, the Reds’ pitcher, began to falter. By the time it was over, the Blue Jays had wrested the lead back at 9-6, the final three runs coming around on a bases-loaded double down the first-base line by Eggert that led to a throw-around.

The score remained unchanged until, in the bottom of the fifth, the Reds tied it at 9-9 thanks to a two-out rally.

An infield hit led off the Blue Jays’ sixth — the final inning — but the base runner was subsequently cut down in trying to steal second. A groundout to first followed, but then Brabant singled over third and, with Eggert up, proceeded not only to steal second and third, but home as well, as DiSunno, apparently unaware that Brabant had edged halfway down the line, was too slow to get back to the mound with the ball, which Miller, the Reds’ catcher, had thrown to her.

Brabant’s daring steal of home proved to be the game-winner. Eggert then walked, and after stealing second and third, came home as the result of an infield error with the run that clinched the 11-9 victory. 

Over the weekend, Matt Brennan, the Reds’ head coach, while tipping his hat to the Blue Jays — “they outplayed us” — said that had his team, the home team in this case, been able to claim the third-base dugout, “Alyssa probably wouldn’t have been able to steal home.”

Brennan wasn’t only upset by the fact that the Blue Jays had been able to commandeer the third-base dugout in games one and three, but also felt he’d been treated shabbily by the Little League organization when he’d asked that the world series games be played, as he said the rules stated, on successive days.

“They sent out an email saying all the games would have to be finished by the time the U.S. Open began [Thursday, June 14] and then, at the last second, I was told the third game would be delayed by a week. I complained — it’s my busy time of year — and was told, ‘You’re right, but there’s nothing we can do.’ It’s the same reply I got when I said it was the custom for the home team to have the choice of dugouts. . . . It’s advantageous to have the third-base dugout because you can see the field better and communicate better with your batters.”

“I won’t be continuing [as a coach],” he said. “You’re teaching the kids the rules, and then they see that the rules can be broken depending on who you are. That’s not what you should be teaching kids.”

His 11-year-old daughter, Mariann, who had been chosen to play on the 11-12 traveling all-star team, declined to do so in support of her father. 

Minskoff said, when questioned Monday, that “we are aware of the situation, and we’re going to deal with it after the postseason.”

Back to the postseason teams, the 9-10 boys (the defending District 36 champions) are to begin play tomorrow at Sag Harbor, at 5:45 p.m., and the 11-12 boys are to begin play Saturday here with Southampton at 10 a.m.

The 9-10 boys all-star team comprises: Andrew Brown, Livs Kuplins, Kai Alversa, Luke Rossano, VictorEddy Diaz, Harrison Jenkins, Adrien Weber, James Corwin, Trevor Meehan, Finn O’Rourke, Jackson Carney, and Bruno Sessler. 

The 11-12 traveling all-star boys are Zachary Dodge, Michael Locascio, Nico Horan-Puglia, Jack Dickinson, Tyler Hanson, Milo Tompkins, Patrick Farrell, Cassius Hokanson, Isaac Rodriguez, Justin Prince, Juan Palacios, Kieran Conlon, Carter Dickinson, and Chase Siska.

On the 10-11 girls softball traveling all-star team are Kerri O’Donnell, Sophia Rodriguez, Georgia Kenny, Harper Baris, Lila Ruddy, Dakota Quackenbush, Susie DiSunno, Sienna Salamy, Gabrielle Payne, Katie Kuneth, and Julia Kuneth.