Tag Archives: Baseball

Bayside Little League drops Borough Cup final at Yankee Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Steven Perez

The Bayside Rebels Little League team came up short of standing on top of the city, but they will have a summer vacation story like none other to tell their schoolmates.

The Rebels suffered a 6-2 defeat in the inaugural 12U Borough Cup Championship at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 14 to the USC Knights. But prior to the game, the team took a tour of Monument Park and learned about baseball legends.

Then they met with and received autographs from famous sports figures, including former Yankees infielder Willie Randolph, former Mets pitcher John Franco and Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia.

Photo courtesy Steven Perez

Photo courtesy of Steven Perez

After the pre-game activities, the Rebels had a difficult time against the Knights.

They allowed three runs in the first inning and one more in the second. It was enough to knock out Bayside, which struggled at the plate during the game.

The Rebels had just four hits, two of which came from Nicholas Perez, who also scored the first run for the team in the fourth inning.

John Callahan scored another run for the Rebels in the fourth inning, but it was all the offense the Bayside team would get. The Knights meanwhile added two more insurance runs in the fifth and seventh innings to win the game.

 

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Whitestone defeats Bayside in Nick Lomangino championship title game


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Getting thrown out of a championship game wasn’t part of the strategy, but after Whitestone Renegades baseball team coaches were tossed in the top of the fifth inning from the Nick Lomangino Tournament final, the team seemed to have new energy.

Two assistant coaches got tossed from the game on Monday after arguing a call with the umpire that favored the opposing Bayside Bulldogs.

The Whitestone team gave up its lead early in the inning thanks to the call, but after the ejections, starting pitcher Lino Gagliano struck out the side to end the Bayside rally.

And when it was their turn to bat, the Renegades scored two runs to get a 5-3 lead, which they protected for the victory. Gagliano notched 14 strikeouts on 116 pitches for a complete game win.

“They tied up the score, but we came back,” Whitestone Renegades manager John Cirillo said. “The next inning we came right back at them.”

The Renegades, who play out of the Dwarf-Giraffe Athletic League, used timely hitting to break the 3-3 tie in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Third baseman Angelo Alessandro, who finished the game 3-for-3, smacked a double to the fence to get things going.

Then Gagliano brought him home with a single. The following batter, catcher Nick Ellerby, then smacked a double to send Gagliano home.

With the renewed 5-3 lead, Gagliano got back on the mound for the two remaining innings and looked like a machine. He struck out the final six batters — without allowing a hit — to win the championship.

“Once you got the lead in the sixth and the seventh inning, it becomes who is going to fight harder, and we did,” Cirillo said. “We fought like a team.”

 

 

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CM Vallone wins bet against CM Vacca over youth baseball game


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Office of Councilman Paul Vallone


The Whitestone Renegades’ 4-3 victory against Bronxchester on July 17 meant more than just another win.

The Renegades also helped Councilman Paul Vallone enjoy authentic Italian pastries on Thursday courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Vacca of the Bronx, due to a friendly wager between the two public officials on the game. Of course, the Renegades, a local travel baseball team out of the Dwarf Giraffe Athletic League, are now also entitled to bragging rights over their Bronx rivals.

“We would like to thank Councilman Paul Vallone for all his support to the team,” said Renegades assistant coach Joe Alessandro. “And congratulate the councilman on winning his friendly wager with Councilman Vacca.”

When the council members learned that their local baseball teams would play each other in the inaugural NYC Borough Cup tournament, they decided to increase the stakes of the game.

The terms were, if the Renegades won, Vacca would treat Vallone to homemade Italian pastries from Arthur Avenue, which is known as the Bronx’s Little Italy. But if Bronxchester won, then Vallone would treat Vacca to a chicken sandwich from Whitestone staple deli Cherry Valley and an Italian ice from Pesso’s in Bayside.

Vallone said the only downside of winning was that now Vacca will miss out on delicious foods from the Queens eatery and dessert shop.

“While of course I am thrilled that the Whitestone Renegades beat Bronxchester, I’m sad that Jimmy won’t have the opportunity to experience the culinary masterpiece that is a Cherry Valley TCS (The Chicken Sandwich) washed down with a mouthwatering Pesso’s Ice,” Vallone said.

While the Italian desserts were sweet, the story didn’t have a satisfying ending. The Renegades finished 2-1 in the Borough Cup, having dropped their last match in pool play against the NCYA All Stars, 6-1, and were eliminated from the tournament.

 

 

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Bayside Little League female player is determined to continue playing baseball


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre


Bayside Rebels Little League coach Randy DeCastro was approached by a fuming parent two years ago, resulting in a conversation he won’t forget.

The man, who was frustrated because his son didn’t receive enough playing time, criticized another player on the field, but not targeting a lack of skill.

“Any good coach knows at this age you shouldn’t have a girl on your team,” DeCastro remembered the parent said, referring to Regan Goger, the team’s left fielder.

DeCastro responded by saying, “Then you don’t know Regan.” Following the confrontation, Regan went on a 10-game hitting streak, securing her starting spot.

“The timing was great,” DeCastro said. “You could have written a movie to it.”

Regan began playing baseball at 5 years old, after watching her father coach her two older brothers.

“When she was 3 or 4, we tried to put her in dance, but she was like ‘no,’ she wants to play ball,” Teresa Goger, Regan’s mother, recalled.

She briefly tried softball, but went back to baseball because of the higher level of competition the male version of the game offered.

Around 8 years old she tried out for the Bayside Little League travel team, and beat out rival boys for a spot.

Every year since she’s battled to keep her position on the team and grew up with most of the players until the boys don’t even see her as a girl anymore, just “Regan ‘the hitting machine,’” DeCastro said.

And the nickname is well-earned. This season, as of July 17, she has 15 hits in 22 games, and is maintaining a .300 batting average with a .430 on-base percentage and 15 RBI. She also has two homers.

So when people criticize her for playing the male game, “I just ignore what they say,” Regan said.

But having just turned 13, next year she will outgrow Little League and begin high school, where odds are she won’t be able to join a baseball team and be pushed into softball.

Until then, she has decided to keep working hard at baseball, and her parents vow to support her whenever she makes a decision regarding the next level.

“She’s not just doing this because she’s a girl,” George Goger, Regan’s dad, said, “but because she’s pretty good at it.”

 

 

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Fan filming 1986 World Series Mets movie, running Kickstarter campaign


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Heather Quinlan

It’s been nearly three decades since the Mets won a World Series championship. So why not make a movie?

A movie on the 1986 World Series Mets team is long overdue, according to long-time fan and filmmaker Heather Quinlan. That’s why she’s begun working on the project, hoping to have the documentary of the legendary team completed by fall of 2015 in time for the 30th anniversary the following year.

Quinlan, who has already spoken to key members of the team including Darryl Strawberry, Lenny “Nails” Dykstra, Dwight “Doc” Gooden, and people from the era such as former mayor Rudy Giuliani, is pitching it as the movie “Every Mets fan on Earth wants,” although the organization isn’t as thrilled about the 1986 team.

“The organization doesn’t celebrate that team,” she said. “As a fan, I don’t understand why. One of the reasons why I wanted to do this [documentary] is to show the Mets and MLB that this is a team that the fans still love.”

’86 Mets: Lords of Flushing, as the film is called on its trailer, has already collected more than $2,500 on crowd funding site Kickstarter. She hopes to collect $50,000 to fund travel, editing and production and rights to certain footage.

Quinlan grew up a Mets fan in Staten Island and was just 12 years old when the 1986 team won the franchise’s second World Series championship. But she believes it resonated with her more because she wasn’t an adult.

“When it happens to you when you’re a kid it’s like the greatest thing in the world,” she said.

Her hope is not only to tell the story of how the team won its second crown, but also catch up on players’ lives today and compare the 80’s to the modern game.

For example, Strawberry’s life as a pastor, Dykstra as a convicted felon, and even personal notes such as “Bill Buckner saying he would call Mookie Wilson if he didn’t see him for a while because he really missed him,” she said.

During the era comparison portion of the film, fans can expect to see how baseball itself has evolved, which Quinlan believes has changed the focus away from the game.

“Baseball has changed tremendously since 86,” she said.  “What I don’t love is now the spectacle that’s being made of the game. Let’s get back to the game.”

 

 

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Attend a Mets game to support the NYS Pavilion


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of New York Mets


The Mets are stepping up to the plate to help out one of their iconic neighbors.

In cooperation with People for the Pavilion (PFP) and to celebrate the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the World’s Fairs, a portion of each ticket purchased through a special online offer for the team’s Friday, August 1 game at Citi Field will help support the PFP’s initiative of preserving the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Purchasers will receive a Limited Edition Mets Pavilion t-shirt. Additionally, groups of 25 or more get welcomed on the Right Field Scoreboard and the group leader receives four tickets to the game of their choice (tickets subject to availability).

To buy tickets for the 7:10 p.m. game against the San Francisco Giants, click here.

 

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Channel View HS baseball wins first-ever city championship


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


The Channel View High School Dolphins’ storybook season could have ended all wrong.

Tied at 5-5 apiece in the final inning against Bronx High School of Science Wolverines at the PSAL division B championship game on Thursday, Dolphins pitcher Marvin Hernandez came in to relieve starting pitcher Kely Aponte, who just gave up two runs.

With one out and the winning run at third base, Hernandez got his first batter to hit a fly ball to center.

Centerfielder Antonio Moccia made the catch, and then fired a canon to home plate, which catcher Joseph Calandra caught and tagged the runner in time to save the game.

“After it hit the grass I knew I had it,” Calandra said about the play. “I was just worried about holding on to it.”

The game went to extra innings, until the ninth inning. While the bases were loaded, the wolverines walked Sergio Galdamez and two batters later David Polanco smacked a double to give the Dolphins a 7-5 victory and the school’s first baseball championship.

The win capped a magical run for the boys from the Rockaways.

Just a few years ago, former Mets prospect head coach John Mangieri, who has played 10 years professionally including a stint with the Italian national team in the World Baseball Classic, came to Channel View and met a group of enthusiastic players lacking equipment.

As coach, he whipped the team into shape, and transformed them to a perennial Queens powerhouse in the B conference. But the Dolphins came up short consecutive years in the playoffs.

“When I first took the job four years ago, we literary had kids saying coach I need a glove and showing up to practice in jeans,” Mangieri said. “Talk about a total 360.”

 

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Cardozo wins first baseball championship in nearly 30 years on coach’s birthday


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


All season long, and through the post season as well, Benjamin Cardozo senior pitcher Keith Rodgers has been literally unbeatable.

He went 7-0 in the season with a 0.02 ERA (and 3-0 with a 0.04 in the playoffs) and for five innings of the 2014 PSAL division A baseball championship game against Tottenville on Thursday, Rodgers plowed through batters, while holding on to a slim 1-0 lead.

But a fatigued Rodgers found himself in a pickle in the sixth after walking two batters. With two outs, he gave up a single, which scored one run and tied the game at 1-1. It seemed as though Rodgers could have his first loss of the year in the most important game.

Rodgers, however, came through in the final inning with his bat, not his arm, and lined a single into left field to break the tie. The Judges added another run in the inning, then senior Jun Young Lim came in for relief and struck out the side for a 3-1 victory at Yankee Stadium, and Cardozo’s first championship in 26 years. 

“I was just trying to put the ball in play. I didn’t make the best contact, but it got through,” Rodgers said. “I really just tried to lock in the very last (at-bat), make sure I could do something and get a run for us.”

Senior centerfielder Chris Campbell, who will attend Monroe College next year, gave Cardozo the 1-0 lead in the first inning. He blasted a double to right field, sending sophomore infielder Noah Cabrera home.

“We were underdogs coming into this, but we showed that we could complete with any team in the league,” Campbell said.

The win became extra emotional when players began signing happy birthday on the field for head coach Ron Gorecki. Gorecki, who has coached high school baseball for more than four decades around city schools, admitted has never had a team like the 2014 Benjamin Cardozo Judges.

There are a few standouts— specifically seniors Rodgers, Campbell and Lim— but otherwise the team doesn’t have many superstars. So Gorecki works on a system of “synergy,” which he describes as players substituting for others’ weaknesses and working together. He attributed the win to his team philosophy.

“The real bottom line here is that we are synergy, this team is built on synergy,” Gorecki said. “We have guys that can run, we have guys that can’t run, we have guys that can throw, we have guys that can’t throw. So what they do is they substitute for one another.”

 

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Channel View HS baseball advances to PSAL championship game at Yankee Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre


After years of disappointment for the Channel View High School baseball team, players are now confident that “no one can swim with the Dolphins.”

Despite three previous winning seasons, including one tied for the conference title, the Rockaway team was a one-and-done squad in the playoffs each year. And even though they finished first in the Queens B South conference this season (14-2 PSAL), they faced doubts of their chances in the postseason. The Dolphins knew they would sink, not swim, in the playoffs this year again if they didn’t step up.

“Other teams, rivals, even the school doubted us at first,” senior infielder Sergio Galdamez said. “They said we wouldn’t past the first round. But look at us now — we’re in the championship.”

Channel View proved the critics wrong with four consecutive wins in the postseason, including three against higher-ranking teams, to reach the PSAL Division B championship game at Yankee Stadium on June 12 against five-seeded Bronx High School of Science. The Dolphins are like a fish out of water as they make their way to uncharted territory, but players believe they’ll be ready for the final game.

“I don’t want to think about being nervous,” said senior Kely Aponte, the team’s ace who will pitch in the championship game. “I want to stay confident to go out there and do what I do.”

The championship game is also a déjà vu moment for Channel View head coach John Mangieri, who won a city title at Yankee Stadium when he played for Archbishop Molloy 20 years ago. Mangieri said he’s excited to see his players living a dream that he has been through before.

“Four years ago this program had kids with no gloves, kids showed up in jeans,” Mangieri said. “These kids will have lifelong memories, and win or lose they are champions in my book.”

 

 

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Queens, Bronx borough presidents make edible wager on Subway Series


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

The stakes are going to be deliciously high when the New York Mets and New York Yankees take the field during this year’s Subway Series.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. are wagering an assortment of foods, each from their respective boroughs, based on the results of the four-game series taking place from Monday, May 12 through Thursday, May 15, the two announced Sunday.

If the Mets win more games than the Yankees, then Diaz will send Katz a sample tray of empanadas from Babalu on East Tremont Road and a dozen cannolis from Egidio Pastry Shop, located in Belmont, the Bronx’s Little Italy.

But if the Yankees win, Katz will send Diaz a tray of sandwiches from Leo’s Latticini, also known as Mama’s of Corona. For dessert, Katz will also send pastries from the Omonia Café in Astoria.

“Queens offers an incredibly diverse array of cuisine and has some of the best restaurants in the city, so Borough President Diaz is in for a real treat if the Yankees manage to win the series,” Katz said. “But I fully expect the Mets will win and that I will be enjoying some delicious food from the Bronx.”

Both stakes will be paid out if the two New York baseball teams split the four game series 2-2.

“We have great culinary options in The Bronx, so a Mets victory would certainly be a treat for Borough President Katz,” Diaz said. “But the Yankees are the greatest franchise in baseball history, and I’m sure their decades of dominance will continue through this week.”

 

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Zip code analysis shows Queens baseball fans prefer Yankees


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

After a recent poll found that Queens baseball fans prefer the Yankees to their hometown Mets, a New York Times analysis by zip code shows the Bronx Bombers are the favorite team throughout the city.

Using aggregated data provided by Facebook, the Times’ The Upshot created a “geography of baseball fandom” across the nation.

The interactive map allows readers to examine top teams by zip code or county. It was “created using estimates of team support based on how many Facebook users ‘liked’ each team in a zip code,” according to The Upshot, then an algorithm was used to “smooth the data and fill in gaps where data was missing.”

Throughout Queens people preferred pinstripes, with the “one small Mets bright spot” being the area in the borough surrounding Citi Field, The Upshot said:

“Facebook users had the courtesy to prefer what some call the Evil Empire at a slightly reduced rate relative to its advantage elsewhere in New York.”

But in the Citi Field zip code, 11368, the map shows that there are still only 25 percent Mets fans versus 53 percent Yankees fans.

According to the analysis, in more than 98 percent of zip codes in the nation the Yankees were favored over the Mets.

 

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Commodores catching fire with win over Wildcats


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

No one needed to remind Bayside Commodores outfielder Julian Rodriquez what a big moment it was when he came to bat in the fifth inning against John Bowne on Monday.

The Commodores were leading the Wildcats 3-1 when Bowne’s freshman pitcher, Elvis Torres Devargas, started to lose control.

He walked the bases full, and Bayside coach Pat Torney turned to Rodriguez, a sophomore who didn’t have a single hit for the season in seven at bats, to pinch hit. Rodriguez’s at bat defined Bayside’s season. The Commodores have lacked offense against the conference’s top teams early in the season, resulting in a slow start.

But in this situation, Rodriguez smacked a double to drive in three runs and lead Bayside to a 9-4 victory over John Bowne. The Commodores (3-4 PSAL) are now hoping that with the win over the tough Wildcats (5-2 PSAL), they can continue the offense and turn around the season.

“We are starting to hit,” senior Elijah Leerdam said. “We weren’t hitting much before. Last game we didn’t come through for [our pitcher].”

Before the holidays, Bayside suffered a devastating 5-3 defeat to John Bowne, the conference’s second place team, after the team’s ace Jeremy Arenas pitched eight innings. Before that the Commodores dropped a pair of embarrassing losses to the perennial conference champs, the Benjamin Cardozo Judges, by a combined score of 27-0.

But the Commodores aren’t going to see the Judges again for the remainder of the season. And here they were with another opportunity to top the Wildcats, if only they could keep up the offense. Rodriguez waited patiently for Torres Devargas to throw a fastball down the middle of the plate, and blasted the double over the center fielder’s head, unloading the bases.

“I had to come up big,” Rodriguez said of what he was thinking while at the plate. “I was a little nervous at first, but then I just made contact with the ball and it went far.”

Arenas gave up three runs in the bottom of the inning, but held the Wildcats for the remainder of the game. He pitched a complete game with three strikeouts in the Commodores’ most impressive win of the season.

The team moved into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Queens A East division, and they believe if they can continue to pick up the bats like Rodriguez did, they might be able to pull this season out of the gutter.

 

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Mets roll back ticket prices for 50th anniversary of Shea Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy the New York Mets

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Mets fans will have something to cheer about, at least when it comes to the cost of tickets.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the team’s former home, Shea Stadium, the New York Mets announced Sunday that it will roll back ticket prices for games this coming weekend.

A limited number of tickets will be available for $3.50, when the Mets host the Atlanta Braves from April 18 to 20. Shea officially opened on April 17, 1964, when the Mets hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The team will also offer some baseline box seats for $19.64, with an eight ticket per person limit. Tickets must be purchased in advance over the phone or online at Mets.com/1964.

The offer will not be available at team stores, ticket windows or on game day.

 

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Street Talk: How do you think the Mets will end up this year?


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

street talk

They’re going to be horrible.  I don’t think they have enough hitting, so they’ll probably [win] about 70 games.
Lou Gittler

Hopefully they’ll do better; I haven’t lost hope. I’ve lived in Queens for 32 years, so I’m a big Mets fan.
Anna Fernandez

My guess is about 75 wins.  They have more questions now than they did before spring training.
Mike Ingordo

Unfortunately not well, but I do think they’re going to have an amazing 2015.
Steve Schawrtz

Horrible, they haven’t made much improvement. The improvement they made was minor – like minor league.
Nick Kara

I think they’re going to end strong. I’m pretty optimistic that they can keep it together.
Brandon Ilg

I think they’ll be about .500. I do think they’ll do better than they did last year, but I don’t think they’re a playoff team yet.
John Burkart

Due to organizational structure, the performance will be just like the management: terrible.
Carlos Riano

-BY HARVIND JAPRA

 

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Mayor de Blasio to throw first pitch at Mets’ Opening Day


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Baseball season is almost here, and the new mayor wants to get in on the action.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Mets’ Opening Day at Citi Field on Monday.

The mayor will be accompanied by children from the East Harlem Tutorial Program, who were affected by the recent building collapse.

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