Tag Archives: Bayside Little League

Team Duce of Bayside Little League completes undefeated season with championship win


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Team Duce

After finishing the regular season undefeated, Bayside Little League’s Team Duce made it to the championship game and were victorious over Texas West Division rival, W7, by a score of 4-3, completing their season with a perfect 16-0 record.

At the start of the game things did not look promising for undefeated Team Duce. W7 was able to open up an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Team Duce’s starting pitcher, Charlie Blair, quickly settled down after W7’s three-run first by pitching shutout ball for the next three innings.

Aris Catehis and Tino Famiglietti both got on base once, while John Archbold hit the ball hard. David Castracane helped keep Team Duce in the game by making stellar defensive plays in the outfield to prevent W7 from scoring more runs.

With Team Duce down 3-0, W7 decided to intentionally walk the top three hitters in the lineup: Costa Bournias, Charlie Blair and Tanner Fried. With the bases now loaded and two outs, the cleanup hitter and first baseman, George Diamantopoulos, came to the plate with a chance to tie the game or even put Team Duce ahead.

Diamantopoulos did his job and blasted a triple into right field, scoring all three runners, tying the game at 3-3.

As Diamantopoulos represented the go-ahead run on third, Derek McCreesh and Bobby Fretwell both worked two-out walks to load the bases. This brought up Rafael Rufrano. After fouling off eight pitches, Rufrano earned a walk forcing in the go-ahead run and giving Team Duce a 4-3 lead.

Team Duce’s closer Tanner Fried, known to teammates as “The Sandman,” came in to try and preserve the win.

After pitching a perfect fifth inning, Fried faced the top of the lineup for W7, which included their power hitters. By utilizing his two- and four-seam fastballs, Fried was able to get ahead on each of the hitters with two strikes. He then used his off-speed pitches, the change-up and knuckle drop ball to surprise the hitters and strike them out, securing the championship for Team Duce.

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Team Duce finishes Bayside Little League regular season with a perfect record


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Team Duce

Team Duce capped off a perfect 12-0 Bayside Little League regular season with a 16-5 victory over its interleague rival, E4.

The player of the game, starting pitcher Charlie Blair, earned the win and raised his record to 11-0. Blair also delivered at the plate, as he went 4-4 with three singles, a double, five RBIs and four runs scored.

Tino Famiglietti came in to relieve Blair and pitched solid in the third inning. Famiglietti added a hit in the bottom of the frame to drive in a run.

Costa Bournias later relieved Famiglietti and struck out five of the six batters he faced. He also had two line drive singles.

Tanner Jacob Fried, who leads the league in batting average, on base percentage, home runs, RBIs and saves, went 3-3 with a home run, triple and single, driving in five runs and scoring four times. Fried came in to close out the game in the fifth inning and pitched two innings of perfect baseball, earning his 11th save of the year.

Derek McCreesh had two liners to right field for singles. He also scored two runs. Team Duce’s catcher, Bobby Fretwell, not only had a big put-out at the plate, he also lined a double and a single driving in a run. John Archbold got three huge hits and drove in two runs, both of which came with two outs. George Diamantopoulos went 3-3 with a pair of doubles.

Rafael Rufrano went 3-3 at the plate. Aris Catehis got on base all three times was he went to bat, driving in a run in the fourth inning. David Castracane got on base both times he was at bat, one of which was a shot up the middle in the second inning and scored two runs in the game.

Team Duce is now preparing for the playoffs, which begin on June 13 at Valle West in Crocheron Park in Bayside.

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Whitestone’s defunct little league program gets new life


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Mets Sandlot Baseball League

The Mets Sandlot Baseball League, founded in the 1960s, was once an outlet for kids and young adults to continue playing past the summer months — but for almost two decades, it’s been inactive. Now, two coaches are helping to resurrect the league with a new generation of players.

In 2012, John Guarneri and Arthur Lagrega wanted to extend the Bayside Little League summer season into the fall. At that time there were no fall programs in Bayside and the fall programs from other local leagues were canceled. In response, they introduced the Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing (WBF) Baseball Program “where the players will not only play games, but also learn about the game and the proper way to play it,” Guarneri said.

By 2014, the WBF league had reached 133 registered players, enough for nine teams. The speedy growth of the program led the coaches to bring back the Mets Sandlot Baseball League.

After a successful 2014 campaign, the board members decided to start a new travel league, called New York City Elite (NYCE). Now, both the WBF Baseball Program and NYCE are incorporated under the Mets Sandlot Baseball League.

As the program keeps developing, its leaders look back to the league’s history. At its height, elite little league teams such as the Bayside Yankees, Flushing Tigers, Youth Service Bonnies, Whitestone Knights, Astoria Youth, Elmjack and Long Island Mets used to participate, and divisions ranged from 10 and up to 21 and up.

“Our vision is to improve the overall baseball talent in the Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing and surrounding areas,” Guarneri said. “We also look to give the players a positive experience that they will remember the rest of their lives and also learn many different life lessons that they will use throughout their life.”

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Bayside Little League team continues hot streak


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Team Duce

The big bats of Team Duce showed up as they continued their unbeaten streak with a big interleague win over E2 on Saturday.

Charlie Blair, Team Duce’s starting pitcher, not only earned his sixth victory of the season, but also had a three-run homerun and drove in four runs. Tanner Fried continued his hot hitting, going 4-4 on the afternoon with a three-run homerun and a grand slam.

George Diamantopoulos, the cleanup hitter in the lineup, had a double, a single and drove in three runs. Rafael Rufrano and Aris Catehis got on base all six times they got up.

David Castracane got on base in a different way. He reached base twice, both times by getting hit with pitches. Castracane brushed off the pain by scoring a run for his team. The catcher, Bobby Fretwell, threw out a runner who was trying to leg a double into a triple. Fretwell also had a big double in the fourth inning.

Costa Bournias came in to relieve Blair, and was brilliant, striking out five out of the six batters he faced.  Derek McCreesh relieved Bournias and was lights out – striking out the two only batters he opposed. Tino Famiglietti relieved McCreesh in the last inning and recorded the save, pitching a scoreless sixth inning.

The player of the game was John Archbold, who got two huge hits, drove in the winning run and struck out three in a middle relief appearance.

Team Duce is now 6-0 on the season. Their next games are Thursday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Both are at Valle West, which is part of Crocheron Park in Bayside.

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Bayside Little League’s Team Duce remains undefeated with big win


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Team Duce.

Team Duce, which is part of the Texas Division of Bayside Little League, continued their winning streak on Saturday and improved their record to 4-0 when they defeated team divisional rival W7.

Tanner Fried hit for the cycle, drove in eight RBIs and earned his nickname “The Sandman” by closing the game with a scoreless sixth inning. He was named the player of the game for his stellar performance.

Charlie Blair, the starting pitcher, earned the win and brought his record to a perfect 4-0. Derek McCreesh came in to relieve Blair and struck out five batters in the relief effort. Bobby Fretwell came in for McCreesh and earned his first strikeout of the season.

Tino Famiglietti made a tremendous play in the outfield by throwing out a runner at second. George Diamantopoulos played great at first base and hit for two doubles.

John Archbold and Rafael Rufrano both played catcher and got on base a combined six times. Costa Bournias got on base three times and also scored three runs.

Duce looks to remain undefeated when they take the field this Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Valley West Field, located in Crocheron Park.

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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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Little League bobbles sked, knocks Bayside from tourney despite win


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Bayside Little League


Little League struck out not looking.

After the Bayside Little League team defeated Elmjack in the District 26 finals on July 1 by a score of 24-0, there were smiles all around.

The Rebels were preparing to face teams from around the city in the intermediate sectional round, but those smiles turned to frowns and confused faces days after their win when manager John Callahan broke the news that the team will not advance to the sectional round because of a Little League administrative blooper.

The district was not properly registered for the sectional tournament and the 12 kids of the Bayside Rebels weren’t allowed to continue to the next round.

“The kids were heartbroken, and they didn’t understand why,” Callahan said. “Unfortunate. It really is unfortunate.”

Days following the win over Elmjack, Callahan reached out to Bayside Little League administrators for details on the next round. Usually, he would know by the next day, he said, but no one seemed to know anything about the team’s next game.

Bayside Little League President Bob Reid reached out to Little League coordinators for an explanation.

Little League officials told The Courier when Bayside defeated Elmjack, the sectional tournament had already begun, indicating that at some time there was a mistake that led the District 26 tournament to start late and not finish in time for the sectional round.

Little League representatives said they don’t know who is to blame yet for the slip-up, but are investigating the problem.

“There was some miscommunication between two of our district administrators,” said Pat Wilson, Little League senior vice president of operations and programming. “We are still collecting information.”

Callahan and Reid said that despite their efforts, Little League didn’t try to amend the situation and have the team continue anyway after the problem was discovered.

At this point, the sectional tournament is already over and there isn’t much Little League can do for Bayside, but maybe issue an apology to the parents and players.

“Growing up, my father said a man makes mistakes and you don’t judge him by the mistakes but how he makes up for them,” Callahan said. “But [Little League] ignored it.”

 

 

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Bayside Little League makes semifinal


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Jerry Costa

BENJAMIN FANG

The Bayside Little League junior team, ages 13-14, which dedicated its season to Newtown victims advanced to the semifinal round of the New York Section 5 tournament, but lost to eventual champion Franklin Square Little League on July 18.

Bayside, the District 26 champion, won its first two games before losing two. The first loss came from Oceanside Little League and then to Franklin Square, 17-14.

“We let them know how proud we were and how proud their parents were,” manager Jerry Costa said. “Everyone dug in.”

The lost ended their season, which was highlighted by a 20-game undefeated regular season which was dedicated to the victims of the shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. During that time the team wore patches and made chants throughout the season to honor the Newtown children.

“Of all the teams I’ve managed, this team had the most heart,” Costa said. “Plenty of times we kept losing, but kept coming back.”

Costa praised two pitchers, Anthony Costa and Stephen Castro, for performing well in the sectional tournament.

“He played so hard,” Costa said about Anthony, whose team nickname is “Ace.” He pitched the whole game in a 4-2 victory against Westside Little League, Bayside’s first win in the tournament.

Now the junior team will play in other tournaments against other teams, Costa said.

 

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Bayside Little League team wins it for Newtown victims


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jerry Costa

BY CHARLES OSBORN

Jerry Costa has been managing little league teams for nine years, starting when his son turned five. But this season was different.

The Katie Den Little League team out of Bayside not only won all 20 of its games this season; they won on behalf of victims of the December 2012 shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

A parent whose child played for Costa approached the coach about wearing a patch to call attention to the victims of the grisly school shooting. Costa immediately got in touch with Bayside Little League President Bob Reid.

“I go to the baseball field all the time and see young, six-year-old kids playing and laughing and having a good time,” Costa said. “Win or lose, it doesn’t make a difference to them as long as they’re playing baseball. I don’t care how much money the professionals make. Baseball was invented for kids.”

Reid approved the patches, and the team, sponsored by Katie Den Enterprises, had an official rallying cry: “One-Two-Three-Newtown!” They chanted it before innings as well as after games, including their final victory on June 21, sewing up that perfect 20-0 season and a story for the ages. Each win represented one child whose life was taken at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“There were 26 total victims at Sandy Hook, and six of them were teachers and staff. When I was told that we had won 20 games for 20 children victims, I had to pull myself together,” Costa said.

“Two of the kids playing for the team had never picked up a bat or a glove. It’s a miracle what we were able to accomplish for those kids,” Costa added. “Baseball is a great game. [The] children will never be forgotten. They will always been in our hearts.”

 

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Bayside Little League bestows honors


| MKirk@queenscourier.com

George Goger now has a plaque that reads “Great Jiminy Cricket!”

He was feted with the Frank Coppelli Memorial Coach of the Year award for his work with the 10- through 12-year-olds of the Bayside Little League.

The players, coaches and parents packed into Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament School on Saturday morning, September 8 for an awards ceremony to commemorate the end of another season.

While the event itself signified there was a sense of pride in all that the players and teams accomplished, Bayside Little League commissioner Bob Reid said that the main purpose of summer ball was something much more intangible.

“The goal is to create a memory he or she will carry with them throughout their adult life,” he said.

The players, who ranged from five to 13, received awards for team and individual achievements, along with plaques recognizing their participation in the league. According to Reid, 2012 saw 847 children come out to play for 64 teams.

This year’s Home Run Derby champion was 13-year-old Jamie Reagan, who was able to blast three homers in five swings during the competition this summer.

Reagan said it was “really fun” to have won the award and credits his success to practicing with his father.

“We go to Cunningham Park and do batting practice a lot,” Reagan said.

As for “Coach of the Year” Goger, the saying on his plaque is a testament to the season.

“It’s all I ever hear him saying on the field,” Reid quipped.

Before presenting Goger the award, Reid reiterated his stance on Little League being about more than scores and records.

“The Coach of the Year award goes to a coach who has shown that winning isn’t everything,” he said. “They instill in their players that having fun is more important. They’re always there for the players and make sure every player is in the game.”

Also following this theme was the Scholarship Award, which was started by Bayside Little League three years ago. The contest is solely for players about to enter high school and asks them to write an essay about how youth sports has prepared them for the future. After 10 entries had been reviewed by the league’s five-judge panel, the winner of the $1,500 prize was declared Charles Angelo Maisano.

The Christopher Adam Scott Memorial Most Valuable Player Award pays homage to an 11-year-old boy who was killed after being struck by a vehicle on a Clearview Expressway overpass in 2000. This year Christopher Velaoras took home the honor.

Both the 10-and-under and 12-and-under teams were recognized for the tournaments they won over the summer as well. The 10U team racked up championships for the District 26 and Rosenbluth tourneys, while the 12U team won a first place trophy at the Gorman Tournament.

One by one the wall of trophies dwindled as kids ran up to receive them, giving their coaches high-fives and fist pounds as they made their way onto the stage, their family members applauding in the audience.

“I think it went very well considering the weather,” league board member Marty Palermo said as the rain drummed against the windows. “It was a big turnout. Packed. I think all the kids had a lot of fun.”

 

Like father, like son: Son of Mets star Edgardo Alfonzo is a Little League phenom


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Sana Karim

Apparently, the “Alfonzo” doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Daniel Alfonzo, son of former Mets star Edgardo Alfonzo, is making waves in the Bayside Little League, leading all players in home runs and playing in the All-Star game last week.

“It’s good, because I see many kids in the league that have really good talent,” Edgardo said about his son, who is standing out as one of the league’s top batters.

Edgardo has noticed his son’s enthusiasm for the game and believes he may have a bright future playing the sport.

“He’s passionate for the game, that’s a good sign,” said Edgardo. “You know that kids are going to be good when they have that passion for the game.”

Every time he has a free moment the former Met goes to watch his son play and support him. There’s no doubt in his mind that the reason Daniel is fond of baseball is because he played professionally.

“Since he was born he has been surrounded by bats, balls and gloves,” Edgardo said, adding “Every time we go out to eat, people recognize me so I think he likes that.”

Despite the talent and passion his son already has for the sport, Edgardo noted that he still has to teach Daniel situational baseball, before he will be able to advance to higher levels of the game.

This means how to play the game in every facet, avoid errors to play smarter baseball and make crucial plays in game situations.

“He teaches me a lot of stuff, like how to play baseball with the pros,” Daniel said of learning the game from his dad, whom he considers his role model.

“Everything he learned is from watching the game,” Edgardo said. “I want to teach him how to play the game. Every time I can support him and correct him playing the game, I try to do it.”

Because he is still young, Daniel also hasn’t settled with a specific position yet.

For the span of his 12-year career, Edgardo played at third and second base, and batted .284 overall with 146 home runs. He was an All-Star with the Mets in 2000 and won the Silver Slugger award in 1999.

His son has played at various positions including catcher, pitcher and some spots in the infield. And although Daniel likes to pitch, Edgardo just wants him to do what comes naturally.

“Right now at this age I told him to play where he is comfortable,” Edgardo said, adding that his son has time to figure out where he will play on the diamond.

Edgardo said it’s too early to say if his son will make it to the big leagues, but he just appreciates that his son is following his path.

“It’s fun watch your own son trying to follow your footsteps,” he said.

However, Daniel may play for the Yankees instead of his dad’s Mets.

“I would like to play for the Mets and the Yankees. Either or,” said Daniel.

— Additional reporting by Sana Karim