Tag Archives: Little League

Bayside Little League Rebels capture Borough Cup Championship

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy Bayside Little League Rebels

In a closely contested game, the Bayside Little League Rebels defeated the Richmond County Raiders by a score of 2-1 to earn the Borough Cup Championship at Yankee Stadium last week.

Both teams entered the championship game undefeated, with the Raiders holding a 4-0 record, while the Rebels were 5-0.

Before the game on Sept. 3, the teams got the chance to travel through Yankee Stadium to their locker rooms. When it was time to take the field, the Rebels marched through the halls of Yankee Stadium and onto the field.

“In a couple of words the experience was awe-inspiring and the site of the field breathtaking as the rusty brown clay, green grass and blue sky all come into view within the cavernous walls of the stadium,” said Steven Perez, press coordinator for the Rebels.

The pregame ceremony included ceremonial first pitches, which were thrown out by the Borough Cup’s co-founder John Franco, Hall of Fame pitcher for the New York Mets; and Omar Minaya, former Mets General Manager. After the National Anthem, it was time to play ball.


The Rebels took an early lead in the second inning when catcher Ray Winter led off with a walk. John DeCastro struck out on three pitches and Kevin O’Connor also struck out. With two outs in the inning, right fielder Regan Goger hit a single into the gap between the center and right fielders driving in Winter and putting the Rebels on the board 1-0.

The score remained the same as both pitchers controlled the game. In the bottom of the sixth the Raiders pulled even. Rebels pitcher John Callahan walked a batter, gave up a hit to right field and a blooper to third base to load the bases.

The number two batter for the Raiders hit a ground ball between second and first base, but Aristo Pagiatakis threw home to Winter to get the out at the plate. The lone Raiders run then came on a wild pitch, tying the game at 1-1.

In the top of the eighth inning, the Rebels managed to get the first two batters on base. With runners on second and third, the Raiders pitcher balked, allowing Becir Hot to score the go-ahead run, giving the Rebels a 2-1 lead.

The Rebels clinched the championship after Callahan finished the complete game with a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth.

“This team and their families have a lot to be thankful for the years of hard work, fun and tears that brought them to pinnacle of the game. Playing in a major league ball park is probably the dream of every young ball player, but these children have lived that dream twice, last year coming in second in the city and this year taking it all the way to be crowned champions,” Perez said. “They have learned more than how to play ball, they have learned to work together as a team, to build each other up and not criticize, to be respectful to their coaches, parents and each other.“


Boy Scout organizes cleanup event for Glendale RGMVM fields

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy of the Hansen family

The Ridgewood-Glendale-Middle Village-Maspeth (RGMVM) Little League fields located at 78-11 Woodhaven Blvd. in Glendale got a much-needed cleanup over the weekend thanks to one Boy Scout’s efforts.

In order to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), Steve Hansen had to complete a service project for the community. Hansen decided to give back to the little league baseball organization that he played for as a child, the RGMVM Little League.

“It was his idea to do RGMVM because he has played baseball down there since he was young and he wanted to give something back to the group that was so good to him,” said Steven Hansen Sr., Hansen’s father.

Hansen hoped to breathe new life into the fields over a three-day span from July 23 to July 25. The plan involved cleaning and repainting the fields’ six dugouts, painting lines in the batting cages, cleaning up garbage from the surrounding fields, installing bat racks into the dugouts, hanging a sign of the Little League Pledge, and refurbishing the parking lot by pulling weeds in the lot, cutting ivy off of the lot’s fencing and repainting the parking lot lines.

Hansen had to present his project plan and get it approved by both the RGMVM board and the BSA board. Once the project was approved, Hansen was tasked with raising funds for the project, purchasing and getting donations for the supplies needed, recruiting volunteers, and gathering food and beverages for the three-day event.

For the project, Hansen raised over $1,800 in donations from family, friends, neighbors and local organizations such as the Glendale Kiwanis Club.

Volunteers and contributors were current scouts, former scouts, friends and family. Over the course of the cleanup effort, Hansen recruited a total of 24 volunteers, who in total put in 143 man-hours of work.

By the end of the three days the project was nearly complete, with only the installation of the bat racks and the sign to be completed once they arrive.

“This has been a great learning experience. Scouting has been a big part of our family’s life,” said Kerrie Hansen, Steve Hansen’s mother. “We are thrilled Steven has embraced this project with hard work, determination and persistence that he displayed. Eagle Scout projects like this have to have a huge influence on shaping a young man’s life. It is probably one of the most difficult things they ever tackled.”


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.


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.


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.”



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.


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.


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.



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.”





Bayside Rebels Little League team heading to Borough Cup

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Yankee Stadium here we come!


The Bayside Rebels are back and better than ever.

After an administrative error left the Little League baseball team out of the sectional tournament, the 12-year-olds are now headed to the Borough Cup championship game on Aug. 14 at Yankee Stadium.

They will face the USC Knights of Kingsbridge in a matchup pitting Queens against the Bronx.

Bayside’s road to the finals was paved with success. The Rebels dominated all five tournament games, outscoring opponents 41 to two.

The Rebels blanked three straight Queens teams to advance to the city playoffs. They beat the Forest Hill Bombers 7-0, defeated the NY Nationals 7-0 and trounced the Queens Braves 12-0.

In the next round, Bayside handed the Bronx’s TM Select team a 9-1 loss, leading them to the semifinal game against Staten Island’s Mid-Island Royals. On Sunday, the Queens champions easily beat the Royals 6-1, moving on to the championship game.

Now they will face a formidable foe in the USC Knights, which have also overpowered its competitors. The Bronx team has scored 55 runs throughout the Borough Cup tournament while only surrendering four.

This is the inaugural Borough Cup tournament, created by Mets Hall of Fame pitcher John Franco, WFAN sports radio personality Craig Carton and Brooklyn Cyclones assistant general manager Gary Perone.






Ozone Howard Little Leaguer is a giant among his peers

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Chris Kollmer is colossal.

Kollmer is so tall and powerful for his age that Ozone Howard Little League Huskies eight and under manager Andy Menechella often carries the young player’s birth certificate to prove to opposing teams’ parents the nine-year-old is not a teenager.

Standing at 5’1”, about 120 pounds and wearing size nine shoe, Kollmer is a giant among his peers. And it’s not just his size that makes him frightening. Kollmer is a monster at the plate.

“In a situation where the game is tight, you don’t want anybody else but him at the plate,” Menechella said. “He’s hit homeruns over the fence that I haven’t seen 13 year olds hit.”

In 40 games he has 54 hits with a remarkable .574, 10 homeruns and 67 RBIs. It’s no doubt Kollmer is a major factor why the Huskies have gone 40-9 this summer, and won two tournaments after making four finals.

Teams are so scared of Kollmer that they’ve begun to intentionally walk him to first base to avoid giving up a homer. This tactic is frequently used against big name sluggers in the Major League, but it just frustrates Kollmer.

“If they intentionally walk me I get mad, because I really want to hit the ball,” Kollmer said.

Kollmer isn’t just a baseball player. He is a versatile athlete that plays basketball and football when he’s not on the diamond, and even in those sports his size is recognized. In basketball he plays center, usually reserved for the tallest player, and in football, he plays fullback, which is known for the big-bodied defensive guys.

But Kollmer wasn’t always good at baseball. His physical growth certainly helped boost is athletic ability, and his parents said help from a new coach also spurted his little league baseball domination.

Elvin Millan, a catcher for the Newark Bears of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, has been working with Kollmer to help improve his swing and give him tips on how to play the first base and catcher positions. When Millan first met Kollmer he knew the little leaguer had the natural ability to be great, but needed to refine his technique.

“He had the talent,” Millan said. “He was like a newborn giraffe.”

The talent isn’t just random. Kollmer comes from a sports-oriented family. His father, Darren, played lacrosse growing up, his brother is a college baseball player and his cousins all play football and baseball.

“I think it’s just genetics,” Darren said.

But besides his attributes on the field, Kollmer is a normal kid. He likes playing video games, watching cartoons, eating spaghetti and meatballs and studying mathematics. His favorite baseball team is the Yankees; he admires the captain, Derek Jeter, and of course he dreams of playing baseball professionally in the distant future.

For now though, Kollmer has his eyes set on a much closer reality. Within the next couple of years he wants to lead his team to the Little League World Series.

“My team can definitely get there, we are an excellent team,” Kollmer said.



Ozone Howard Little League eight and under team wins tournament

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Andy Menechella

The Ozone Howard Little League eight and under team defeated Oceanside National Little League, 7-5, in a tournament hosted by Oceanside on July 25, after an explosive comeback effort.

Trailing Oceanside in the 4th inning, Ozone Howard’s Chris Kollmer cleared the bases with a two-out double to take the lead. Following the comeback, John Sapia entered in relief for Ozone Howard and shutout Oceanside for the final three innings for the win.

The victory capped a six-game undefeated streak in the tournament.

“This was a thrilling victory for this Ozone Howard Huskies team,” said manager Andy Menechella. “This team has the heart of a lion. I’m so proud of these guys and I am thrilled to see what’s to come next for this team.”



Kids learn from the greats of baseball

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony O'Reilly


The next generation of baseball players had the opportunity to be trained by the greats of yesteryear at a Youth Baseball Clinic held at St. Kevin’s School in Flushing.

Yankee greats Roy White, Oscar Gamble and Gamble’s son Sean, a former Phillies player and current coach at Selma University in Alabama, all participated in the event. The youngsters were able to receive tips on batting, pitching and throwing from the former players.

Queens legend Dwight “Doc” Gooden, a part of the 1986 Mets championship team, also came out to the event.

This was the third time the clinic was held, according to the Catholic Youth Organization’s (CYO) baseball director for St. Kevin’s, John Bonnano.

Bonnano, who played Little League himself as a kid, said he started the clinic to allow the youngsters to have a memory about baseball, beyond just playing on the field.

“It’s something for them to remember as they grow up as well as have fun and learn some things,” he said.


Bonanno said last year the clinic was held out on Long Island, which caused low attendance because of the commute. This year, the clinic returned to the school’s basketball court.

Bonnano said he’s good friends with Gamble, which allowed him to host the clinic at a minimal cost.

Gamble said he felt it important to attend such clinics because it allowed the next generation of baseball players to get a head start in honing their skills.

“We try to teach a lot of the technique,” he said. “It’s great to get our and help the kids. It’s a lot of fun.”

White said that while he was eager to help the young players develop their skills, he pointed out that it’s hard to teach them everything they need to know at this point of the game.

“You can do some basic things,” he said. “But you can’t start getting too technical with them.”

White also said he wanted to show up in order to give the kids something to remember their baseball playing days by.

“I never had anyone from baseball come in when I was in school,” he said.

Kevin Hynes has two kids at St. Kevin’s, both of whom play baseball. For him, attending the clinic with his kids was common sense.

“They’re very active in the St. Kevin’s community,” he said. “So this was the next logical step.”

Hynes said while he teaches his kids the fundamentals of baseball, he still felt it important to bring them to the clinic and learn from the greats.

“Even though we’re Queens Mets fans, it’s still great for them to show them how to play the game and just have fun.”

Kids and their parents were also given the opportunity to take pictures with and receive autographs from the players. Many parents brought along posters and memorabilia from the players during their heyday, something that White says is a common occurrence at clinics such as these.

“A lot of people will come up to me and say, ‘I used to copy your stance when I was playing,’” said White.

Bonnano said he will try to continue the tradition of the youth clinic every year, hoping that it attracts more and more young baseball hopefuls.



Ozone Howard all-star team wins tournament

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Team Wolfpack, the Ozone Howard Little League’s eight-year-old all-star team, won the championship in the “2012 SYAG Ed Rall Memorial Tournament” with an exciting finish.

The Ed Rall Tournament is Long Island’s most elite youth baseball tournament, with over 140 teams in attendance. It began in memory of firefighter and longtime SYAG coach Edward Rall. He was an 18-year veteran of the FDNY as a member of Rescue 2, who paid the supreme sacrifice on September 11, 2001.

The Wolfpack had to play a triple header to win the tournament because of a rainout.

The Wolfpack went down quickly in the championship game 4-1 with some big hits from their counterparts, the Long Island Falcons. But then the top of the 6th inning came and with two outs, the Wolfpack came howling back, with big hits from Michael McNally, Devin Rivero, Dylan Wayne, Nicky Gatto, Marco Jannis and Brandon Ricca, to score four runs and take the lead. Starting pitcher Brandon Ricca finished the game by shutting the door in the bottom of the sixth inning — with the whole complex going wild.

Former Queens Little League ‘coach of the year’ pleads guilty to sexually abusing minors

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Ellis Kaplan

A former Little League coach of the year pleaded guilty to sexually abusing players on his team.

David Hartshorn, a former coach at the Rochdale Village Little League, was arrested and charged in February with having sexual contact with three boys, ages 13 and 14, at his Rochdale Village home between July 2009 and January 2011. He was also accused of showing child pornography to minors and filming two teens engaged in sex acts.

Hartshorn pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree criminal sexual act, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual act and two counts of use of a child in a sexual performance. Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Buchter indicated Hartshorn would be sentenced to 18 years in prison, the district attorney’s office said.

“The defendant has admitted being a sexual predator who took advantage of his position as a Little League baseball coach to get close to young boys before sexually abusing them,” said District Attorney Richard Brown. “The consequences of his actions can have a lasting and profound impact on his victims – for that reason alone, the intended prison sentence to be meted out by the Court is more than warranted.”

According to the criminal charges, Hartshorn would frequently have members of his team at his residence.

This isn’t Hartshorn’s first time in trouble with the law. According to published reports, he was convicted in 1989 on charges of sodomy, promoting sexual performance by a child under 16 and promoting obscene sexual performance by a child under 16.

Hartshorn has been held without bail since his February 2011 arrest.

Additional reporting by Steve Mosco