Friday, 19 November 2010 00:00
The NHPAA 14U Team Intensity were crowned champions of the 2010 HBQVB “Never Give Up” Fall Travel Tournament winning 3 consecutive hard fought games against the Brooklyn Cyclones, Middle Village Explosion, and the Cyclones Silver. The girls were relentless in their pursuit of the grand prize and stood the test, displaying fierce determination against these elite teams comprised of All-Stars from many different towns.
In the first game, New Hyde Park squared off against the Brooklyn Cyclones who had a dominant pitcher who has been clocked at 57mph and is considered by some to be among the top pitchers in the PSAL Brooklyn/Queens High School League. NHP was led by right fielder Kim Spagnuolo who had 6 hits in 10 at bats on the day along with 5RBI and also made several eye popping defensive plays. Spagnuolo was 2-4, 2RBI, 2R, and 2SB against the Cyclones playing her best when it mattered most. Jillian Sakowich (2-4) set the table from the leadoff spot scoring twice and had the game winning hit to right on a clutch two out – two strike single to score Kayla Buff. Kristen Hickey was the winning pitcher throwing an impressive 5 1/3 innings allowing 4 hits while striking out 6. Hickey also went 2-3 with a towering triple to left for 2 RBI in the first inning and later had a sacrifice bunt to 1B in which she alertly stopped and backpedalled towards home before being tagged out which allowed Geena Fornataro to score from third.
Mary-Kate O’Boyle again showed her toughness behind the plate, called a smart game, and was 2-3 offensively. O’Boyle would catch all 3 games for NHP while refusing to come out (even if injured), and displayed excellent leadership to her mates. Lisa Pellegrino (5 assists) was the consummate team player with 4 sacrifice bunts, 3 hits, and 4 SB on the day and scored 6 runs. Pellegrino was equally efficient in the field anchoring the defense which stopped the Cyclones in its tracks. The flame-throwing Geena Fornataro who has seen a steady increase in velocity (at times reaching 58mph) pitched the final inning and 2/3 for the save. Defensively, third baseman Jjillian Filippi had 3 assists as she continues her impressive Fall Season at the hot corner and is proving to be a steady performer in the big spot. The offense was paced by Sabrina Spiridigliozzi who had a triple and 2RBI, Sabrina Santaruvo (1-2, BB, 2RBI on a perfectly executed slap hit), and Danielle Dziomba who was 1-2 with 2 runs scored and also surprised everyone with a delayed steal of home with 2 outs in the 5th. This type of aggressiveness has become the mantra for the girls who never give away an at bat and seize every opportunity.
In game two, Geena Fornataro (2-3, 2 doubles, 2RBI, 2R) and Lisa Pellegrino (2-3, 2SB, 1R) were the offensive heroes along with Kim Spagnuolo (2-3, 2RBI) who continued her torrid hitting with the go ahead single in the 7th to lead NHP to a 5-3 victory over Middle Village Explosion. Jillian Sakowich came on in relief of Fornataro in the 2nd inning and pitched a fabulous game for the win. Sakowich threw a variety of pitches (netting 4K’s) to thwart the powerful Expolsion offense which had previously beaten the NHP team 4 times. All-Star right fielder Kim Spagnuolo made the play of the day with a running stab of a liner to right and in one motion then made a tremendous throw to Mary-Kate O’Boyle who blocked the plate and applied the tag in the 5th inning to shift the momentum to NHP. Krista King (1-2, SB) made a key backhand play at third base on a scorching liner to end the 4th inning with runners on second and third. Kayla Buff (1-2), Kristen Hickey (1-3, RBI), Sabrina Santaruvo (1-3), and Mary-Kate O’Boyle ((1-3, 2RBI) each had key hits. This hard fought semifinal victory was especially gratifying to the girls since the Explosion seemed to have their number the entire fall - winning all 4 games.
The Championship Game played between NHP and Cyclones Silver at 4pm was reminiscent of the famous “Ice Bowl” with temperatures hovering near 40 degrees yet the NHP offense was sizzling. Mary-Kate O’Boyle went 2-3 with 3RBI and was phenomenal behind the plate taking quite a battering all day. Krista King (3-3, 3SB, triple, 3RBI) put on quite a show with her speed creating havoc for the defense and executed a slap hit to go along with a line drive triple into the gap in the 6th inning. Geena Fornataro had a booming double to left center for 2RBI and Sabrina Spiridigliozzi went 2-3 (2RBI) with a monster double of her own. Kristen Hickey (2-3, 1RBI) started on the mound – and went as far as she could using a compliment of pitches going 5 innings (striking out 5 and allowing 4 hits) for her second win of the day. After tiring in the 5th, Hickey was relieved by the fireballer and closer, Geena Fornataro (who had 4 strikeouts in the final 2 frames) to record the save and secure the HBQVB Championship for NHP Team Intensity who celebrated with a team dinner at AppleBees following the successful day.