As the baseball season comes to a close, coaches of the Island Trees 9-year-old All Star team want to congratulate the boys on an excellent season. The team participated in three separate tournaments compiling an outstanding 9-4 record. Island Trees was tested from the onset as they played all teams with a previous history of winning. This team was formed in the middle of May and on top of playing their regular season schedule, they began All Star practices the last week of May.
The boys have a grueling schedule for 9-year-olds, but they showed how remarkable they are enduring three hour practices three to four times a week, including those hot 90 degree days. They never complained once and the hard part was actually sending them home, as they would have probably stayed six hours if the coaches had asked them.
The All Star team is named the Bulldogs, a fit name for how they played. They were tough, like their name suggests, never once quitting in any game.
The first tournament the boys participated in was the NYS Cal Ripken Tournament in Staten Island. This was a double elimination tournament, and the boys got off to a fast start winning their first two games, beating East Rockaway 19-6 and Plainedge White 13-7. Unfortunately the Bulldogs' luck ran out losing their next two games to Plainedge Red and Levittown Central, thereby getting eliminated from the tournament. Going 2-2 into the tournament was quite an accomplishment, considering the level of competition the boys had to face. They were actually only two victories away from getting into the championship game.
The second tournament the Bulldogs played in was the HBQVB tournament in Queens. The level of competition was again tough. The Bulldogs were on an incredible roll, opening by beating Farmingdale 7-6. In their second game, the boys ousted Franklin Square 14-4 and beat Manhasset 12-2 in their third game. The fourth game was a showdown for first place. The Bulldogs squared off against a touch Ozone Park/Howard Beach team and held a commanding 10-4 lead going into the last inning. Ozone/Howard staged a furious comeback to pull within 10-9 before the Bulldogs preserved their win. This enabled the Bulldogs to remain undefeated at 4-0 and finish first in the 9-year-old national league division.
The Bulldogs faced a tough Greenpoint Brooklyn team on Aug. 12 during the first round of the playoffs. Greenpoint held a 1-0 lead going into the sixth inning, and tacked on one more run putting the Bulldogs into a 2-0 hole. With two outs the Bulldogs staged a rally. After two bunt base hits the boys couldn't score the tying run and lost a pitchers duel 2-1. The same Greenpoint team went on to win the championship in the Queens Tournament, although the Bulldogs battled until the end.
The Plainedge Tournament was the third the Bulldogs participated in, always a competitive tournament including some of the toughest teams from the area. Included are perennial power houses Plainedge Red, Bethpage, Levittown South/Wantagh and Glen Cove, who is currently 7-0 in their tournament. In their first game against Bethpage, the Bulldogs won 6-5, their third one run victory in tournament play. In their second game, the Bulldogs beat Plainedge White 13-1. After playing their playoff game in Queens in the morning, the Bulldogs played a second game that day, this time in the Plainedge tournament. They faced the Levittown/South Wantagh team (who went to the finals in the Staten Island State tournament) and did appear to suffer a let down from their earlier playoff loss as they lost 6-3. Their final game was against NYS champions Plainedge Red. The boys were up for this one, and won 12-3. Due to a schedule conflict, Plainedge tournament officials did not let the Bulldogs make up a canceled game against Glen Cove, causing the Bulldogs to miss the playoffs because of a scheduling technicality.
The coaches, who feel the scheduling problem was an unfortunate set of circumstances, congratulate the boys on a very successful All Star season. They are all in agreement that the boys are a fabulous group of ballplayers and kids and thank them for their hard work and dedication. They also thank all the parents for enduring so many long practices and travelling without any complaints.