PYA's nine and 10 year old Williamsport Tournament team began their summer campaign with an exciting win over a talented New Hyde Park squad.
In a win that can truly only be described as a team effort, Port Washington used solid pitching and exceptional defense to defeat the experienced Merillon Ave. Tournament Club by the score of 4 to 2.
Tommy "The Quick" Mansfield, a seasoned catcher and infielder but an inexperienced pitcher, was called on to start the game for Port Washington. Tommy Quick, who went 5 and 1/3 innings for the win, pitched a pitcher's game. The Quick spent the morning painting both corners of the dish, experimenting with a recently taught "changeup" and throwing the occasional "high and tight fastball."
The real story, however, was the solid defense that was displayed by Port Washington. The first inning of the game saw two solid ropes snared in by left fielder Chris "Catchem all" Ryder. In the second inning with men on second and third, first basemen Jeff "The Bull" Frocarro made a leaping grab of a line drive saving two runs. The third and fourth innings saw a combination of diving catches, strong throws and stunning fielding by Stevie Contino, Mark Brewster, Brian Miller and James Lopilato.
Games, of course, are not won by defense alone and this one was no exception. Johnny "The Clipper" Froccaro contributed a key hit, Tyler "Corky" Corcoran laid down a picture perfect bunt and Ritchie "Mr. RBI" Imperatore drove in the winning run with a rocket up the middle.
In a contest ripe with exciting moments that exemplified the best spirit, excitement and sportsmanship that can be expected in youth baseball, the sixth inning was worthy of mention. With a runner on first and the tying run at the plate Danny "Big Train" Barnes was asked to come in to relieve Mansfield. Barnes, who had been performing the catching duties for Port Washington, walked to the mound, took the ball, shook hands and exchanged catcher's gear with Mansfield. The moment was a special one as the reserved and confident pitcher warmed up.
From the opposing stands, whispers could be heard and raised eyebrows could be seen, as the unusual spectacle was unfolding. The catcher was now the relief pitcher; the starting pitcher was now the catcher. Veteran fans of Port Washington PYA baseball, however, knew what was about to happen. Danny Barnes reared back and smoked the next two Merillon Ave. hitters striking them both out and sealing the victory for Port Washington.