The Port Washington Dragons are the champions of the prestigious 12-year-old Division of the Queens Junior Baseball Association, the first team in many years to accomplish this achievement in their inaugural season. Port defeated a tough and classy team from Whitestone, Queens in the Championship Series, two games to one. During the weeklong series the Dragons played three games of pulse-pounding baseball in fields throughout Queens.
The series began on Monday, June 24, at Whitey Ford Field in Astoria, with the beautiful Manhattan skyline serving as the backdrop for this slugfest. The teams combined for 20 hits and 28 runs. When the dust settled, Whitestone came out on top by a score of 17-11. Alex Donatelli, Colin Kerr and Peter Rizzo each scored two runs for Port. Tyler Fernandez, William Frappaolo, Alex Caruso, Adam Bethon and Will Rizzo also crossed the plate for the Dragons. Colin Kerr and Nick Pellerito each had two hits and an RBI. Port batters Nick Innella, Alex Donatelli, James Garcia, Adam Bethon and Will Rizzo each contributed an RBI. Alex Donatelli made a dramatic catch in center field for the defensive play of the game. The Dragons walked off the field at the end of this three-hour marathon with their heads held high, knowing they never gave up and that the series was far from over.
The series continued on Tuesday, June 25, at Golden Park in College Point, Queens. Port jumped out to a 10-4 lead at the end of the fourth inning and held on as Whitestone valiantly fought back. With the score 10-9 and two outs in the bottom of the final inning, Whitestone loaded the bases. In a heart-stopping ending, catcher Colin Kerr threw out the Whitestone runner at first base for the last out of the game, moments before the third base runner crossed home plate. Pandemonium ensued for the Port faithful as the Dragons forced a game 3. Adam Bethon and Peter Rizzo had two hits. Colin Kerr doubled, knocking in two runs. Will Rizzi doubled, scored twice and knocked in a run. Nick Innella and Alex Donatelli each had an RBI walk and scored. Mat Podobinski made the defensive play of the game at third. For the second time in the playoffs, Podobinski backhanded a hot line drive after jumping three feet in the air, saving a run and robbing the batter of an extra-base hit. Port received strong pitching from Adam Bethon and James Garcia.
On Thursday, June 27, under threatening skies with rumbles of thunder, the two teams made a noble effort to complete the series at Bush Park in Woodside, Queens. Port jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the top of the first. Matt Podobinski stole home for the eighth time this spring. Colin Kerr and James Garcia scored on Adam Bethon's single. Bethon later scored by stealing home. Eric Ellegaard pitched well for Port but heavy rains washed out the game with Port leading 4-3.
On Sunday, June 30, a day after the Dragons celebrated their successful season with an all-day pool party and barbecue, the weather was sunny and pleasant for the final championship game played at Memorial Field in Flushing, Queens. Although the teams combined to score 54 runs in the prior 16 innings of this series, the final game turned out to be a classic pitcher's duel with Port's superior arms prevailing by a 4-1 score. Whitestone drew first blood scoring a run in the bottom of the third. However, Port shut the door on a potential disaster when, with the bases loaded, pitcher Adam Bethon scooped a ground ball, threw to catcher Colin Kerr for one out and Kerr threw a bullet to James Garcia at first for the inning-ending double play. Port tied the game in the top of the fourth when Will Rizzo singled and scored in James Garcia's hit. In the top of the fifth, Peter Rizzo and Alex Donatelli singled and scored on William Frappaolo's opposite field hit. Nick Innella laid down the perfect bunt for a single scoring Frappaolo. Port pitcher Colin Kerr took command of the game, retiring nine of the next 10 Whitestone batters, to secure the championship for the first year Port Washington Dragons. The Dragons improved their season record against Whitestone to 3-1 and finished the spring season with an incredible 14-4 season record.
The Dragons begin the Glen Cove Mayor's Trophy Tournament on July 11 and will compete in the weeklong Cooperstown Baseballworld Tournament later this month.