Every year PYA chooses the best 11 and 12-year-old baseball talent from the Little League teams and starts to climb the ladder to reach the Little League World Series held in Williamsport, PA. In order to achieve that goal each team must proceed through their local district, then to the sectionals by playing other district winners. If successful, continuing to the state, then the mid-Atlantic region and if fortunate, to the World Series tournament. It is quite a rigorous climb and very few teams get a chance to go that far.
The 2002 Port Washington Legends were able to advance through winning five straight games, which included the District 28 championship. Their next victory was at the sectionals defeating a very talented and strong Garden City team on an eight gamewinning streak. Port's advancement ended last Sunday when East Meadow, coming off a victory over Mattituck the evening before, defeated the Legends at the Long Island sectional semifinals. The advancement meant that Port was one of the top four teams on Long Island and top 16 in New York State. This is a well-deserved reward for this team, since most have been playing together since they were 7 and 8 years old.
The pitching staff is anchored by the "smoke and heat" throwing of Brian Miller and Colin Kerr, who were the workhorses and pitched excellent games throughout. They were supported by left-handed hurler John May and hard-throwing Mike Berlly. James Lopilato handled some closing duties perfectly. Infielders Chris Ryder, Steve Contino, Rich Imperatore and James Lopilato were nearly perfect in fielding. The strong outfielders are Johnny Froccaro, Joe Barrett and Alex Donatelli. The bullet arm of Jeff Froccaro was behind the plate. This defensive combination allowed an average of three runs per game during the tournament. Offensively, the entire team averaged over six runs per game. Extraordinary hitting by Brian Miller and Colin Kerr and a homer by John May were some of the highlights. The entire team was hitting well; a team playing at this level must have the entire team contributing offensively.
These players never give up, they travel to the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and begin the week-long National Cooperstown Tournament this coming Saturday. Port Washington is sending two teams, the Port Legends Red and Blue teams. This is a rugged double header per day tournament with teams coming from all over the country. The Port Legends Red is primarily the district championship team and will add two players, Matt Podabinski and James Garcia, from the PAL Port Dragons, who recently won the Queens tournament.
The Port Legends would like to thank our primary sponsors: DiMaggio's Restaurants and Sal Zimbardi Associates for their key major support. Other sponsors were Shield's hardware, Mint Condition and Port Chiropractic. Also a thank you for hosting the district championship dinner to a player's father and supporter, Jim Contino's Clubhouse Restaurant. This assistance is critical in running summer athletic programs. Thanks to all!