In an amazing turnaround, the PYA Legends Baseball Team made a remarkable playoff run to qualify for the Triple Crown National Tournament in St. Augustine, Florida this fall. To win a bid, the team, comprised of local 13-year-old boys, had to compete against select all-star teams from Long Island, New York City, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Winning a bid was made even more improbable by the fact that this team finished in last place in the spring National Juniors Baseball League. "I knew in the spring the boys would have a tough time adjusting from 60' to 90' bases. But I did not expect them to struggle the way they did," Coach Manny Alas said. "But I've been coaching most of these boys since they were 8 years old, And they are a proud, determines group with a lot of character, It was just a matter of time before they turned it around." That moment came over the summer when the boys swept a double header from the Long Island Bulls at the famed Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY. In the first game of that doubleheader, Dan Barnes pitched a no-hitter. Great catches in the late innings by outfields Dan Goldin and Marty Meehan preserved Dan's no-no. the boys came back to Long Island and continued to play great baseball finishing above .500 in the summer league to allow them to compete in the Triple Crown tournament on Long Island.
Mike Duranti and Dan Barnes led the way by throwing two, two-hit, 2-0 shutouts. Great defensive play by Kevin Alas and Steve "the Chicken Man" Serano helped secure the Long Island title. The boys then went up to N. Branford, CT. and won their first three games by outscoring their opponents 23-11. The hitting attack was led by Pasquel Spagna, Chris Guinta, Brandon Schnieder and Andy Mullin. Excellent base running by Mike Padavano, superb catching by Chris Doscus and a breakout pitching performance by Steve "Big Mac" McGinnery led the way.
And of course legend Chris Henry was in the middle of it all.
In those three pitching games the pitching staff was nothing short of brilliant. Duranti, Barnes and "Big Mac" combined for an amazing 1.00 ERA. The Legends dropped the title game to the Massachusetts Wolverines, but a runner-up finish was enough to get them the national bid.
Congratulations boys...you've earned it.