08/11/2017 1:59 PM
When the Brooklyn Bluestorm scored two runs in the top of the first inning Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, it appeared the team that has been steamrolling the competition all spring and summer across the country would coast to the Borough Cup U-13 championship.
But when the opponent is a neighborhood rival and a squad set on revenge, expectations tend to fall by the wayside.
The resiliency of the Dodgers Elite would end up being the story of this game. After taking an immediate stand by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first, the Dodgers rallied for six runs with two out and none on in the fifth to fashion a 10-5 victory.
"We found a way, we found a groove," said Dodgers manager Danny Diverge, whose club had dropped a 6-3 decision to the Bluestorm two weeks ago at the National Youth Baseball Championship, a televised tournament the Bluestorm ended up winning. "Coming back the way we did in the bottom of the first inning gave us confidence. It told us we had the talent to do this."
Trailing 4-3 in the top of the fifth, the Bluestorm seemed to reclaim momentum when RBI singles by Aeden Finateri and Justin Sanchez gave them a 5-4 advantage.
When the first two Dodgers made out in the bottom of the frame, the end appeared in sight. But three straight walks loaded the bases and forced a pitching change. The new reliever then issued a free pass to Jason Lopez plate the tying run. Alex Rosario then delivered an RBI single to left to put the Dodgers ahead to stay.
Still, it was the ensuing two-run pinch single by Ray Pereira -- a sequence that also included an errant outfield throw that scored a third run -- that broke the game open. Noel Batista's RBI single to left capped the scoring.
"I was just looking to make a little contact," said Pereira, on his lone plate appearance in the contest. "I was looking to get on top of the ball and hit it hard on the ground; I didn't want to lift it in the air."
"The bottom of the batting order came up big that inning," said Diverge. "I knew this would be a back-and-forth game. This rivalry goes back a bit. We're the two best teams in New York. They have Avery talented, well-coached team, so it means a lot for our boys to show they can compete with them."
And to come out on top at Yankee Stadium?
"It's a dream come true," Pereira said.
NOTES: The game was shortened from seven innings to six because of time constraints. Both sides were informed of the decision before the sixth inning started. ... The Bluestorm first frame featured a leadoff double by Henry Godbout and run-scoring hits from Finateri (double) and Antonio DiGrigoli (single). The Dodgers' first included a sacrifice fly by Carlos Pena, an RBI single by Santo Anzalone and a run-scoring passed ball. ... Chris Hayes tied it with an RBI single in the Bluestorm second. ... The Dodgers went back ahead in the third on an RBI single by Robert Nunez.
The Bandits opened the bottom of the first inning with three extra-base hits, including a leadoff triple by winning pitcher Calvin Reinoso, who tossed scoreless ball into the fifth inning of a 5-2 triumph Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
"Those three hits were the whole game," said Delgado, referring to Reinoso's triple and back-to-back RBI doubles by Jashaad Osbourne and Reinaldo Angeles. Osbourne's twin brother, Rashaad, Capped the three-run outburst with an RBI single later in the frame.
On the mound, Reinoso was in total command, allowing only two runners in the same inning once -- that was in the Bonnie Paws' third, and the right-hander ended the threat with one of the five strikeouts he amassed in 4 2/3 innings.
"I had control of my fastball," said Reinoso. "I just kept my composure and did my job."
"We were undecided about who we were going to throw," said Delgado. "Two other candidates were hesitant, but Calvin stood up zbefore the game and said he wanted the ball. He's a local kid from Williamsburg who the other kids on the team really look up to. The key to his pitching today was location, location, location."
The Bandits tacked on two insurance runs in the home fifth before the Bonnie Paws mounted their biggest challenge in the sixth, putting their first two batters on via a walk and a hit batter. But Gerard Santos relieved Jashaad Osbourne and doused the flames with two strikeouts and a pop up.
The Bonnie Paws would break the shutout with two unearned runs in the seventh, but it was too little and too late.
"We couldn't dig out from that early hole," said manager Kevin Rice, who made sure all of his players got into the game and had a chance to bat.
"That was almost as important as the result itself," Rice said. "In 20 years, they might not remember who won or lost, but they'll remember getting an at-bat, touching the mound and running out on the field at Yankee Stadium.
"I'm so glad the Borough Cup offered us this opportunity. It makes the loss sting a little less."
On the other side: "This is awesome," said Delgado, who will also skipper the Bandits' U-10 team in the Borough Cup championship next Tuesday at MCU Park. "It hasn't sunk in yet. I'm so grateful."