Both East Hampton traveling all-star teams were eliminated from Little League’s District 36 tournament this past week, losing to their North Shore American (Rocky Point) counterparts in each instance.
Tim Garneau’s 11 and 12-year-olds, who had been hurt by the fact that Lou Britton, one of their stars, was sidelined for the final two games with a shoulder injury, finished at 2-3 in pool play, while Liz Genovesi’s 9-10s finished at 4-1.
“North Shore finished 5-0, so they’re advancing,” Genovesi said during a conversation Tuesday. “But we’re very proud of our kids — they played their hearts out, they never quit.”
The coaches, who included her husband, John, and Mike Ruddy, had “set the tone,” she added.
The little Little Leaguers improved to 4-0 at the Pantigo East field on July 2 as a result of defeating Southampton 3-2.
A run-scoring single over first base by Matthew McGovern made it 2-1 East Hampton in the top of the second inning, a lead that Colin Ruddy, Bonac’s starter, held onto through the next three innings, during which he struck out four batters. After giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth, he was replaced by Trevor Stacheki, with East Hampton leading 3-1.
The young Bonackers’ third run, in the person of the catcher, Burton Garneau, who bunted safely to lead off, was scored in the top of the fifth.
Two outs later, and with Garneau at third, Kody Vela drove him in with what proved to be the game winner by singling sharply up the middle.
After Ruddy gave up the leadoff single in the bottom half, Stacheki was brought in to pitch. The first batter to face him hit safely into the outfield, which resulted in Southampton’s second run. The hitter was intent on scoring as well, but was gunned down at the plate as the result of a flawless relay that saw the ball, which had been fielded by Aidan Herlihy in left field, go to McGovern, the cut-off man, at short, and on to Garneau at the plate, arriving well in time for the all-important out there.
Southampton continued to threaten, but with two outs and runners at first and second, Colin Wright, the third baseman, gathered in a popup hit his way to retire the side.
East Hampton went down one-two-three in its sixth, and, in its last at-bat, Southampton threatened again as the first batter doubled on one hop over the center field fence and the next one singled to center. Somehow, though, the Bonackers held on.
As for the older team, Garneau said that the North Shore 11-12s were “like the Yankees of old. . . . I’ve never seen a pitcher like the one they had. They said he pitched for Sachem, at least that’s what they were telling me. He struck out the side in the first two innings. He had a change, a hard curve, a fast fastball.”
“Plus,” Garneau said, “they were a hitting machine. They had two home runs off Elian [Abreu, East Hampton’s starter] to go with doubles and triples, and one home run off of Christian [Johnson], along with other hits. I don’t remember when I made the change. Anyway, it was all over after four innings. They ‘mercied’ us 16-2.”
“We really didn’t have a chance, but the younger kids did. We were hitting the ball, but it always seemed to be at someone. I think you always have a chance at the 9-10-year level, but it’s so much more competitive when you get up to the 11-12s.”
And so, for East Hampton’s Little Leaguers, it’s wait until next year.