NBNM Wins Tournament Opener at States
Rocky Point, NY – The North Bellmore North Merrick LL Rebels and Colonie LL duked it out today in a game that saw four lead changes. In the end the NBNM managed to hold off Colonie for the 7-5 victory in this, the opening game of the 2012 Williamsport NY State tournament.
The visitor Rebels threatened early in this see-saw battle when a walk to Billy McAdam and a wild pitch allowed McAdam to reach scoring position. With two outs, Matt Conry hit a hard line drive to center but it was caught to end the Rebels’ first. Colonie followed through on their threat in the home half when a base hit and a walk led to a two-out single by Mulson to drive in Wall for a 1-0 lead.
The Rebels responded in the second. A lead-off double by Eric Solomon was followed by a two-out RBI single off the bat of Matt Coster to tie it. In the bottom, Colonie’s Andersen delivered a lead-off base hit up the middle but Rebels starter Nick Valeriano induced a fielder’s choice and two strike outs.
The third inning was also led-off with a line drive single to left by Jack Delaney. But Colonie starting pitcher Wall picked up two Ks and a line out to end it. After two quick outs to start Colonie’s frame, a single for Gray, a double for Mulson, and a RBI single by Cannastra put Colonie up 2-1.
NBNM came up big in the fourth. Yet another lead-off hit by Solomon was followed by walks to Valeriano and Matt Nilsen and the Rebels had the bases loaded and nobody out. Wall picked up a big strikeout for the first out but McCleneghan followed with a high chopper that bounced over the outstretched glove of Colonie’s second baseman and rolled all the way to the right centerfield wall for a base-clearing triple. Delaney then grounded out to short driving in McCleneghan and the Rebels took a 5-2 lead. In the home half, Valeriano got Colonie’s Lambert and Franchi looking for the first two outs and was lifted at 62 pitches to keep him eligible later in the tourney on three days rest. But when McGee walked and Kruzinski homered to center, Colonie got back to within one, 5-4. Reliever Jack Delaney then got Wall on a swinging strikeout to keep the Rebels ahead.
In the NBNM fifth, a one-out single by Conry was followed by Solomon’s third hit of the day moving Conry to third base. When Solomon was caught stealing, a big two-out hit by Valeriano drove in Conry to extend the Rebels’ lead to 6-4. In Colonie’s half, Delaney got Gray to pop foul on a nice catch by Valeriano at first base and was relieved by McCleneghan after throwing 19 pitches. McCleneghan got Mulson to fly out to Delaney who made a great catch on a ball in shallow left field and struck out Andersen on three pitches.
The Rebels added more insurance in the sixth inning when McCleneghan helped himself with a double into the left centerfield gap. Delaney then executed a successful sac bunt to move McCleneghan to third with one out. After yielding a walk to McAdam, Colonie reliever Kruzinski threw a wild pitch that allowed McCleneghan to score to move the lead to 7-4. With one on and one out for Colonie in the botttom, and McCleneghan at 19 pitches, Conry came on in relief to face the heart of the order. He walked McGee on four pitches. Conry then got Kruzinski to pop to Delaney at short for the second out. With men on first and second, Colonie’s three-hitter Wall drilled the sixth pitch of his at-bat high toward left center for what looked like a game-tying, three-run homer. But the ball hit off the wall for a double that scored Zubrowski to get Colonie within two, 7-5, with runners in scoring position at second and third. In a seven-pitch at-bat, Gray drew Colonie’s third walk of the inning to load them up. In another seven-pitch at-bat, Mulson hit a hard one-hopper toward the hole at second that was snared by McAdam and tossed to Valeriano at first for the game-ender.
It was a tenacious showing by Colonie and bend-but-don’t-break effort by the Rebels, who found a way to win despite a late change to their regular defense and efforts to save pitches for the rest of the tournament, that featured important contributions from the entire roster.
The Rebels continue in the winners bracket tomorrow 2pm when they face Section 4 winner Stony Point back at North Shore Complex in Rocky Point.