Rebels Run to Williamsport Ends at States
Rocky Point, NY – The North Bellmore North Merrick Little League Rebels reached the end of their run at the 2012 Williamsport Tournament and the Little League World Series yesterday when they were defeated by Albany County’s Colonie Little League, 3-1. This was the Rebels’ second loss in the double-elimination State tournament.
Coming off Thurday’s convincing victory and 19-run outburst against Fredonia LL, the Rebels looked to have hit their offensive stride. But they could not find an answer for the pitching of Colonie’s David Gray who held NBNM to just four hits. Further, Gray contributed on defense making three fine plays up the middle to take hits away.
Rebels starting pitcher Michael Proios cruised through two scoreless innings but Colonie caught some breaks in the third that would ultimately be the Rebels’ undoing. Lambert led off and reached on a ‘swinging bunt’. Nine-hitter Zebrowski then pulled a hard ground ball down the third base line for a double putting runners at second and third with none out. McGee then dumped a short fly between shortstop and left field and Colonie had a 1-0 lead with men on first and third. NBNM manager Sam Acri called upon Brian Porricelli to put out the fire. Porricelli got Kruzinski swinging for the first out. Three-hitter Wall was also struck out swinging but the strike-three pitch hit the dirt and couldn’t be handled behind the plate allowing Wall to reach, McGee to advance, and Zebrowski to score. An errant flip to Porricelli covering home allowed Wall and McGee to take second and third. Porricelli then K’d Gray swinging for the second out. A passed ball on the first pitch to Mulson then allowed McGee to score putting Colonie ahead 3-0 before Porricelli struck out Mulson, his fourth of the inning.
The teams exchanged zeroes through the top of the fourth with Gray pitching to contact and Porricelli mowing them down.
In the Rebels’ fourth, Porricelli beat out a ground ball played near second base for an infield hit and advanced to second when Matt Conry grounded out to short. Matt Nilsen followed with a base hit to center to get the Rebels on the board.
But the pitchers took over the rest of the way each posting 1-2-3 innings en route to the 3-1 final. Porricelli was particularly dominant striking out 11 of the 13 batters he faced. But, despite putting 17 balls in play to Colonie’s 11, the Rebels couldn’t find the holes and their inability to muster run support got them bounced from the tourney.
Colonie moves on to face Cicero LL in today’s losers bracket final.
While certainly not the finish they hoped for, the Rebels have to be proud of their 2012 Williamsport accomplishments. They won District 31 at 12U for the first time since anyone in the NBNMLL league office can specifically recall. They won Section 6/Long Island at 12U for the first time ever in NBNMLL. And they came back to repeat each of those accomplishments after having achieved the same feats at 11U last year. This was arguably the greatest little league baseball team that North Bellmore North Merrick Little League has ever produced. It was the result of great talent, and a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears put forth by the players, coaches and families. Most will never know the incredible amount of time and effort invested to get to this point. The dedication of all involved in this team – since its first incarnation at 8-years-old for most of us – had everything to do with its success. And it was all done for the love of the program, the game, the boys, and each other.
These boys have shared a rare bond that will be embedded in their memories forever. Decades from now, each of them will still recall the teammates they went into battle with over the course of a couple of summers way back in the ‘twenty-tens’.
And so we close the chapter of our boys’ baseball lives on ‘the little field’. It’s one of those bittersweet crossroads; an end of innocence. As we all look forward to the bigger things that lay before them, I know we’ll always fondly recall the days of the 60-foot diamond and the too-many-to-mention great moments of being a part of little league and these NBNM Rebels.