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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.
Rebels Move On in State Tourney with Convincing Victory Over Fredonia
Rocky Point, NY – With an outburst of offense, the North Bellmore North Merrick LL Rebels defeated Fredonia LL 19-3 yesterday. The run-rule victory after 3 1/2 innings advances the Rebels in the Williamsport states while eliminating Fredonia. Yesterday’s other result, Colonie over Ozone Howard 9-8, reduced the field in this double-elimination tournament to four teams remaining, with Stony Point and Cicero playing the last game in the winners bracket today, in addition to NBNM vs Colonie, each with one loss.
Yesterday’s Rebels game featured a pitching strategy to keep each hurler at just 20-or-less pitches so as not to require days off per Little League pitch-count/rest rules. It would mean that several would have to contribute to the effort, and their contribution would need to be effective. NBNM got all they asked for from appearances by Michael Proios, Jack Delaney, Eric Solomon, and Brian Porricelli, each of whom kept Fredonia’s offense at bay while the Rebels offense went to work.
After Proios sat Fredonia quietly in the top of the first inning, NBNM responded with a single by Jack Delaney, a homerun from Brian Porricelli, a Matt Conry double, and a single by Nick Valeriano, that they quickly converted into a 4-0 lead.
Inning two was started with two infield hits by Fredonia. Delaney then came on and got a couple of ground balls. With the Rebels conceding the runs for outs, Fredonia closed the gap to 4-2. The Rebels proceeded to explode for 13 runs in the bottom half. After Delaney drew a base on balls and Billy McAdam singled to left, a wild pitch moved both runners ahead one base. Fredonia then chose to walk Porricelli intentionally. Conry then lined a base hit to left to drive in Delaney and McAdam. Solomon followed with an RBI-single, scoring Porricelli, but was caught advancing to second for the first out. Nick Valeriano followed with a double to right bringing home Conry for an 8-2 lead. Alec Acri then delivered a line drive to right-center plating Valeriano. After Matt Coster reached on a fielder’s choice and Kevin McCleneghan walked, the Rebels had batted around with Delaney singling past the Fredonia shortstop to load the bases. McAdam got aboard on an error by Fredonia’s first baseman that allowed another run to score, 10-2. Porricelli served a single up the middle to knock in McCleneghan and Delaney, and Conry followed with a single to right – his 3rd hit, and 3rd and 4th RBI – scoring McAdam and Porricelli, and extending the Rebels lead to 14-2. After Solomon was hit by a pitch, Valeriano smack a double – his second double, 3rd hit, and 3rd and 4th RBI – to the right field corner to drive in Conry and Solomon. Valeriano later scored on a error to push the lead to 17-2.
Fredonia got a jump to start the third when Schrader doubled to left. But that was followed by an odd decision to attempt a delayed-steal of third that was thwarted by catcher Valeriano and Conry at third base for the first out of the inning. Singles by Voss and Buchanan led to one Fredonia run before Solomon got Tarnarchi on a strikeout and Michael Proios made a great catch in left field to snag a line drive off the bat of Walters. In the Rebels’ third, a McAdam single and a Porricelli homer – his second HR on the day, 3rd hit, and 6th and 7th RBI – changed the score to 19-3.
Porricelli then came on to pitch the Fredonia fourth and struck out the side (4 Ks in all with Tippens reaching by dropped-third-strike) getting some needed work and putting an exclamamtion point on the Rebels victory.
The Rebels face Colonie today at 5:00 where only one team will move on to play the loser of today’s earlier Stony Point vs Cicero game in the tournament semi-final tomorrow at noon.
From Newsday.com: North Bellmore-North Merrick Rebels lose game in Little League state tourney
Story By Brett Spielberg, Newsday.com
After winning their opener on Tuesday, the North Bellmore-North Merrick Rebels lost in their second game of the 12-year-old Little League state tournament at Rocky Point on Wednesday, making their road to the Little League World Series a lot more difficult.
In a game that came down to the very last play, North Bellmore-North Merrick lost 9-6 to Rockland County’s Stony Point Little League, bringing their record in the tournament to 1-1.
“We gave ourselves chances throughout the game right down to our final out with the tying run aboard,” said Mike Conry, assistant coach of the Rebels. “The difference was they came up with the big hit where we could not today.”
The tournament is double elimination, so a team is out after losing twice. The Rebels will try to stave off elimination at 2 p.m. Thursday against Fredonia Little League, a team from Chautauqua County.
State tournament games will continue throughout the week until four of the six teams have lost twice, eliminating them from contention. The finals are scheduled for Sunday at noon.
The winner of the state championship then heads to Bristol, Conn. to compete in the regional tournament for the chance to be the Mid-Atlantic Representative at this year’s Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
“I think they’ll do whatever they can to get back into the winner’s bracket,” said Gina Bitsimis, assistant Section 6 coordinator.
North Bellmore-North Merrick won their first game of the state tournament on Tuesday with a score of 7-5 against Colonie Little League from Albany County.
Both of their games so far have come down to the last at-bat with the tying or winning runners on base.
“So now we’ll have to go the long way around,” said Conry. “But our confidence in our team’s abilities is in no way diminished and we expect to be in the money game this weekend.”
The Rebels won Long Island’s Section 6 championship game on Saturday against Commack South to earn a spot in the 12-year-old division of the state tournament.
Brian Porricelli threw a 16-strikeout game that was a key part of his team’s win. That game was supposed to be played Friday night, but was postponed due to rain, something that has turned into an unfortunate disadvantage for North Bellmore-North Merrick.
Porricelli has not yet pitched in the state tournament because of Little League rules. If a pitcher throws 66 or more pitches, Little League rules requires four days rest before that pitcher can throw in a game again. Porricelli threw 89 in his last appearance and has been ineligible to pitch.
“They haven’t had Porricelli. He hasn’t been available because of the rest rules,” said Bitsimis. “He’s available for the first time tomorrow since the sectional final Saturday and that will certainly help their team.”
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.
Rebels Repeat as Long Island Champs!
Port Washington, NY – The North Bellmore North Merrick Little League Rebels are the 2012 Williamsport NY Section 6 champions. For the second time in as many years the Rebels attained the Section title and will represent Long Island at the State tournament.
After yesterday’s rain-out, NBNM squared off with Commack South Little League – the team that won the 9/10 year-old Mid-Atlantic region title in 2010 – in the NY Section 6 final today on a day made for baseball at Lions Field in Port Washington. The two teams were the last standing after a week of Section pool play amongst Long Island’s six District champions: Southampton LL, Sayville LL, Plainview LL, Port Washington LL, Commack South LL, and North Bellmore North Merrick LL.
Rebels starting pitcher Brian Porricelli set the tone from the start of this one when he sat Commack down in order in the top of the first. He picked up 2 of the 16 strikeouts he would record on the day. In the Rebels half, Jack Delaney worked a walk to get things started for the Rebels and an infield hit legged out by Porricelli set up a first and third for NBNM. With a 1-2 count, Matt Conry managed a ground ball to the right side of the infield that plated Delaney for an early 1-0 Rebels lead.
In the second, Porricelli struck out the side on 12 pitches. A lead-off single by Nick Valeriano set the table for the Rebels in their half. A successful sacrafice bunt by Kevin McCleneghan moved Valeriano to second. With two outs, Matt Nilsen drove a 2-2 pitch over the head of Commack’s center fielder and off the wall for an RBI double and a 2-0 Rebels lead.
Porricelli, continuing his dominance, again fanned the side in the Commack third on 13 pitches. Commack starter Theodorellis then got the Rebels to go 1-2-3 in the bottom.
In the fourth inning Commack managed their biggest threat of the day. After their lead-off man Zoly fought through an eight-pitch at-bat, Porricelli got the third strike swinging but it couldn’t be handled behind the plate and Commack had their first baserunner of the game. Two-hitter Salerno then fell behind 0-2 but managed a ground ball up the middle for a base hit, the first and only yielded by Porricelli. When Theorellis next reached on a base on balls, Commack had the bases loaded and no outs and long-ball hitter Pohlman coming to the plate. In a moment of true greatness, with the Commack bench and fans reaching fever pitch and the pressure of the game at its height, Porricelli proceeded to strike out the next three batters and take all momentum back to the Rebels side in the turning point of the game. In the bottom, the Rebels threatened with walks to Valeriano and Matt Coster, but Theorellis worked out of the jam for Commack.
It took Porricelli just 11 pitches to strike out the side in the top of the fifth. With Commack South’s Pohlman working in relief, Billy McAdam drew a walk and Porricelli singled up the middle. A passed ball allowed both runners to advance. On a 2-2 pitch to Conry, he drove the ball off the right field wall for a 2-RBI double and a 4-0 lead for NBNM. With two out, Kevin McCleneghan was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch from Pohlman moved Conry and McCleneghan to third and second, respectively. Coster stepped up and took an 0-1 pitch through the hole and into left for a 2-out, 2-RBI base knock and a convincing 6-0 lead for the Rebels.
In the sixth, with Porricelli coming up on his pitch-count limit, he won another battle with Zoly and, with 6 pitches, rang up his 16th K on a called strike three. Porricelli left to a much-deserved standing ovation and Coach Sam Acri handed the ball to Valeriano. Valeriano worked a full count to Salerno who managed a fly ball that got over the right fielder’s head for a double. Theodorellis followed with a bloop hit to right that set up a first-and-third for Commack. With the Rebels defense conceding the run by playing back for the double-play, clean-up hitter Pohlman hit a hard ground ball to third. Conry fielded it cleanly, fired to Alec Acri at second who made the pivot and throw to McCleneghan for the bang-bang play at first. The runner was called safe and, with two outs in the sixth inning, Commack was on the board. On the next pitch, Commack’s Messina lined a ball to the right side that was snagged by Acri for the third out and the Section title.
The Rebels road to Williamsport now runs through Rocky Point and the five other Section champions where they’ll do battle for the chance to represent New York state at the Regionals. (Match-ups and schedule for next week’s State tournament are TBD.)