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Thank You

Posted by Sam Acri at Nov 6, 2011 12:01PM PST ( 4 Comments )

To the players, parents & coaches of the 11U Rebels:

As you all know another year came to end earlier today with double header sweep and another title for the boys.

This message is not a recap of our accomplishments for the year, Ill leave that up to coach Conry, but more of a Thank You to everyone.

Although coaching this team is absolutely one of the most enjoyable things in my life, it is not an easy task.

The talent of these boys is clearly something that is different from most of the teams their age and trying to balance the development of a group of players as opposed to any one individual is and will always be my goal. I realize that I have made some mistakes along the way but always remember they were mistakes and nothing more than that.

I personally thanked the boys after today’s game for their hard work and effort from the year, but please thank them all again for me.

I would like to thank all the parents for not only allowing me to coach your children but for your support throughout the year.

Finally I would like to address a special group of guys, the guys I coach with. This team as I said earlier is a special group of players, but we also have a special group of coaches. The endless hours of practices, all the conversations and the endless dedication to the boys is one of the real reasons for this team’s success; for this I say Thank You

Coach Sam

Rebels Sweep Nationals

Posted by Mike Conry at Oct 30, 2011 10:05PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

North Bellmore, NY – The Rebels of North Bellmore North Merrick Little League swept a double-header from the NY Nationals today in convincing fashion, 13-1 and 12-0. Solid play by the Rebels and charitable play by the Nationals combined for two lopsided victories for NBNM.

The pitching tandems of Nick Valeriano and Kevin McCleneghan in game one, and Brian Porricelli and Michael Proios in game two, handled the team from New York Nationals Sports Acadamy in Bohemia without much trouble, scattering just a few hits throughout the day. Behind the effective pitching, the Rebels defense was good.

Offensive, NBNM consistently put balls in play that resulted in many well-struck and well-placed hits as well as misplays by the Nationals. A couple of offensive highlights included a six-hit day for Jack Delaney and the first career homerun for Alec Acri who, with one on in the second inning of game two, drilled a no-doubter beyond the left centerfield wall and into the batting cage.

The Rebels have outscored their opponents 41-1 in their last three games.

After yesterday’s ‘snow-out’, with two double-headers still remaining on the NJBL Fall schedule, and both with the Garden City Titans, the Rebels had planned to play a double-header of nine-inning games to count as four next week. A final schedule, though, will be confirmed this week.

Rebels Trade with Indians

Posted by Mike Conry at Oct 25, 2011 12:18PM PDT ( 0 Comments )

North Bellmore, NY – The North Bellmore North Merrick Rebels split a double-header Sunday with the Manhasset Indians dropping the first game, 5-4, before collecting themselves and winning game two, 16-0. In the morning matchup, NBNM bats were obvious by their absense for most of the game and pitching yielded a couple of long balls. By the afternoon, though, the Rebels appeared to take the earlier loss personally and delivered a thorough drubbing.

Game one starter Nick Valeriano was effective and the defense had his back. NBNM threatened to take an early lead in the second inning with two outs when Matt Conry drove a double off the base of the left field fence. But Billy McAdam, who reached on a walk, was thrown out on a close play at the plate to end the inning. While the Rebels defense worked well — including two crisp double-play turns, 6-4-3 and 4-6-3 — Rebels reliever Kevin McCleneghan came on in the fourth but had some trouble consistently keeping the ball down in the strike zone. The Manhasset third hitter went yard with two on to give the Indians a 3-0 lead in the middle of the fourth. In the Rebels half, as they so often do, they charged back and, with a rally capped by a McAdam single, had knotted the score at 3. In the top of the fifth, after the inning was extended by an error, again it was the Indians three-hitter, with two out and one on, knocking a ball out of the park, this time to right field, and reclaiming the lead for Manhasset. Jack Delaney appeared in relief for the Rebels in the sixth and kept the score in check as the Indians carried a 5-3 lead into the bottom half. The Rebels bats, now showing signs of life, had pushed one across and Michael Proios came up with the bases loaded and two outs. Proios saw a pitch he liked and ripped a shot up the middle that, for a moment, appeared to be the walk-off, 2-RBI base hit the Rebels were looking for. But the Manhasset shortstop made a desperate reach to his left, the ball short-hopped into his glove, and he flipped the ball to second for the game-ending force-out.

Note: Thus ended the Rebels streak of 31 wins without a loss in 2010 and 2011 ‘fall ball’. Not too shabby.

After the Rebels regrouped, they left Manhasset with a message in game two. With Brian Porricelli throwing well on the mound consistently setting down the Indians, and the defense sharp — they turned another sweet 6-4-3 in this one — the Rebels offense stepped on the gas. Even outs were hit hard. With a thoroughly impressive display of hitting throughout their lineup — not the least of which was a Proios bomb that was caught only by the netting in the batting cage beyond left-center field — NBNM exacted their pound (ton?) of flesh with a game-long offensive barrage. With Proios closing it out to preserve the shut-out, the Rebels walked off the field with redemption, and swagger and momentum restored.

The Rebels are back at it next weekend with a four-game set beginning with a double-header Saturday 1:30pm at the Garden City Titans followed by a Sunday 2:00pm double-header hosting the NY Nationals at Gunther.

Rebels Rout Roslyn

Posted by Mike Conry at Oct 17, 2011 9:19AM PDT ( 0 Comments )

North Bellmore, NY – The NBNM Rebels remain undefeated in their Fall 2011 campaign after beating the Roslyn Bearcats yesterday, 6-0 and 10-0, in the NJBL. The victories move the the Rebels to 6-0 in NJBL league play and to a 12-game win streak since the start of fall ball.

More impressive yet is the way in which they’ve been winning. Over the course of their streak, NBNM have scored 81 runs to their opponent’s 7 including nine shut-outs. The pitching and defense have been nothing less than outstanding allowing a remarkably stingy average of just 0.58 runs per game.

Kevin McCleneghan was terrific as the game one starter yesterday. The closest the Bearcats came to an offensive threat was a well-struck ball in the first inning into the gap in left-center but Rebels center fielder Brian Porricelli raced to his right to spear the line-drive from his knees. Nick Valeriano picked up where McCleneghan left off in closing this one out and they combined for a one-hitter.

Porricelli started game two and provided no hope for the Bearcats offense. Michael Proios provided the relief, used his defense with an economy of pitches, and maintained the Rebels dominance over the Roslyn lineup.

Meanwhile, the NBNM offense very effectively supported the play in the field. Game one provided an impressive display of Rebels delivering ‘runs with outs’. Throughout the double-header, North Bellmore North Merrick hitters looked good. Of note, lead-off man Jack Delaney delivered a clutch bunt base hit and two-out RBI single, Alec Acri displayed a sweet, all-fields stroke delivering multiple hits, Porricelli was good for a couple of rockets including a line-drive HR to straightaway center that left the park in record time, Michael Proios stung the ball, Matt Conry delivered two successful suicide squeeze bunts and a double, and Eric Solomon blasted a line-drive to left-center that cleared the fence for his first career HR.

The Rebels return to Gunther Field next Sunday at 10:00am to face the Manhasset Indians in another NJBL double-header.

Rebels Repeat at BBH Columbus Day Wood Bat

Posted by Mike Conry at Oct 12, 2011 7:40AM PDT ( 1 Comment )

Yaphank, NY – With temperatures reaching above 80 degrees during this past weekend in October you could fairly say it was hot – almost as hot as the North Bellmore North Merrick Rebels. For the second time in as many years, NBNM are the champions of the Baseball Heaven Columbus Day Wood Bat Tournament. The Rebels finished with a perfect 6-0 record, the result of mostly dominating performances in which they totaled forty runs scored while allowing just two.

This year’s tournament featured fifteen participants from throughout the region including select teams from Medford, Port Jefferson, Southold, Cutchogue, Bayside, Bronx, Pleasant Valley, Connecticut and Montreal. One might have thought the 11U all-stars from North Bellmore North Merrick Little League had their work cut out for them.

The Rebels opened up on a warm and sunny Saturday morning against the Montreal Bucs. Looking to jump-start their tournament record, North Bellmore North Merrick sent ace Brian Porricelli to the mound. While Porricelli controlled the Bucs batters, NBNM’s offense was busy throughout their lineup. With the game well in hand, Porricelli was lifted for Jack Delaney in the fourth inning who had no troubles closing this one out and sending the Canadians to an early shower as the Rebels defeated the Bucs 12-1 by run-rule.

As fate would have it, game two in the pool round pitted cross-town rivals NBNM and the Massapequa Coast Cyclones. Rebels’ starter Nick Valeriano sat the Cyclones down in order in the first. In the Rebels’ half, after their inning was extended by a Coast error in the infield, NBNM took advantage with RBI singles by Porricelli and Nick Valeriano. From there on out this one was a duel of pitching and defense — including a wicked 8-to-3 assist from center fielder Porricelli — with the Rebels holding on 2-0 in the complete-game victory for Valeriano.

Day two started early with NBNM facing the LI Lookouts for an 8:00 a.m. matchup. The story of this game was Keven ‘K-Mac’ McCleneghan who proceeded to own the Lookout lineup. McCleneghan featured a popping fastball spotted with great control and mixed in just enough of a very effective off-speed pitch to keep the Lookouts mostly off-balance and frustrated. Any balls the team based in Port Jefferson did manage to put in play were gobbled up by the Rebels ‘D’. Meanwhile, NBNM’s offense as a whole was efficient and effective while pushing across nine runs. Delaney again came on, this time with two innings of work, to close the 9-0 victory and the Rebels were rolling through pool play with a record of 3-0.

In the final game in the Rebels’ pool round, they lined up against the Smithtown Diamondbacks. NBNM starting pitcher Alec Acri was called upon to go as long as he could in this one in an effort to preserve as much remaining pitching as possible for the likely next game or games on play-off Monday. He fulfilled that expectation to the utmost by going the distance. While Acri and the Rebels defense mostly kept the D’backs off the board, the NBNM offense put it to the Smithtown team. The Rebels invoked the run-rule with an RBI single by McCleneghan in the fifth inning, a complete-game for Acri, and an 11-1 final.

Having gone 4-0 in their division of pool play with 34 runs-for and 2 runs-against, the Rebels were understandably feeling pretty good about their chances for top seed in the play-offs. They found out Monday, though, that the Bronx Bombers with 20 runs-for and 1 run-against were the #1 seed bumping NBNM to #2 and a semi-final match with the #3 LI Breakers.

The Rebels starting pitcher for the semi-final play-off game was Michael Proios. He had to deal with a rough patch right from the get-go when his own error led to a bases-loaded, one-out jam. When Proios fell to three balls to the Breakers’ five-hitter, he had no choice but to throw a hittable pitch. What looked to be a soft line drive single up the middle was snared by a diving Delaney at shortstop who proceeded to ‘swim’ and tag second base with his glove to double up the baserunner and end the inning and the threat with a sparkling display of defense and ‘heads-up’. Delaney proceeded to provide numerous assists throughout this game. Proios got stronger as the game proceeded, added velocity to his fastball, effectively changed speeds and locations, and stymied Breakers batters. The Breakers pitching, as well, was very effective and kept things knotted at 0-0 into the fourth inning. A long double by Porricelli in the fourth opened things up for the Rebels who plated three runs in the inning. Proios took control from there with an impressive complete-game victory, 3-0, sending the Rebels into the tournament final.

The Rebels then watched the final innings of the Bronx Bombers dispatching the LI Braves on field #5, 7-1, and the championship matchup between the Rebels and Bombers was set. With the Bombers and Rebels each having allowed just two runs through their five games en route to the final, there was no denying the prowess of the pitching and defense that these two teams had to offer. But no one could have predicted what came next.

With the sun setting down and the field lights coming up, the Bombers and Rebels began an epic battle.

The starting pitcher for the Bronx was dominant. Porricelli, starting for NBNM, was hurling lights-out gas. And so it was through three innings.

While they were few and far between, even when batters appeared they may have gotten the better of a pitcher, the defenses made outstanding plays. Rebels second baseman Alec Acri made a terrifc play up the middle on his backhand in the third that thwarted the Bombers’ effort to get things going offensively. When the Bombers managed a shot into the gap in left-center with one out in the fifth, the hitter and everyone watching were thinking double all the way. But center fielder Kevin McCleneghan tracked it down and threw a strike to second where Acri applied the tag for the second out. In the Bombers next at-bat, on what looked like a clean single through the middle, McCleneghan fired to first to assist yet another stunning 8-to-3 put-out to end the inning.

The Bombers, as well, provided flawless defense to keep the Rebels offense down and the score remained tied at 0-0 through the regulation six innings.

With Porricelli out, having reached his pitch count after yielding just two hits, Valeriano came on in relief. Coming off his complete game against the Cyclones and so limited for pitches, Nick needed to be economical. He established his off-speed pitch early that had Bombers batters out in front and Rebels third baseman Matt Conry on his toes with assist after assist to McCleneghan, now playing first base, who made several athletic put-outs. With the Bronx starter still in, he and Valeriano threw out-for-out until the Bombers went to their bullpen in the eighth. Much to the Rebels chagrin, the relief pitcher from the Bronx threw as hard or harder than their starter and had a nasty curve ball to go with the heat. The pitchers dueled and the defenses shined — including another outstanding, hit-robbing play up the middle by Acri — through an incredible ten scoreless innings. With the Rebels’ Valeriano brilliantly pitching to contact, he had used only 36 pitches coming into the bottom of the eleventh.

The Bombers then managed a clean lead-off single that lifted their team to fever pitch, desperate to grab the momentum that hung in the balance and push across the winning run. Valeriano, remaining composed for the next batter, looked in to catcher Michael Proios, came set, then spun with a throw to McCleneghan picking off the baserunner, deflating the Bombers and amping up the Rebels. Nick proceeded to get the next two outs moving the 0-0 tie to the twelfth.

Leading off the top of the inning, Eric Solomon, after working the count to his favor 2-0, slashed a hard single to center to give the Rebels a huge spark. Matt Nilsen, after two such attempts by the Rebels had failed earlier, laid down a text-book sacrifice bunt that moved Solomon into scoring position. When Delaney stepped in at the top of the order, the Bombers pitcher, perhaps now showing some signs of nerves and fatigue, bounced a wild pitch past his catcher allowing Solomon to get to third. With one out and a 1-0 count on the batter, Solomon broke for home with the pitch as Delaney squared for the suicide squeeze. Jack got it down, Solomon slid in safe on a bang-bang play at home and the scoreless tie was finally broken. After McCleneghan and Porricelli reached to load the bases, with two out, a full count, and the runners in motion, Valeriano chased a high-and-inside fastball for strike three. But the pitch got away from the catcher, and Valeriano, without hesitation, broke for first. Nick and the high throw arrived together, the ball sailed toward right field and both Delaney and McCleneghan scored.

The Rebels took a 3-0 lead into the bottom half. With Proios flashing signs in his twelfth inning behind the plate, Valeriano, in his sixth inning of relief work, threw just eight pitches in sitting down the Bombers 1-2-3 and propelling the Rebels to the well-deserved tournament title.

Despite some ill feelings between the teams throughout the earlier portions of this game, when this was over, both players and coaches expressed respect and admiration for their opponents and even took a group photo together.

At the awards presentation — about 3 and-a-half hours after the game began — the Baseball Heaven official acknowleged and congratulated the teams for having participated in “the longest game in Baseball Heaven history.”

This concluded a fantastic three-day weekend that surely adds even more hues to the already colorful book of memories being written by this special group of players and families.

The Rebels next take the field in a double-header against the Roslyn Bearcats Sunday 10/16 starting 1:00 p.m. at Gunther Field.