WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Gavin Astrella was watching teammate Mike Ferrara race to his right to get the ball and, simultaneously, the Eastchester runner rounding third in the fifth inning of Thursday's playoff game.
The Kensico pitcher had himself lined up to take the cut-off throw, if needed, from Ferrara. After Ferrara came up throwing and hit Astrella, the pitcher turned and fired to catcher Gregory Palais to nail the runner at the plate.
Astrella would go on to retire the next two batters, leaving runners stranded on the corners, as Kenisco held off Eastchester, 3-2 in the losers bracket final of the District 20 Little League Baseball 11-year-old Championship at Gedney Field.
Kensico will play Harrison for the title at 4 p.m. Saturday at O’Rourke Field. Kensico, which lost to Harrison in the winners bracket final, will have to beat Harrison twice to win the title.
Had Kensico not made the stellar defensive play, Eastchester would have pulled to within a run, at 3-2, with no outs and runners on first and third.
“I didn’t want another run to score,” said Astrella, the winning pitcher. “Michael made a perfect throw to me and then Greg put the tag on the runner at the right time.”
Palais was watching the play develop. Ferrara sprinted to his right and pounced on the single by Joe Nasti before it could find the gap.
“As the runner was rounding third and coming home, I thought we could get him,” Palais said. “Michael made a great throw and then Gavin cut it off and made a perfect throw to me and I was able to make the tag.”