ARDSLEY, N.Y. – The sweltering heat made Tuesday a sauna as the District 20 Little League Baseball Junior Championship game progressed, but Steven Franzese would not give in.
The Kensico left-hander persevered along with his teammates, and they defeated Sherman Park, 13-4, for the title at McDowell Field.
Kensico qualifies for the Section 4 Championship, Thursday through Sunday at Silver Lake Park. Kensico opens play at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against the District 33 champion.
“It was really hot,” said Franzese, 13, a freshman-to-be at Iona Prep. “When I was pitching, it was so hot that my legs were starting to get shaky.”
Franzese blocked out the heat and went six innings, allowing four runs, two earned, and six hits. And he struck out seven.
“I had a ton of water in the dugout and I also had a cold towel wrapped around my neck every inning,” Franzese said.
Sherman Park and Kensico were even at 4-4 through four innings. Kensico took command with five runs in the fifth, on one hit, capitalizing on a few Sherman Park mistakes. Jason Wolfthal had the only hit of the inning. Sam Gannon and Ian Dopsch also drove in runs.
Gannon finished with two hits and three runs scored, and Wolfthal also had two hits and an RBI. George Koeltl singled and scored three runs.
Franzese was draped in the district championship banner, which was quite a difference from last year.
“Last year we lost two in a row,” Franzese said. “We wanted to come back this year and win it, and it feels great.”
Peter McBride led Sherman Park with three hits, and he drove in two
runs. Ryan Lewis singled and scored twice. and Jake Albi singled and scored.