WARWICK, N.Y. – Sherman Park and Suffern hammered away like a pair of evenly matched heavyweight fighters in Friday's winners bracket final in the Section 4 Little League Baseball Minors Championship.
In a game that saw 35 runs score on 31 hits and seven errors, and the lead change hands five times, District 20 champ Sherman Park hung on for a 19-16 victory over District 18 titlist Suffern at Memorial Park.
Sherman Park advances to the final at 1:30 p.m. Sunday against the Suffern-Wappingers winner, needing to win the game to become the Section 4 champion and advance to the state championships.
Vincent Spaziante had three doubles and three RBI, Minafra collected three hits and drove in two runs, Sal Nardone homered among his three hits and had three RBI and Richie Petrillo had two hits and two RBI.
“Even though we were behind, we felt confident that we’d come back,” said Tommy Minafra, 11, and a sixth-grader-to-be at St. Theresa’s Catholic School in Briarcliff. “We had done it before.”
Sherman Park trailed, 6-0 after the first inning, but six runs was nothing compared to the 12-run deficit it faced Wednesday against New Rochelle Central. In that game, Sherman Parked erupted with a 14-run inning and went on to victory.
Sherman Park scored eight runs in the second, initiated by Nardone’s two-run homer, only to have Suffern score five in the top of the third to take an 11-8 lead. Sherman Park answered with six runs in the bottom of the third for a 14-11 advantage, only to have Suffern tie it up in the top of the fourth.
In the bottom of the frame, Sherman Park snapped the 14-14 tie with two runs. Kyle Saul scored on a Michael Mancuso ground out and Spaziante, who doubled, came home on an error. Sherman Park added three more in the fifth to build what turned out to be an insurmountable lead.
Suffern pushed two runs across in the top of the sixth and had runners at second and third with two outs, but Stephen Donato induced a grounder to end the high-scoring game.
In two games, Sherman Park has scored 38 runs and pounded out 35 hits.
“We’ve been practicing our hitting, a lot,” Minafra said. “We concentrate when we’re batting, see the ball and hit it.”
Suffern 335 302 – 16 14 4
Sherman Park 086 23x – 19 17 3
RBI – Suf: Joe Balducci 3, Wyatt Palmer 3, Kieran McKay 2, Jack Scanlon 2, Kasey Sullivan 2, Tom Chamberlain; SP: Sal Nardone 3, Vincent Spaziante 3, Tommy Minafra 2, Richie Petrillo 2, Domenick Fensore, Michael Mancuso, Anthony Scaglione. 2B – Suf: Nick DePinto, Tom Chamberlain, Kasey Sullivan, Kieran McKay; SP: Vincent Spaziante 3, Tommy Minafra. HR – Suf: Jack Scanlon; SP: Sal Nardone. WP – Stephen Donato. LP – Joe Balducci.