WARWICK, N.Y. Domenick Fensore settled under the pop-up and when it descended into his glove, he squeezed it and the Sherman Park celebration began, Sunday.
Sherman Park held off a furious Wappingers rally in the sixth inning for 8-7 win and the Section 4 Little League Baseball Minors Championship at Warwick Little League.
Sherman Park advances to the New York State Championship on Wednesday, July 18 through Tuesday, July 24 at Warwick Little League.
Following the game, Sherman Park dedicated the win to teammate Kyle Saul, whose father, Kevin, passed away Friday morning.
When coach gave us the bad news yesterday, we all got depressed so we wanted to win this for Kyle, Fensore said. When I caught the ball for the final out, it felt good because we knew we were going to the states.
Sherman Park manager was emotional following the game when discussing the Saul family loss.
I explained to the boys that we are one team, one family, said Pugni, who fought back tears. Kyle is a member of our team and a part of this family. We asked the boys to be older than they should be today. Even though we won, no win can ever make up for Kyle losing his father.
Sherman Park found itself trailing, 2-0 after one inning, but that is was nothing new. In its first two games, Sherman Park faced huge deficits and fought back to win.
Sherman Park would take the lead, for good, with three runs in the top of the second. Sal Nardone, Joe Pennini, Salvatore Pugni and Anthony Scaglione all drew walks, with Nardone scoring. Vincent Spaziante singled in pinch-runner Cole Sorby and Scaglione scored on Stephen Donatos sacrifice fly.
Michael Mancuso and Sorby helped Sherman Park tack on two more runs in the third. Mancuso, who entered the game in the third, fell behind in the count, 1-2, fouled off three pitches then doubled to left, scoring T.J. Palma. With two outs, Sorby, who also came into the game in the third, tripled to right field, chasing home Mancuso.
The four-run was golden with Fensore, who went five innings, allowing two runs on two hits and striking out three. After Fensore allowed the first three hitters to reach base in the opening inning, he retired the next 12 in-a-row.
I just had to calm down, said Fensore about the first three batters. Once I calmed down, I had to stay confident in myself. I knew I had a great defense and great catcher behind me.
Spaziante, who also had an RBI single in the fifth, knew Fensore was on.
Domenick was just amazing, said Spaziante, 11, and a sixth-grader-to-be at Westlake Middle School. He was on fire. You could see he kept focused and really wanted to win this game.
Wappingers rallied with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning before Fensore sealed the win.
Palma had two hits, including an RBI triple in the fourth. He also made a huge defensive play in the sixth, backing up a throw to third base, keeping the potential tieing run on third.
Sherman Park -- 032 111 -- 8 9 2 Wappingers ----- 200 005 -- 7 6 2
RBI -- SP: Vincent Spaziante 2, Stephen Donato, T.J. Palma, Sal Nardone, Michael Mancuso, Anthony Scaglione, Cole Sorby; W: Quentin Bowman 2, Phoenix Bowman. 2B -- SP: Michael Mancuso; 3B -- SP: T.J. Palma, Cole Sorby. WP -- Domenick Fensore. LP -- Phoenix Bowman.
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