By Sean Reilly
Teams travel to Diamond Nation to compete against high-quality opposition, and the goal is for its players to improve both individually and as a group.
The NY Dynasty 9U team made its third trip of the spring to Flemington to compete in the Memorial Day Blast. Its improvement had been evident, first at the April Fools Tournament, where it went 3-1 and finished second, and then the Spring Classic earlier in May, when it won two of its three contests in pool play.
Staten Island-based Dynasty knew it was getting better, and now has the proof: a tournament championship and the accompanying hardware.
Dynasty completed an impressive weekend at ‘The Nation’ by defeating the North Colonie Bison 9U Blue, 13-3, in the tournament final. The Dynasty won twice on both Saturday and Sunday, including an 8-0 win over the Bison in its Sunday opener, before backing up that win by prevailing again in the Monday evening final. The Dynasty outscored its opponents, 68-6, and won four of the five games via the run rule, including the four-inning championship game.
“This was a phenomenal experience,” NY Dynasty coach Tito Romero said. “It feels good to break through and bring one home. The competition is phenomenal and the baseball for nine year olds is very crisp. Some of these kids hit doubles and triples and the ball off the fence, and make plays from the hole. We were just able to put it together for this weekend.”
North Colonie, which went 3-2 over the three days, loaded the bases with two out in the top of the second. But Dynasty starter Jake Romero struck out the next batter on an off-speed pitch to keep the game scoreless.
Dynasty then broke through with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Jason Rocchio hit a one-out triple and scored as Andrew Ullo reached on an error. A.J. Sipas dropped a single to shallow center field, and Andrew Papatoniou hit a two-run double on a fly ball that landed inches inside the left field foul line.
The boys from Staten Island then erupted for nine runs in the third inning for a 12-0 lead. The frame included a two-run triple from Ullo and a two-run hit off the bat of Papatoniou.
The game could have ended via the run rule in the top of the fourth, but the Bison showed their mettle by scoring three times to keep the game going. Matthew Carroll led off the inning with a single, and wound up scoring on a wild pitch. Alex Heid lined a ball past third and into left field to score the other two.
It didn’t take the Dynasty long to conclude the game in the bottom of that inning. Gavin Snell, who went 3-for-3, led off with a triple to right field, and John Iacono followed with a RBI single for the final 10-run margin.
Leadoff batter and catcher Dean Scarangello, who had an RBI grounds-rule double for the Dynasty in the final, was selected the tournament MVP.
“This was really good,” he said. “I think we played well. We were loud in the dugout. We were up for this tournament.”