On July 7, for just the fourth time in nearly 40 years, the Rye Little League 12U Tournament Team, boasting a number of sluggers, won the District 20 Championship. Rye advanced through the winner’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament in dominant fashion, with three of their first four wins coming via the mercy rule.
White Plains, emerging from the loser’s bracket, needed to defeat Rye twice in order to claim the crown. Entering Game 1, confident in their pitching depth and powerful offense, Rye needed just one win.
Game 1 began on July 6 but was suspended in the fourth inning because of rain. When play resumed the next afternoon, Rye continued to hit the ball hard, but numerous line drives were hit right at White Plains fielders, who made several spectacular plays. Rye pitchers Charlie Brady and Luke Scully kept the score close, and Rye was one controversial call at the plate away from taking a 3-2 lead in the top of the 6th. Instead, it was White Plains who took the game by a score of 3-2, with a two-out base hit in the bottom of the 6th.
Just ten minutes later, Rye’s sluggers had to regroup and start the winner-take-all second game.
As had been the case every game for the previous two weeks, Rye batted first and started hitting the ball hard right away. Charlie Rodilosso opened the scoring with a long homer to center in the top of the first. With hits from Brady and Luke Ontaneda, Rye plated three more runs before White Plains came to bat.
Rodilosso pitched Game 2 and, despite a small threat from White Plains, gave up no runs in the first. Or the second, third, or fourth.
In the top of the second inning, following a walk by right fielder Luke McKay and a line drive off the top of the right field fence by shortstop Paul Heintz, catcher Jamie Morris blasted a three-run homer to put Rye up 7-0. Another string of hits led to four more runs for Rye in the top of the fourth. After second baseman Ontaneda made a nice grab and turned a double play to end the bottom of the fourth inning, Rye’s 11-0 lead was enough to invoke the mercy rule.
Rye hit 11 home runs in six tournament games, including one in the first inning of every contest. Rye’s pitchers, with the help of Morris behind the plate, yielded just one. They gave up only eight runs in total over the six games.
Rye moved on to the Sectional Tournament, which began July 15 in White Plains.
Despite facing even tougher pitching, Rye topped Monroe 9-6, then Stony Point 3-2 at Montrose.
On July 18, Rye faced defending champ Stony Point in a doubleheader. Once again, Rye’s opponent won the opener on their home field, setting up a section championship game, in which Rye was the “home” team. And, once more, Rye’s bats came alive in dramatic fashion when Morris socked a grand slam home run to put Rye in the lead for good. They won 5-2.
Next up for the Rye 12U team is the New York State Little League contest in Rochester which begins July 27.