Volume 74, Number 50 | April 20 - 26 , 2005

Hera Andre-Bergmann, center, and Coach Arthur Perez, at rear, of the Greenwich Village Little League’s Minnesota Twins

No mercy in Majors B; The Villager comes in in relief

By Judith Stiles

The mercy rule in Little League baseball was instituted for two reasons, to mercifully end the game if one team is being clobbered by 10 runs and also to limit each game to the time allocated on the field so the next game can begin promptly, according to Arthur Perez, who manages the Minnesota Twins in the Majors B Division of Greenwich Village Little League.

But when the Twins hit the 10-run spread in the fourth inning in their game against the Atlanta Braves, oddly, nobody on either side seemed too concerned with the score. The kids just wanted to continue playing baseball on a glorious Saturday, as with sandlot games where players are having so much fun they sometimes lose track of the numbers. Brandon Pines, a 12-year-old slugger at 5 ft. 10 in., towered over his friends on the team, and lamented, “I just want to keep playing. Why can’t we go on?”

Manager Lloyd Lowy of the Braves created a congenial atmosphere full of fun for his team, so there were no tears or grumpy faces when they lost the game 15-3 against the Twins.

Twins Manager Arthur Perez started the game with an unorthodox approach, that is, he began the inning with his relief pitcher, Pat Smith, instead of his starter. “My relief pitchers are usually the guys in training, just learning about the position. I find this is a good way for them to get their feet wet, and it has been very successful,” said Perez.

When Smith had completed his job for the Twins, starter Avery Perez came on the mound with the bases loaded. Then stealthy Arthur Cook of the Braves took off from third and successfully stole home, scoring the first run for the Braves. Andre Vidal Kaufman, playing second base for the Twins, made a great throw to his buddy, Isaac Simon, at first to retire the side. “Andre and Isaac have a good battery going, or so I have been told,” said mom Anna Vidal Kaufman, smiling, quite pleased that she was learning new baseball terminology. (Close, but “battery” in baseball refers to the pitcher and catcher.)

In the bottom the first, Evan Lowy made a sparkling catch in deep right field to keep the score knotted at one run apiece. By the third inning, Lowy was on a roll; with the Twins loading the bases, he executed an inning-ending unassisted double play at second base.

The highlight — or blooper, as it were — of the fourth inning was when Twins pitcher Perez caught two consecutive pop-ups, and then curiously on a third pop-up, four Twins players converged, crashing into each other, only for the ball to slither down through their outstretched arms, right down to the dirt.

Also in the fourth inning, Hera Andre-Bergmann, the lone girl on the Twins, scooped up a line drive to centerfield and made a perfect throw to first for an out. Although she prefers to play catcher and her idols are Jorge Posada and Yogi Berra, Andre-Bergmann, manager Perez says, is a “total gamer who can play anywhere on the field.” Near the end of the fourth inning, the Twins’ Kaufman pulled himself out of the game feeling a little woozy. Manager Perez could see it coming and turned to the stands, calling for anyone who might have a newspaper on hand? The only paper being read by the fans was The Villager, and fortunately, Steve Raber, father of player Avi, had just finished reading last week’s edition, and slipped it beneath the feet of Kaufman, who was sick to his stomach by now. You could say The Villager came in in relief.

Young Kaufman insisted to his father, Steve, that he would stay with his team and see the game to the end, even when there is a 10-run lead. The rulebook states that players must complete four innings before the game is called, so a pale but attentive Kaufman followed the game to its conclusion, a 15-3 win for the Twins.

Outstanding pitching for the Braves included Arthur Cook, Cole Kitchen and Leo Saito, while Braves catcher Misha Holzman was excellent behind the plate.

After the game was over, both teams lined up, shook hands (including a wan Kaufman) and then trotted off the field, a bunch of happy-go-lucky youngsters who loved every minute of baseball in Greenwich Village.

Marlins vs. White Sox

On the same glorious day of baseball in Greenwich Village, in the Minors Division, Matthew Winter drove in two runs in the final inning to break a tie and lead the White Sox to a 9-7 victory over the Marlins. Martin Rather and Danny Bernstein each scored two runs for the victors while Anton Kliot and Wyatt Frank each drove in a pair of runs for the Marlins.

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