Volume 75, Number 5 | June 22- 28, 2005

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

The Marlins celebrate at J.J. Walker Field after taking the Majors A Division championship.

Marlins win A’s, as Padres rue homer that wasn’t

By Peter Krasnow

After Friday night’s playoff game when the Padres beat the Indians 5-4 in extra innings, no one thought that the Championship Game would be such a cliffhanger. As one of the fans astutely pointed out, “As often happens in championship games, these were evenly matched teams which created a seesaw scoreboard, where neither team ever took an overwhelming lead.”

Because of the Marlins 12 wins and only 2 losses during the season, the adolescent odds-makers in the neighborhood dubbed the Marlins as the team favored to win. The Marlins got off to a good start with great pitching and hitting by Brian McKenna, as well as noteworthy hitting by Christopher Krasnow, Justin Omary, Basil Lyons and rookie Christian Orellana. For the Padres, Matt Maitland did a stellar job pitching and Brent Scardapane played a spectacular first base as always.

In the Championship Game, in the bottom of the first, Marlins centerfielder Justin Rotolo led off with a great hit toward second base, and without missing a beat, he ran like lightning and was safe at first. Max Reiter moved the runner to second, followed by McKenna who drove in the first run for the Marlins.

In the top of the third, Marlins pitcher McKenna walked Scardapane, followed by a strike out, and a pop fly that was caught in centerfield. With two outs Maitland drove in the Padres first run, tying the score at 1-1.

The Fish bounced right back in the third inning when McKenna drove in two more. The inning ended with a score of 4-1, Marlins.

The Padres led off the top of the fifth with McKenna walking Ezra Cohen, which was followed by a strike out. With one on and one out, Andrew Kaplan hit a double to left field, driving in the Padres’ second run. Gabe Warshaw blasted a grounder to right field to plate the Padres third run. Then with two out and two on, Michael Schott smacked a beautiful fly ball to left field that drove in another run, tying the score, 4-4. The seesaw scoreboard was swinging back and forth.

The Marlins took charge in the bottom of the fifth when Krasnow hit a whopper down the middle that missed being a homerun by a yard, adding two more runs — Marlins 6, Twins 4.

After the sixth inning, it was all over. The Marlins had outlasted the Padres 8-6 to win the championship. Of course, every team that falls short plays “what if?” in the post-game analysis. However, after this game, the Padres’ “what if?” questions were legitimate, because in the sixth inning, with a man on base, the Pods’ Kaplan cracked a wicked fly ball to left field that happened to bounce off a tree branch, which was ruled a double (correctly) instead of a home run. But what if the kids had been playing in the open suburban fields and Andrew Kaplan’s ball rolled where it should have, far out in any normal outfield, which would have tied it at 8-8, resulting in extra innings? Since Marlins hurler McKenna would no longer have been allowed to pitch, what would have happened with a new pitcher? Padres manager Ray Scardapane agreed with the call that the hit deflected off the tree branch was a double.

But after a long season of potential homeruns landing in soccer nets, adjacent rugby games and bleachers, it’s apparent that Greenwich Village Little League games can have significantly different outcomes because of field limitations. What if many of the games had been played in the suburbs? “Never!” said one Little Leaguer. “We love to play in New York City, like the Yankees and the Mets! We wouldn’t have it any other way!”

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