Volume 75, Number 51 | May 10 - 16 2006

Kevin “Speedy” Chun makes things happen on the base paths.

Every pitch counts, as Red Sox sock the Cubs, 6-1

By Judith Stiles

On a lazy and lovely Friday evening in May, it was the bottom of the fourth inning at J.J. Walker Field, when a flurry of questions rocketed through the outfield and from base to base like a ball in search of an out. Even in the stands, everyone was buzzing about whether or not the Little League pitcher for the Red Sox, Basil Lyons, had reached his pitching limit of 75 pitches. Was he up to 64, maybe 74? The Cubs thought it might be time to pull him seeing how they had fallen behind 6-0, because Big Basil had been doing such a stellar job on the mound.

For a momentary pause, the game came to a halt, as one of the umps rifled through his notes and declared that Lyons could pitch on because he was only up to 65 pitches. This Little League rule was designed to keep pitchers from injuring their throwing arms, but according to Cubs manager Sasha Sopic, there is another Little League rule that is unique to Greenwich Village Little League that “makes the game more complicated for the manager and team,” he said, in a mildly critical way. The new rule is a pitcher cannot also catch in the same game, so this made it necessary for Sopic to call up a catcher from the Majors B division, and borrow him for his Majors A game against the Red Sox.

The Red Sox team is also known as “Abuelos’s Kids,” which in Spanish means “grandfather’s kids.” And what would Grandpa have said about the new rule? Fourteen-year-old budding sportscaster William Santore astutely noted that most grandfathers would think the pitching limit rule is good for the kids, but he added, “I agree, but sometimes it is ridiculous, like when Jake Singer was pitching and there were two outs and they pulled him after the first strike on the next batter. I would have let him finish the inning!” Santore declared, wishing he was in charge of the baseball universe.

Pitching for the Cubs was Tyler Lane and then Mike “The Zinger” Krieger, but it was largely fielding errors that caused the game to get away from them. Curiously, the Cubs had only won one game so far this season and that was against the gnarly Red Sox.

In the fifth inning the leadoff batter for the Cubs, Kevin “Speedy” Chun, whacked one down the third baseline as he took off for first base and then flew to second. Manager Sopic muttered some hopeful words about how Chun is known to be fast as lightning, and sure enough, Speedy stole third and then went home, to score the first and only run for the Cubs. Next a Cubs pop fly went backwards up over the fence, heading toward the parked cars, as Leo Chun, father of Speedy, winced as he listened for the crack of a windshield.

“Never park your car in the street close to home plate. I’ve seen a few smashed windshields in my day,” noted the senior Chun as he watched the Cubs high-five Speedy after scoring the run.

The game ended with the Red Sox handily winning 6-1, although nobody seemed to be jumping for joy in the Abuelo’s dugout. Similarly, the players were not emotional on the Cubs side either, not a tear was shed, as several players quickly forgot about the game and opted to hang out and toss a few balls until sundown. This left baseball mom Melissa Friedman, mother of Max and Jake, still sitting on the bleachers near home plate, which has become in essence her home away from home, considering how many games she has to watch.

G.V.L.L. Minors Baseball Report

Tomas Forty homered and pitched two scoreless innings to lead the Cardinals to an 11-6 victory over the White Sox in Greenwich Village Little League Minors play. The Sox took an early 6-0 behind fine pitching by Nick Mehmel and Harley Geffner, and Harley’s two RBI triple, but the Cards rallied back an inning at a time. Frank Clark’s bases-loaded double drove in three key runs for the Cards, while Martha Strautman had two hits in two at-bats for the Sox.

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