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Volume 77, Number 3 | June 20 - 26, 2007

Villager photo by Jill Stern

David Heffner fell to his knees at home plate after hitting the game-winning home run in the Greenwich Village Little League championship game.

Home-run dramatics as Dodgers nip Reds for crown

By Lucas Mann

The Greenwich Village Little League playoffs came to a dramatic conclusion for the Majors A Division on Saturday morning. The Dodgers, the first-place team and huge favorites, faced off against the red-hot Reds, the dark horse team that had entered the playoffs in last place and outlasted the Astros, Padres and, finally, the Marlins to make it to the championship.

The game started off in typical Little League fashion for the Reds, who suffered from some wild pitching and spotty defense. Still, they fought hard and managed to keep the score tight at 3-1 for most of the game. On the other side, Levi Stern was pitching a gem, keeping his pitch count low and dominating the Reds until the last inning. When Stern had to come out, though, the Reds’ bats came alive. Following two players’ reaching base on hits, slugger Xander Ryman came up to the plate with a chance to tie the game with a hit. Ryman did more than that. He walloped a towering home run, stunning everyone and putting the Reds ahead, 4-3. Suddenly, the Dodgers didn’t seem so indestructible.

Dodger catcher Avery Perez, the star of the playoffs up to that point, had struggled in the championship game with two strikeouts. Leading off in his team’s last licks, Perez rebounded, with a patient at-bat resulting in a walk. A few minutes later, he had stolen his way around the bases and tied the score. That brought up David Heffner.

Heffner promptly clouted an absolute moonball to left center field, winning the championship for his team as it dropped over the fence. Pandemonium broke out. Parents screamed, umpires screamed, even Heffner’s opponents patted him on the back as he rounded the bases. Heffner completed the performance with a face-first flop into the mob of his teammates at home plate. Moments later, still looking giddy and confused, as his parents pulled him away from congratulating fans, Heffner made his one comment on the game: “Yippeekayay!”

After the game, Coach Carlo Saldana took his champions aside to reflect on the season. They cheered for their parents, their assistant coaches and, loudest of all, for Saldana himself. Saldana capped the day with more happy news, that he would be returning again next season to coach the kids of Greenwich Village Little League.

“Thank you so much for this season guys,” Saldana said. “And those who can come back, we want to see you next season.” After the playoff run they just had, it would be surprising if any of the Dodgers didn’t show up next April to try for another dominating season.

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