Volume 73, Number 7 | June 16 - 22, 2004


Flurry of slugfests and rallies in Juniors’ games

By Gabriel M. Zucker

Villager photos by Robert Stolarik

Above and left, Juniors Division action from last Sunday morning at Murry Bergtraum field on the Lower East Side.

In a ridiculous, end-of-the-season race against the clock to complete all unfinished games — which the clock won by a long shot — Greenwich Village Juniors Division teams fell into a predictable rhythm. Hits and high scores predominated with rallies bouncing back and forth and the bombing of starting pitchers, most of whom saw their E.R.A. go up a few points.

That’s what happened when the first-place Orioles squared off with the Giants early Sunday morning on the Lower East Side under the Manhattan Bridge. Right off the bat, the Birds ignited the fuse on one of their signature early-game rallies, with Taylor Scholz walking and scoring on Scott Ritter’s smash double. Pitcher John Sidoti made a superb stab on a chopped comebacker for the second out, but Craig Thompson’s bloop two-bagger pushed the margin to two runs.

The Giants, however, came back into their dugout ready to come back and take advantage of ace Thompson’s shaky start. Sidoti waited out a four-pitch walk to lead off, moving to third on Jacob Hiss’s single, and coming around on an overthrow. With one out and runners on the corners, the Giants were threatening to get even with the Birds, but Thompson and catcher Ritter performed an impressive fake to pick off a runner, and a K marked the third out. The second inning saw the O’s pull off another rally with key singles by Aaron Greenwald and Ritter. Scholz made his own bid for a multi-RBI single, but shortstop Renny Gonzalez made a spectacular diving catch to turn the liner into a double play. Still, this couldn’t prevent the Orioles from scoring three, putting them ahead by four.

Thompson settled down somewhat in the second, only allowing one hit, but that hit was an RBI double off Sidoti’s bat. For the next two innings, the Giants had repeated chances to close the three-run gap while the Orioles failed to put the game away. The Birds did make several good plays in the field, however, with Ritter throwing out a runner stealing second and centerfielder Scholz making a running catch on a short bloop.

Finally, in the fifth, the O’s broke the stalemate. Singles by Thompson, Casey Simons, Daniel Stephens and Scholz, and Ritter’s second double pushed across five runs. The Giants attempted rallies the next two innings, but the game was already out of reach, and the final score came to 10-4.

That was just the beginning of a busy day for Murry Bergtraum Field — and for the Red Sox. First, the Sox came on to face the Giants. Zev Fima had a great outing on the mound, Alex Vidal drove in three and picked up a triple, and Reid Daniels sent around two runs, but they ran out of time, and the Sox 10-5 victory was therefore unofficial.

The Sox then went on to play a seesaw of a contest with the Cardinals; the lead bounced back and forth no less than six times. Jeffery Adler and Craig Scardapane each scored four runs for the Cards, and Vincent Santvoord drove in six, but this game, too, went over time, and the Redbirds watched their 16-13 win go to waste as well. Finally, the tired Sox hung on to play a completion against the Orioles, in which the O’s continued their rampage through the division, winning 13-11. Also on Sunday, at Clinton field, the Cubs edged out the Brewers 7-6, with Tyler Scrima going the distance on the hill for the Cubs.

The previous day at Clinton, the Cardinals edged out the Giants in the completion of a tied game. The Cards remained to play the Brewers, but wound up with a very different outcome, as they were walloped 19-4. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, didn’t show up for either game of their doubleheader in Central Park, giving the Cubs and O’s easy W’s.

The final standings at press time were still being disputed. All that is clear is that the Birds are on top, the Blue Jays are on the bottom, and the championship is up for grabs next weekend.

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