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Dwarf Giraffe baseball season off to exciting start

After a competitive exhibition season, the Dwarf Giraffe Athletic League’s regular season got off to an exciting start with a full slate of games throughout all five baseball divisions. In what promises to be a great season, the first week of action saw a number of close games that weren’t decided until the late innings.

Major Division

14th Avenue Automotive opened its season with a 9-6 win over Golden Auto Body. 14th Avenue jumped out to an early lead, scoring eight runs in the first three innings behind key hits from Kevin Otis, Mike Berndt and David Burgermeister. Starting pitcher Jose Barcena held Golden to one run until the third inning, when the team rallied behind hits from Zachary Frankel, Mike Giaccio and Kevin Kelley to make the score 8-6. Joe Angenbroich’s RBI gave 14th Avenue an insurance run, as Mike Berndt pitched a scoreless fourth to preserve the victory.

In a slugfest, Mario’s Pizzeria defeated 14th Avenue Automotive, 16-13. Mario’s was led by the strong pitching of Mathew Santeufemia and a three-run homer by Zach Simon, as they took an early lead. 14th Avenue fought back to take a 7-5 lead before Mario's broke it open in the third to make the score 12-7. 14th Avenue refused to give in and, powered by a three run triple by Mike Berndt (3-for-3, four RBIs), the score was 16-13, when the game was called because of darkness.

Minor Division

In a see-saw battle that saw the lead change hands four times, Eurotech Automotive held on for a 6-5 win over Cristom Construction. Strong pitching from Mike Kern and hits by Joey Depperman and Chris Franceschini led Cristom to a 2-0 first inning lead. Steven Stahura’s second-inning double ignited a four-run rally that put Eurotech up 4-3 with Manny Barcena, Dennis Brennan and George Theofonis making key contributions. Mike Lowery’s two-run triple in the fourth gave Cristom the lead again at 5-4, but Eurotech fought back to regain the upperhand at 6-5 when the game was called because of darkness.

Eurotech Automotive, behind the solid pitching of Nick Katakalides and Pat Berndt, beat a tough Graziano Ravioli squad, 11-6. First inning RBIs from Michael McCann, Steven Stahura and Steven Foley staked Eurotech to an early 4-1 advantage. After an exchange of runs in the middle innings, that included a two-run triple by Pat Berndt and a key hit by Pat Flynn, Graziano battled back in the fifth behind hits by Andrew Silvestri, Daniel Santeufemia, and Vinny Muro, as Greg Poverelli’s pitching shut down Eurotech’s offense and the score tightened to 7-6. In the bottom of the fifth, Will Neubauer’s run-scoring double and Kenny Lehr's three-run home run gave Eurotech an 11-6 lead. Brian Kelley capped off the contest with a spectacular catch in left field that halted Graziano’s rally in the top of the sixth and preserved the win.

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