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Bayside tops Elmjack, 2-1, to win District 26 crown

Head coach Doug Rowen called it “a five-year plan” and that plan came to fruition Monday night when the Bayside Little League 12-year-old Major Division All-Star team won the District 26 Regional Baseball Championship in a well played 2-1 victory over Elmjack.

His team of 14 players — 10 of whom have been together since they were 8 years old — is a perfect 7-0 in regional play dating back to their first regional championship in 2000.

Bayside defeated College Point in round one of District 26 regional play by a score of 7-1 led by Mike Biordi (2-for-3, two doubles and three RBIs) and the pitching of Chris Paruch (eight strikeouts, no walks).

In round two, Bayside knocked off Forest Hills, 5-3, on the strength of solid performances by Anthony Zupnick (two-run home run), George Rowen (1-for-2, double), Ricky Strauss (2-for-3, double and two RBIs) and strong pitching from Chris Hamm, who threw three shutout innings of relief.

That victory set up the championship matchup with Elmjack and Zupnick was at it again. He drove in the first run on a sacrifice fly in the first inning for a 1-0 lead. Starting pitcher Chris Paruch took over from there, dominating on the mound in route to the victory, but not without a scare.

In the bottom of the fifth, Elmjack mounted a threat as they loaded the bases with only one out on consecutive walks. Paruch was able to wiggle out of the jam with a big strikeout and pop-up to end the inning.

Hitting stars in the victory included Zupnick (1-for-2, double and an RBI), Julius Wells (1-for-1, RBI double), Biordi (1-for-3, one run scored) and Paruch (1-for-2, double and a run scored).

Shortstop Nicky Ryan was a stalwart on defense making numerous big play along with third-baseman Chris Hamm, who made a diving stop to keep Elmjack from scoring in the first inning.

The rest of the roster for Bayside’s 12-year-old district champions includes: Spiros Cominos, Andrew Parraga, Anthony Ippolito, Pete Scianna, Mike Wiederhold and Sam Koenig.

Bayside will host the first round of the Section Three Tournament, which will determine who will represent New York City in the State Finals, at Valle East in Crocheron Park, located at 215th Street and 35th Avenue, on Sunday, July 21, at 11 a.m. Their opponent will be the winner of the Lower Westchester District Championship.

Rowen is ably assisted by coaches Ben Biordi, Dominic Scianna, Gus Parraga and Dave Strauss.

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