The result: Five home runs and only one shaky inning of pitching, as the Bayside Yankees Junior Americans...
By Joseph Manniello
Bang the baseball, pitch the baseball and no letting down. Those were the three things Joe Kessler told his team Sunday afternoon at Juniper Park.
The result: Five home runs and only one shaky inning of pitching, as the Bayside Yankees Junior Americans overwhelmed the Midville Dodgers, 26-4 in a mercy rule-shortened opener of a Met Sandlot League doubleheader.
The Yankees also won the nightcap, 8-2.
It was the most runs Bayside scored this season. With National Amateur Baseball Federation regionals beginning Thursday in upsate Clifton Park, the timing couldnt have been better.
A day earlier, the Yankees saw their 19-game winning streak get snapped by the Long Island Ducks.
I told them were going to start another streak now, Kessler said. I knew it was going to be a hitters day because the ball was just taking off. I said we were going to come up with about 18 runs today.
Bayside (30-9, 11-1) exceeded their coachs expectations as they scored five or more runs in four of the five innings.
We hit the ball from top to bottom, Kessler said.
They sure did, especially at the top of the lineup.
Joseph Menendez, Effrey Valdez, Sean Carberry, Chris Garcia, and Chris Kievit led the way, accounting for all five homers and 20 RBIs. Valdez was the only one who did't go yard, while Kievit led the assault with two bombs, one a second inning grand slam.
While Carberry jump started things with a three-run home run the first pitch he saw in the first inning, Menendez and Garcia waited until the teams last at-bat to join the home run derby. Menendez, the teams leadoff hitter, roped a three-run shot and three batters later Garcia blasted a two-run homer.
But the day belonged to Kievit, the teams catcher who relished in the fact he had one of his better days in front of his grandmother, watching him play for the first time this year. When he batted in the fifth inning his fifth at-bat of the game he came up just short of his third home run.
Ive been hot all week, Kievit said. Im happy with the way Im swinging.
After Bayside scored five runs in the first inning, Midville answered with four of its own. Starting pitcher Andrew Lontos struggled early on, something Kessler credited to a lack of warming up prior to the game.
Hes a kid that needs to really warm up a long time, Kessler explained. That (the first inning) was like his bullpen session out there.
Added Lontos, a junior at Archbishop Molloy: I didnt have my best stuff in the first inning. I had to make an adjustment and I got stronger as the game went on.
His counterpart, Sandy Sussman, a good friend and teammate at Molloy couldnt say the same. He was yanked after 2.1 innings by coach Bill Schindler, who was so upset with his teams effort that he declined an interview request afterwards.
Hes definitely a lot better than that, said Lontos, who admitted to being pumped up about facing his teammate. I thought it was going to be like a pitchers duel and I guess he just didnt have it today.
Sussman too said there was extra adrenaline for this match-up, but it quickly gave way to pain.
After the second inning, said Sussman, my elbow started hurting.
By then, it was over, and Bayside was back to its winning ways.
And Kievit and his buddies were leading the way. Kievit, along with Carberry, Garcia, and Connor Thorp (2-for-3, 2 RBIs) also participated in the Federation Amateur Baseball League all-star game at Shea Stadium.
Kievit, whose first inning throwing error allowed Midville to cut the lead to one run, couldnt wait to dig in at the plate. I wanted to redeem myself and help my team some way, he said.
He more than made up for the miscue, driving in six runs and coming oh-so-close to a three homer afternoon.
It was a special day, he said.
A day in which Kesslers bombers banged the ball out of the park and reverted to its winning ways.
Bayside 8, Midville 2. Rubiel Mercado, who pinch-hit (walk and a double) in Game 1, went the distance in Game 2. He allowed five hits and struck out two batters over seven innings. Valdez (3-for-4, 2 RBIs), Carberry (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) and Garcia (2-for-4, RBI) led the way for the Yankees.
Reach contributing writer Joseph Maniello by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2004 Community News Group
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