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Bayside Junior Americans cruise to regional title

The Junior Americans are also making the trip to Northville, Mich. after going undefeated in the Northeastern...

By Dylan Butler

The Junior Nationals aren’t the only players within the Bayside Yankees organization to compete for the 2004 Junior Division NABF World Series.

The Junior Americans are also making the trip to Northville, Mich. after going undefeated in the Northeastern Regional in Clifton Park, N.Y. last weekend.

Bayside is the only organization in the 50-year history of the NABF to send two teams to the World Series. The Yankees also sent both junior teams in 1992.

The Junior Americans secured coach Joe Kessler’s third consecutive trip to the World Series with an 8-1 win over the Twin Town Yankees Saturday as Rubiel Mercado went the distance and was clocked at 88-mph in the final inning.

“I’ll be rooting for them and it would give me nothing but great pleasure to play them in the finals,” Kessler said. “Everything so far has worked out real well.”

The Yankees (36-9) received lights out pitching throughout the tournament, recording four shutouts in their six games.

In a tournament-opening 6-2 win over Waterford (N.Y.), Mike Smith went the distance for the Yankees.

Tom Soler and Connor O’Day combined to shut out the Brooklyn Bluestorm, 18-0; Jordan Warncke and Andrew Lontas combined for the win in a 10-6 victory over Clarkstown (N.Y.); Justin Wiley one-hit the Twin Town Yankees in a 4-0 win; and Jimmy Sargianis also hurled a shutout in a five-inning mercy-rule-shortened 17-0 win over Clifton Park.

The Yankees’ hitting wasn’t too shabby, either. Joey Menendez led the hit parade, going 12-for-18 with seven RBIs; Sean Carberry was 13-for-21 with eight RBIs; Chris Garcia was 8-for-14 with eight walks; Chris Kievit was 8-for-16 with one home run and five RBIs; Paul Karmas was 6-for-13 with five RBIs; Benji Rabinowitz belted a homer; and Holy Cross standout Effrey Valdez was 8-for-18 with four RBIs.

“I’m very confident. This is probably one of the stronger hitting teams I’ve had and the pitching has been good,” Kessler said. “It’s never an easy fight because we’re going to be in a bracket against the Indiana Bulls who won the World Series two years ago. It’s not easy but we have the horses to do it.”

Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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