MADISON, NJ—The bases were loaded Monday night at Delbarton Field as the next batter stepped up to the plate for the AA Madison Little League Nautilus Diner team. The opposing team, Downtown Salon’s Sharks, took their positions in the outfield, ready to intercept a potential hit that would help even the 0-2 score.
First-year player Sebastian Sipinkoski, 8, a second-grader at Central Ave. School, took his position at third base, glove in hand. It was the top of the fifth inning with no outs.
The batter cracked a pop-up toward left field, and third baseman Sipinkoski trapped the ball in his glove inches before it hit the ground, making the first out of the inning. Although their teammate was out, the Nautilus Diner players on second and third base kept running.
“The boy that was on third base began running home,” said Sharks Coach Paul Trupia. “After catching the ball Sebastian turned and ran to third base, tagging the base to get the boy who occupied third out for a double play.”
“My coaches and I noticed the player that was previously on second base ran over to third,” he said.
But by that time, the player had already rounded third and was heading for home. Sebastian’s coaches yelled for him to tag the player out, but it was too late.
“Instead of tagging him we told Sebastian to tag second base,” Trupia said. “Sebastian sprinted to second, tagged the base and completed the unassisted triple play.” Trupia said this type of play is “rare” for Little League.
“After the play the entire team rushed Sebastian to celebrate the incredible play,” Trupia said.
Sipinkoski’s father, Naum, was on the sidelines to cheer on his son. “I have no idea what just happened but it looks like he did something really good!” Sipinkoski’s father said.
Once the play was over Coach Trupia grabbed the ball and told Naum he should hold onto it as a keepsake.
Sipinkoski plays sports year-round, according to his father, but his love for baseball grew after he saw his brother, Albert, playing Tee-ball last year.
“Sebastian has always been motivated to learn new things and strategies,” Naum said. “As his parents, we are very happy and glad he loves every minute of it.”
Downtown Salon had four more hits in the sixth and final inning from Coach Trupia’s son, James, as well as Graydon Soeder, Jake Rodin and Tommy London, helping the Sharks clinch a 3-2 victory over Nautilus Diner, and a third place spot in the league standings overall. So far the Sharks are 2-2 for the season, with six games remaining in the regular schedule.