Sports

Shrub Oak Hangs on to Win GHVBL Championship

a4082e6eb0878286a45b_53879_.jpg
The boys and coaches pose with their trophies and banner. Credits: Deena Bell
a4082e6eb0878286a45b_53879_.jpg

DANBURY, C.T. — After a series of gasps for air and action-packed moments, Shrub Oak’s 9-and-under baseball team prevailed in a 7-5 victory over the Greenwich Thunder-Red in the Greater Hudson Valley Baseball League ‘B championship game Sunday, July 30, at Rogers Park in Danbury.

Thomas Imperati gave up a leadoff triple to start the bottom of the sixth inning while the Storm was still up 7-4 and that was when head coach Paul D’Errico felt it was time for a mound visit.

“Thomas is a really good kid and I have a very good relationship with him,” D’Errico said. “He trusts me, and I won’t lie to him. They’re 9 (years old), so sometimes they need a hug as much as they need a pep rally.”

Sign Up for E-News

A confident Imperati struck out the next batter on the outside corner and caught the popup of the next. With the win close enough to be tasted, he surrendered an RBI single up the middle to cut the lead to 7-5.

But it only took the first pitch to the following hitter, Jackson Cunningham, who grounded out to third baseman Matt Garcia to end the game.

Shrub Oak wasted no time, putting two runs on the board in the top of the first inning. Garcia blew a ground ball past the shortstop with the bases juiced and second baseman Alex Mautone hit an RBI groundout to the pitcher.

During the top of the third, starting pitcher A.J. Imperati bombed an RBI double over the left fielder’s head. Mautone made it 4-0 with an RBI infield single that he hustled out on a tapper to third to score Imperati.

Leading 4-1 in the top of the fifth, the Storm decided it was time to rain on the Thunder. The catcher Raymond Ameneiros walked before center fielder John Sibiski smoked a single to left. A.J. Imperati followed with a walk, loading the bases for Garcia.

Collecting three more RBI, Garcia crushed one that rolled down to the left field fence and it was a 7-1 lead all of a sudden.

The Storm couldn’t have won without such excellent pitching from A.J. Imperati, Nicholas Clarke and Thomas Imperati.

A.J. Imperati threw three masterful innings with zero earned runs and five strikeouts. He got out of trouble in every frame to preserve the goose egg, including two-straight strikeouts, which bailed Shrub Oak out with a runner on third.

Clarke only gave up one run in the fourth and fanned two hitters. The fifth inning is when Thomas Imperati entered in relief, and his road was rocky at first. Imperati surrendered two earned runs on an RBI triple and RBI single, but coach D’Errico visited the mound again in the middle of the barrage to once again calm the waters.

“He was upset and wanted out,” D’Errico said. “I told him, ‘Listen, I care more about you than this game right now. Give me one more batter, what do you think?’ He said, ‘OK, one more.’ He was so fired up when he struck that kid out, forget it, it was over. You couldn’t drag him off the mound.” 

Thomas Imperati eventually set down three hitters in a row while striking out two of them to cut the rough inning short before closing the game in the sixth.

The Storm (13-2-1) won last year’s 8-and-under GHVBL fall league title before the team split up and began new before this summer’s season. They lost in the semifinal game of the spring league and used the experience for the better.

“They wanted it,” D’Errico said. “It’s all about them; it’s absolutely not about us coaches. The chemistry was the most unique part about the team. Kids have all different kinds of personalities and they are 9. But, man, I tell you, the 10 that were on that field today stuck together and blended with their personalities as wildly different as they are.”

Shrub Oak knocked off the Greenwich Thunder-Blue in the semifinal and bested Armonk in the quarterfinal.

Anthony D’Errico also performed well playing first-base for the first time this season in the transition from second base.

“Every single one of these kids are good kids,” D’Errico said. “That’s the most important thing. They’ve all become good ballplayers but they’re all good kids. They stuck together and fought together. It’s extremely rewarding to coach this group of great kids.”  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

America's Pizza Crisis

To me, pizza is the perfect food.

It contains all your major food groups: dairy, vegetables, bread and meat. It needs no alterations, no improvements, no changes. It is perfect in its pristine, glorious incarnation—unless you are in Chicago. I don’t know what the hell that thing is.

But like any good meal, the key to stellar pizza is the recipe and the quality of the ...

Old? Sick? Disabled? Die Broke!

Immediately after passing the $1.5 trillion tax reform bill last December—further enriching the “one-percenters” and exploding the national debt—House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke to a throng of fellow conservative legislators in the U.S. Capitol rotunda as they congratulated themselves on their dubious achievement. 

“House Republicans will aim to cut spending on ...

A (Burnt) Toast to Love and Marriage, on the Rocks

In its first few moments, sitcom-style comedy “Clever Little Lies” grabs audience attention right away, with one of the most revealing wardrobe changes you’ll ever see on stage. It is done modestly but just provocatively enough to elicit vocal appreciation from amused patrons.

The fast-paced play, starring Richard Kline of TV comedy classic “Three’s ...

The Adventures of Superdog

I was always very impressed that my dog could bark on command and come when I called his name, until I read in the newspaper about a dog that saved his owner’s life by calling 9-1-1. Apparently, when his owner had a seizure, the dog pushed a speed-dial button for 9-1-1, barked into the receiver for help, and then opened the door when the responders arrived.

Honestly, though, it’s ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Carmel Cinema 8, Carmel

Screening: “Suicide: The Ripple Effect”

Health & Wellness

Fri, July 27, 12:00 PM

Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park, Carmel

Putnam County 4-H Fair

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education Food & Drink

Carousel_image_cacd9d489f78ac41874a_2018_july_rabies_flyer

Sat, July 28, 10:00 AM

Hubbard Lodge, Cold Spring

PCDOH Free Rabies Clinic

Health & Wellness