YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y.— What started out as an ominous day turned into a thrilling game between the Yorktown Lightning and Cortlandt National Blue. The Lightning battled back for an 11-8 win over the National Blue to claim the 8-and-under Greater Hudson Valley Baseball League championship trophy on Sunday, July 31.
“We were undefeated this year and it was just a great group of kids and a great group of families,” Lightning coach Tom Masillo said. “We just stuck together. We were down and fought in this game, and just continued to come back.”
Yorktown struck in the bottom of the first, scoring their leadoff batter, Alex Ornstein, after he stole second and scored on a throwing error. In the top of the second, Cortlandt responded with two runs of their own to take a 2-1 lead. Yorktown tied it after Dylan Leitner began the bottom half by reaching on a throwing error, advanced to third on a stolen base and wild pitch, and was driven in by Kurtis Maher.
In the top of the third, Cortlandt piled on four more runs for a 6-2 lead. The Lightning gave the ball to Vince Cannizzaro on the mound in the fourth and he shut the door on the National Blue to keep his team in the game allowing only two more runs through the rest of the game.
With Yorktown trailing 8-2 in the bottom of the fourth it was a collective, two-inning effort to get their team back on top.
“You can’t panic,” Masillo said. “You’ve always got to stay within yourself and chip away, and that’s what we did. We have a lot of pitchers and guys that throw strikes, and we have a lot of hitters. We hit from top to bottom. There are no weak spots.”
Luca Masillo began the rally with a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth. Two batters later, Cannizzaro reached on an errant throw, scoring Masillo. The next batter, Leitner singled, scoring Cannizarro, and advancing to second on the throw home to make it a three run, 8-5 deficit.
In the top of the fifth, Cannizarro shut down the National Blue, giving his team another shot at closing the gap, and in the bottom of the inning the Lightning did just that. Yorktown loaded the bases and went on a scoring spree, getting two runs to start the inning from Jeff Nunez and Liam O’Connor, then continued to keep the bases loaded getting six-straight singles or walks to score four more runs for an 11-8 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Cannizarro shut the door on the National Blue with the game ending in a wild play at the plate. Cortlandt’s Al Roush reached on an infield single while Rex Kahn went to third after walking and stealing second. After a close play at first, Kahn was sent home and thrown out at the plate to bring the title to the Lightning.
“We just had a great team effort as usual,” Masillo said. “If this team stays together it’s going to be very interesting going forward and Yorktown is going to have a nice team.”