By Tom Neary
The 15u New York Shamrocks, based out of Northport, took to the diamond this year looking to defend their 2012 National Junior Baseball League Summer Championship, and they did just that.
The team finished the year with a 33-9 record and won both the spring and summer NJBL 15U championships.
During the playoff run in August, the Shamrocks showed their resolve by coming back from a 3-run deficit in extra innings on two different occasions.
The first was a single elimination playoff game where Oyster Bay took a 3-run lead in the top of the eighth inning. The Shamrocks came back to load up the bases in the bottom of the eighth and after scoring one run the game was suspended due to darkness.
When the game resumed the next evening, a 2-run single on the first pitch tied the game. Then following a double play, a single sent the Shamrocks into a best of three Championship series against the South Shore Chiefs.
After splitting the first two games of the Championship Series, the stage was set for a classic finale.
With the Shamrocks leading 3-1 and feeling good going into the top of the seventh, the Chiefs came back and scored 3 runs to take a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. With the season on the line the Shamrocks came back to tie the game. With nobody scoring in the eighth inning the game rolled into the ninth where the Chiefs put up a 3-run frame in the top of the inning.
After loading the bases, a 2-run single put the Shamrocks down by one run. With a 1-1 count the runners on first and second took off on the pitch and stole second and third. Next, the infield was playing in with the tying run on third and the winning run on second. A hard line drive to left field tied the game and with the runner approaching third the left fielder bobbled the ball. Without hesitation, the runner rounded the base and headed home. The left fielder came up throwing, and as everyone on the sideline waited anxiously, the runner slid into home plate. Safe! Game over. Shamrocks Win.
Standing Back Row – left to right
Tom Neary(Mgr), Joe Stockman, Ethan Feuer, Cory Blumenthal, Billy Amendola, Jack Hehir, Rick Amendola(coach), Chris Palmerini (coach)
Kneeling Front Row – left to right
Nick Palmerini, Brian Herrmann, Thomas Neary, Matt DaCosta, Robbie Amendola (Bat Boy), Lukas Jarrett, Vincent Ballarano
Missing from Photo – Tom Dean