By Matt DiGrigoli and Melissa Palazzotto
The Brooklyn Blue Storm 8U Lightning squad has won the Pony World Series!
Composed of six teams, the Blue Storm 8-year-olds started the Pony World Series with lopsided victories over Bergen Beach and the Bonnie Tigers. The Brooklyn boys defeated Bergen Beach by a final of 32-0 and dominated the Tigers by a margin of 34-0.
In the two games, the Lightning struck for an incredible 12 home runs — four by Aeden Finateri, two apiece by Michael Sirota, Chris Campanella and Daniel Corona, and one each by Antonio DiGrigoli and Michael McGowan.
The Blue Storm pitchers combined to pitch two no-hitters, led by Jakob Alers, Antonio Morin and the young closer, 6-year-old Joseph “JoJo” DiGrigoli, who finished both games on the mound.
The third game of the tournament was a bit more interesting in that the Blue Storm defeated the Bonnie Orioles by a much closer margin of 2-0. Still, the incredible pitching continued as the Blue Storm threw its third straight no-hitter!
Finateri and Corona dominated the opposing hitters, striking out a total of 13 batters. Timely hitting by first baseman Ryan Melendez led to the two runs, which was all the Blue Storm needed to get to the championship game undefeated.
The championship game pitted the Lightning against the Orioles once again and, once again, the Blue Storm won by a close margin, 7-4.
With the Blue Storm trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Sirota changed the game with one swing, smashing a grand slam to put the Lightning up for good. Sirota and Corona starred on the mound, and Corona showed his toughness by pitching through pain with a swollen hand.
Hits by Melendez, DiGrigoli, Corona, Jonathan Larrea, Reid Heyman, McGowan, Morin and Finateri all led to runs, helping to clinch the 2012 Pony World Series for the Brooklyn Blue Storm!
Next up for the Lightning squad is a Labor Day tournament in Manalapan, N.J.
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The Brooklyn Blue Storm’s 10U Elite Thunder squad took on the Spring Creek squad in an action-packed doubleheader that saw the Storm squad reign supreme this past weekend.
David Sierra started on the mound for the Blue Storm in the first game and endured a rocky first inning. The Blue Storm committed two errors in the field that led to three runs for Spring Creek in the first.
Then Sierra settled down and pitched no-hit ball until he was relieved by Ricardo Ducasse, who allowed his only walk of the game to score. Ducasse faced 11 batters and only two reached base — one on a walk and one on a hit-batsmen. Only one hit was allowed over the entire game!
Blue Storm’s bats would not be silenced. With a total of 11 hits scattered throughout the lineup and eight runs scored, the team was able to end a four-game slide to remain in playoff contention.
Tommy Palazzotto, Chris Pops, Ducasse, Eddie Saviano, Billy Rozakis, Sierra, Sergio Rodriguez, Johnny Parker and Jason Jiminez each had a hit in the game. The Blue Storm won by a final score of 7-4.
The Thunder won the second game against Spring Creek by a score of 6-4. Four different pitchers took the mound for the Storm and allowed only one hit and four walks. Unfortunately, all four walks would come around to score.
The offense was able to squeak out three hits, but was able to score runs due to walks as well. Pops, Ducasse and Rozakis accounted for the hits, while Palazzotto, Saviano, Sierra, Rodriguez and Jiminez each showed great plate discipline and baserunning ability to score on walks.
On Sunday, the Thunder received great pitching and timely hitting en route to a doubleheader sweep of the Bonnie Rangers. In the opener, the Thunder came from behind to win, 5-3, thanks to the strong pitching of Palazzotto, who went the distance with a complete-game masterpiece. Palazzotto struck out five and allowed no earned runs.
With the Blue Storm leading by a margin of 5-3 in the final inning, the Bonnies were threatening with men on second and third and one out. A wild pitch was retrieved by hustling catcher Antonio DiGrigoli, making his debut from the 8-year-old team, and fired to a hustling Palazzotto, covering the plate, to throw out the runner for the second out. Then Palazzotto took care of the final out on a soft grounder to second base.
Timely hitting by Chris Papadopoulos, Michael Lopez and Rodriguez capped the comeback win.
In the second game against the Rangers, the Thunder built upon their momentum from game one and mercied the Bonnies, 12-2, behind the strong pitching of Sierra and Ducasse. Sierra recorded seven strikeouts and Ducasse struck out two batters.
Timely hitting by Enrico Saviano and Hugo Scully and two hits by Ducasse were all the Blue Storm needed to cement the victory.