The Pelham Bay 11-12 year old division has won the A.I.T. championship for the 3rd straight year. Each of the three teams were linked together by one ballplayer, Captain Brandon Soto. Soto played on the 2006 team in a reserve role, being the youngest player in the league at the time. Last year he became one of Pelham Bay’s top stars, leading the 2007 team with his stick and his gold glove. This year he blossomed into being the M.V.P. of the 2008 squad, dominating opponents with his fastball and slider. In 9 playoff innings, Soto struck out 24 batters while allowing only 1 hit.
Coach Joe G on Soto, “His work ethic is second to none, he is just scratching the surface of what he can accomplish, but no matter how good of a player he becomes I know he will be an even better teammate. The kid is amazing.”
In the Semi’s Pelham Bay squared off against Astor. Soto and Kevin “The Bulldog” Hernandez combined on a perfect game, striking out all 12 batters they faced. John Russo and Danny Perez both connected on homeruns as they led Pelham Bay to a 10-0 triumph. In Game 1 of the championship, manager Dom Caggiano handed the ball to Alton “Mocha” Savoye. Savoye kept to his pre-game ritual of drinking a Starbucks Mocha iced coffee and who could argue the results, as he led Pelham Bay with 14 homeruns (regular season and all-stars combined). Savoye was mesmerizing on the mound, striking out 12 batters in 4 innings and allowing only 2 hits.
The offense was led by 10 year old Nino Giardino (3-3, 3 RBI, 2 Runs) and 11 year olds Kevin Hernandez (2-2, 2 RBI, 2 runs), John Liccese (2-2, 2 SB, RBI) and Eric Solero (1-3, 3 RBI). Manager Dom Caggiano said, “These younger players showed me a lot this year, there were many times where they jumpstarted our team. We couldn’t have accomplished anything without the help of the little guys.” Leadoff hitter Tristan Rojas (3 Walks, 2 runs, 2 SB) set the table for Pelham Bay all game long, as they went on to beat Next Millenium 12-1.
In the deciding game of the championship, Brandon Soto took the mound and put on a show for the ages. Soto struck out the first 13 batters he faced before surrendering a bloop single to right, the only hit he allowed for the game. For the game he went six complete innings, striking out 15 without issuing a single walk. “Soto did what he had to do, throwing strike after strike. Our team rallied around their captain!”, said coach Lou Mustich. In the top of the 2nd, Soto and Savoye hit back-to-back homeruns, providing Soto all the run support he would need. Pelham Bay went on to win the championship by the score of 5-0, concluding the rare 3-peat championship victory.
©2008 Community News Group