The 12U All-Stars (in no particular order: Anthony Trano, Chris Affuso, Kyle Dressel, Greg Carmona, Ryan Morrone, Jonathan Menge, Andrew Zoltowski, Dom Gadaleta, Michael Perez, Michael Giacumbo, Tommy Luizzi and Anthony Latoracca) wrapped up their 2011 postseason on Thursday night (7/14), falling just short of the District Finals in a 12-11 loss to Kearny. The “Boys of Summer” finished their Little League careers with the distinction of having been the only squad in this year’s 14- team field to have advanced to the District Final Four as 10, 11 and 12 year-olds… The contest kicked off in promising fashion as the visiting Devils enjoyed a first inning bat-around resulting in an early 4-0 advantage. Free passes to SS Anthony Trano,Jr. and starter Dom Gadaleta, an Andrew Zoltowski plunking, and hits by catcher Chris Affuso, LF Gregory Carmona and Anthony Latoracca fueled the two-out barrage. Kearny made some first frame noise of their own, but came away with only one run to trail 4-1. The 12U’s tacked on another score in the second as CF Ryan Morrone (and his hefty .577 postseason batting average) doubled and was driven home by Affuso ( 3 for 4, 2R, 4 RBI ) to go up 5-1. The Kardinals then staged their own bat-around in the bottom of the inning, pushing across five runs and grabbing a 6-5 lead. The third inning came and went quietly as each side managed just one hit ( ours by professional batsman Jonathan Menge who got thru yet another All-Star season without striking out a single time ) and no runs, temporarily maintaining the status quo. The Devils then had themselves another huge inning, sending the entire order to the plate in the top of the 4th. Back-to-back-to-back hits by Morrone, Gadaleta and Affuso got the party started. Later, a BB by utility man Michael Perez ( who went a whopping 8 for 10 this All-Star season! ) and a base rap by Latoracca loaded the bases for 3B Tommy Luizzi who drilled an 0-2 pitch into the cheap seats for a grand slam-- Luizzi’s 4th home run of the District Tournament. The Devils emerged with an 11-6 lead, and after giving one back in the bottom of the fourth, headed into the final two frames with a four-run cushion. Unfortunately, the 12U’s (who batted an impressive .450 as a team this summer) were out of ammo. Back-to-back 1-2-3 innings at the plate by WR/Moonachie and a big 5th inning rally by the Kardinals brought the contest to an 11-11 tie going into Kearny’s final at-bat. The Devils managed to record a Trano-to-Luizzi forceout at third to momentarily hold the home team at bay, but couldn’t ultimately escape the hot Kearny bats… On behalf of the many fans and supporters of this fine group of young men, a big thank-you for all the exciting baseball you’ve given us over the Little League years. We all look forward to your continued success as you move on to the “big field”….