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12U All Stars

Posted by Stephen Drotos at Jul 15, 2011 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
After finishing pool play with a 4-2 record and securing the second spot in Pool B, the Devils opened up the championship round with a tough 12-1 loss against top-seeded Lyndhurst.  The play of 3B Michael Perez was one of the few bright spots in the contest ( along with Bob Morrone’s one-handed snatch of a foul pop to save Mrs. Perez ), as the 12U’s had more fielding errors (6) than hits (5).  Facing elimination, the Devils met Rutherford National on Wednesday night (7/13) in Wallington in a marathon tilt that featured a combined 33 hits, a rain delay, and Mrs. Affuso concealing not one, but TWO home run balls…..                Visiting WR/Moonachie lit up the board in the top of the first, parlaying a walk by SS Anthony Trano, Jr. and RBI base hits by starter Ryan Morrone, Anthony Latoracca and C  Chris Affuso into a 3-0 advantage.  Rutherford scratched out a run in the bottom of the frame, and after recording a 1-2-3 Devils’ 2nd, exploded for four tallies to grab a 5-3 lead after two innings of play.  The 12U’s seized the advantage right back in the top of the third, blistering the Bulldogs with a string of hits by Trano, Morrone ( 4 for 5, 3 R, 2 RBI ), a 2 RBI base knock by 1B Dom Gadaleta, CF/3B Latoracca, and… POW!—a 2 run dinger by Mrs. Affuso’s pride and joy to go up 8-4.  As the dark clouds came rolling in and the wind kicked up swirls of dust, Rutherford battled back with some long ball of their own, jumping ahead 9-8 as the rain started falling and one big shot of thunder and lightning triggered a half hour hiatus in play….     As the contest continued, it became apparent that ( yes Gina ) the rainbow now arcing over Wood-Ridge was a sign from the baseball Gods.  Middle reliever Thomas Luizzi, Jr. ( 4 IP, 5H, 2R, 5K’s ) extricated his pals from the Rutherford third with a strikeout and an assist by cohort Latoracca who first tripped, then tagged out the Bulldogs’ cleanup hitter at the hot corner to end the inning.  The Devils regained the lead for good in the top of the 4th, rocking the home team’s pitching corps in a bat-around that featured BB’s to Luizzi, Gadaleta and the patient Andrew Zoltowski,  two base hits (both by Morrone), doubles by “the Anthonys”, and crowd- pleasing out-of-the-parkers by Affuso (6 RBI’s on the night!) and newly installed leadoff hitter Jonathan Menge.  The 12U’s tacked on an insurance run in the 5th as Kyle Dressel singled aboard, swiped second, and was knocked in by the crisp-hitting of RF Gregory Carmona to put the Devils ahead 15-9.         Rutherford mounted a last-gasp rally in the bottom of the 5th, scoring two runs to narrow their deficit to 15-11.  The rally was extinguished by some fine glovework by Trano, who also contributed two assists in the sixth to help Luizzi close out the game, ending Rutherford National’s postseason. Next up for the 12U’s: a rematch with Kearny tonight (7/14) with the winner advancing to the District Finals…..
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Wood-Ridge 12U Allstars vs Kearny

Posted by Stephen Drotos at Jul 10, 2011 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
Kearny  5     WR/ Moonachie  3                   The 12U All-Stars suffered their first loss of the postseason in Lodi on Thursday night (7/7), falling to Kearny 5-3 in a battle of the unbeatens.  The Devils are now 4-1 and tied for second place in Pool B as they head into Saturday’s final pool play contest against North Arlington (2-3).  The 12U’s will advance to the championship round with either a Saturday loss by Rutherford American or ( should Rutherford win ) by beating North Arlington and surrendering not more than 5 runs over what Rutherford gives up  vs. Kearny.( And you thought this was easy……).     The visiting Devils grabbed an early 1-0 lead as CF Ryan Morrone got aboard courtesy of a misplayed grounder to short, and scored on a base hit by starting pitcher Dom Gadaleta ( 5 IP, 4 H, 8 K’s ). The Kardinals evened things up in the bottom of the first, parlaying an infield single and two stolen bases by their speedy leadoff hitter into the home team’s first run of the contest.  The score remained at 1-1 thru the second inning as Morrone’s rising liner to center was reeled in with a leaping catch, stranding LF Kyle Dressel at third.  The Devils started off the top of the 3rd inning with a bang (literally) as white-hot 2B Jonathan Menge slammed a double off the upper panel of the centerfield fence.  Two strikeouts and a pickoff at second later, Kearny got out of another frame with the stalemate intact.       The home team took advantage of two free passes in the bottom of the inning as Kearny’s “ 3 hitter” lashed a 2 RBI single to right center to give the Hudson County squad a 3-1 lead at the midway point.  The cushion was short-lived however as Devils backstop Chris Affuso whacked his first homer of the postseason to trim the deficit to 3-2.  The dinger was the subject of some extended controversy as it had ricocheted back onto the playing surface, prompting the Kearny coaching staff to heatedly argue the call with game and district officials.  As the matter was being disputed,  Affuso’s Mom was spotted concealing the home run ball “ Where they’d never notice it” (her words)….        Not wanting to miss out on the fun, RF Michael “ Swoosh “ Perez christened his Nike Ignite with his first career tater, a beauty down the leftfield line to knot the score at 3-3. Gadaleta cruised thru the next two frames, holding the Kardinals scoreless as both he and the equally impressive Kearny starter reached their maximum allotment of pitches (85) after five innings of work.  Devils 1B/CF Anthony Latoracca led off the top of the sixth with a sharp liner up the middle, but could not advance past third base as Kearny’s lefty reliever held serve.  The contest came to a sudden and dramatic conclusion with one on and one out in the bottom of the 6th as the home team’s centerfielder enjoyed a moment he’ll always remember, smacking a walkoff 2-run homer to close out a terrific game between two equally terrific squads….    
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12U W-R All Stars vs. E. Rutherford

Posted by Stephen Drotos at Jul 4, 2011 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
The 12U All-Stars emerged unscathed from week 1 of pool play, upping their record to 4-0 with a TKO of East Rutherford on Thursday night (6/30).  Devils starter Ryan Morrone was bullet-proof, giving up only two hits and whiffing 10 ER batters in the four inning, 10-0 victory.  The boys in blue will now enjoy an extended break from competition, resuming play against undefeated Kearny on Thursday 7/7 in Lodi....               Once again the 12U's had a big night at the plate in Garfield, banging out 17 hits (again) to go with 5 free passes.  SS Anthony Trano,Jr. got things started for the home Devils with a double to left center, and put WR/Moonachie on the board courtesy of the first of Morrone's three hits. C  Chris Affuso singled to lead off the bottom of the second, and was moved around the bases by the textbook line drives of FF  Michael Giacumbo and professional hitter Jonathan Menge, putting the 12U'S up 2-0 after two. Home run king Tommy Luizzi got things going in the third with a signature bomb to the centerfield foliage to tack on another run. A base hit by CF  Anthony Latoracca ( whose Dad won the 50-50 AGAIN ), and the first of two walks by the discerning Andrew Zoltowski, set the stage for Nike pitchman Michael Perez who ripped a hard grounder headed for right field.  Unfortunately, and despite the loud protestations of the Devils' fans, the home plate umpire "saw" the ball carom off Zoltowski's leg, and the big lefty was banished from the basepaths. East Rutherford managed to escape the third inning with only a 3-0 deficit.             The 12U's finally put that big inning together in the bottom of the 4th to bring the contest to an early conclusion.  Base hits by Morrone, 1B  Dom Gadaleta, Latoracca and Perez, and RBI doubles by Menge and Affuso highlighted the bat-around. Back-to-back-to-back BB's to 2B  Kyle Dressel, Morrone and Menge then brought Perez ( 2 for 2;R;RBI ) trotting home with the 10th and deciding run.......
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12U Wood-Ridge vs. Carlstadt

Posted by Stephen Drotos at Jun 29, 2011 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
 The 12U All-Stars staged the most improbable of comebacks on Tuesday night, erasing a five run deficit with a nine run 6th inning to down Carlstadt 10-6 at Lyndhurst’s Patsy DeLoy Field.  With the win, the Devils grabbed the top spot on the Pool B leader board with a halfway mark of 3-0.                   The contest rapidly took on the tenor of a pitchers’ duel as Carlstadt southpaw Kyle Post and WR’s hard-throwing Dom Gadaleta stymied the opposition for the first two innings. Carlstadt broke through with their first hit of the evening in the bottom of the third, and went on to capitalize on Gadaleta’s control struggles by drawing four walks and stealing the plate three times. Reliever Tommy Luizzi came out of the pen to end the inning with a K, but not in time to prevent the Wildcats’ 4th dish theft of the frame. After a scoreless fourth inning for both sides, the 12U’s trailed 4-0.            Luizzi finally got the visitors on the board with a solo opposite field dinger in the top of the fifth. Pesky Carlstadt then parlayed two hits and yet another swipe of the plate into 2 insurance runs, whipping their fans into a frenzy and carrying a 6-1 advantage into the Devils’ final at-bat.  As Yogi Berra famously said however “ It ain’t over ‘til it’s over”………..      As Senior nervously watched from the booth upstairs, Anthony Trano, Jr. led off the WR/Moonachie sixth. With his teammates chanting away, Trano patiently let Carlstadt reliever Michael Bolwell unravel, drawing a 5-pitch walk. CF Ryan Morrone and 2B Jonathan Menge did likewise, and even the ensuing Wildcat timeout did nothing to alleviate the home team’s mound woes. Dom Gadaleta got a measure of revenge, drawing a free pass with bases loaded to make it 6-2 , and Carlstadt went to the bullpen again.           Luizzi greeted the Carlstadt closer with an RBI base hit, and a second run scored on a wild throw home (6 to 4…..). 1B/3B Anthony Latoracca’s grounder to short found itself thrown into the first base dirt, scoring Gadaleta and Luizzi (6 to 6….). After swiping second, Latoracca was driven home by the HUGE  RBI single of catcher Chris Affuso to give the Devils their first lead of the game at 7-6, silencing the Wildcat cheering section for good.  Special runner Kyle Dressel replaced Affuso on the basepaths, and after taking second on a passed ball, was sent the remainder of the way around courtesy of LF Michael Perez ( he of the red cleats and the Nike bat!). Morrone made his second at-bat of the inning a memorable one, punctuating the comeback with a 2-run homer to put the 12U’s in control 10-6.   Luizzi went on to post a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth, earning the win with a 3  1/3 inning, two-hit performance……  Next up for the Devils will be East Rutherford (0-2) on Thursday 6/30.
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W-R 12U Allstars vs. Rutherford

Posted by Stephen Drotos at Jun 29, 2011 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
The 12U All-Stars kicked off their 2011 pool play slate in Garfield on Saturday 6/25 with an impressive seventeen hit, 12-4 victory over Rutherford American. With all of their previous all-star managers making up this year’s coaching staff ( Harry Carmona- 8U,9U;  Fred Dressel -10U; Mgr. Ralph Affuso-11U ), the defending district champs are looking to bring home the 12 year-old banner for the first time since 2004….              The visiting Devils wasted no time in this contest, sending the entire order to the plate in the top of the 1st and grabbing a 4-0 lead. The barrage was bookended by leadoff ace Anthony Trano and RF Gregory Carmona, and featured a clutch two-out, 2 RBI base knock by catcher Chris Affuso.  The second inning brought more of the same as Ryan Morrone and Dom Gadaleta both doubled and scored around a Jonathan Menge walk, and Tommy Luizzi registered the first of his three RBI’s to put the 12U’s up 7-1. Rutherford showed some early signs of life, narrowing the score to 7-3 after two full innings, but there wasn’t much left in the tank for the home Bulldogs.           1B/OF Andrew Zoltowski singled and later scored in the third off the new Nike hardware of 2B Michael Perez. OF/3B Anthony Latoracca parked a 4th frame solo home run into the centerfield briar patch, and the Devils took a 9-3 lead into the fifth inning.           WR-Moonachie iced the cake in the fifth as Murderers’  Row (Morrone-Menge-Gadaleta-Luizzi) tacked on another three insurance runs. Closer Luizzi yielded only an unearned run in the Rutherford 6th and nailed down the win for starter Dom Gadaleta. The evening’s Rolaids award went to middle reliever Ryan Morrone who gave up one hit and no runs over 2 and 2/3 innings; the Purple Heart went to SS Anthony Trano who dodged one bad hop and took another in the kisser…     Next up for the 12U’s will be Hasbrouck Heights Orange (0-1) on Monday 6/27 in Lodi

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