New Rochelle rallies in ninth to defeat Milford Hunters
Rob Rodriguez earned MVP honors and the New Rochelle (N.Y.) Robins won the National Amateur Baseball Federation Northeast Regional championship with a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Milford Hunters at Quigley Stadium in West Haven on Sunday afternoon.
Rodriguez, who earlier hit a two-run home run, knocked in the tying run with a single and scored the winning run on Rob Martinez’s two-out base hit in the bottom of the ninth inning. He batted .444 for the regional.
The Robins, out of the Westchester Baseball Association, will represent the Northeast in the NABF Major Division World Series to be held in Battle Creek (Mich.) from Aug 4-7.
Ed Martinez opened the ninth with a single off Jared Rohrig, who had come on in relief in the second inning of starter Brian Gouin.
Milford Hunters’ manager Tom Hanley brought Maxx Catapano in to face Alex Pena, who had hit a home run in the third inning.
Ed Martinez went to second on a wild pitch and third on Pena’s ground out to Hunter Phillips at shortstop.
The Hunters brought the infield in.
Catapano got ahead in the count 0-2, before Ron Rodriguez singled past diving second baseman J.J. Montello and into center field to tie the game at 6. He had homered in the seventh to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead.
Rob Rodriguez went to second on a wild pitch.
Catapano retired John Wolff on a fly ball to Matt Fedor in left.
Another wild pitch put the go-ahead run at third for Rob Martinez, who ground a 1-2 pitch through the hole between second and third to deliver the winning run.
Joe Rohrig had four hits for the Hunters, who left the bases loaded on three occasions and stranded 18 runners overall against four New Rochelle pitchers.
The Milford Hunters took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
Kyle Horton led off the inning with a single off right-hander Akeen Watson, who had pitched seven innings on Thursday and nine innings on Saturday.
Horton stole second and went to third when the pitch went to the backstop.
Phillips knocked him in with an infield grounder.
Gouin got the start and stranded two runners, as center fielder Tyler Graziano made a spectacular catch on Rob Rodriguez drive up the gap in left center field.
New Rochelle made it 2-1 in the second on a single by Rob Martinez, a double by Domenic Luongo and Will Wagner’s RBI grounder.
In the third, Pena homered over the right field fence to tie the game at 2.
Wolff walked with two out, Rob Martinez singled and Luongo doubled up the opposite alley in left-center for a 3-2 lead.
Horton made a fine play charging Wagner slow roller to third to leave two runners in scoring position.
The Milford Hunters took the lead back at 4-3 in the seventh inning.
Fedor walked with one out and Graziano reached safely when his pop fly behind third base was dropped for an error.
Horton lined an RBI single to left field to tie the game at 3.
After a walk loaded the bases for the third time, Phillips hit a potential double play grounder to shortstop that was booted. Graziano scored to give Milford the lead.
A soft liner and grounder to Wagner at second base again stranded three.
New Rochelle leap-frogged the Hunters in the bottom of the frame.
Jared Rohrig had retired eight straight batters when he hit Ed Martinez with a one-out pitch. He put the next out in the book, but Rob Rodriguez homered to right center to give the Robins a 5-4 lead.
After a single, the ninth hit by New Rochelle, and a walk, Graziano got on his horse and tracked down Luongo’s bid for another extra-base hit in left center.
Milford took the lead back in the eighth.
Joe Rohrig, who batted .357 in regionals, singled.
Montello sacrificed him to second.
Graziano walked with two outs, as did Horton to load the bases.
Mike Bartlett broke the skein of missed opportunities with a hard single to right to score Joe Rohrig.
Graziano was headed home when Luongo’s throw from right was up the first base side of the plate and Graziano scored for a 6-5 lead.
Milford stranded its 17th and 18th runners of the game on a grounder to short.
New Rochelle advanced to the finals with a wins over Vermont’s Champlain Mariners (10-4), the Bridgeport All-Stars (10-1) and Thermaxx Jackets (5-3) in the semifinals. The Robins lost 6-0 to Columbus Auto Body in their final pool game.
The Milford Hunters out of the Bridgeport Senior City League, opened play with a 6-0 victory over the Milford Monsters from the Connecticut Adult Baseball Association. They then dropped 7-0 and 1-0 decision to Pool B champions Thermaxx, before bouncing back in the semifinals with a 3-1 win over Columbus Auto Body.
Horton had two hits for the Hunters with an RBI and a run scored.
Catapano had two hits. Phillips an RBI and a run scored.
Bartlett (RBI) and Graziano (run scored) each had a hit, as did Ron Williams.
Ryan Zahornasky out of Shelton, third baseman for Columbus Auto Body, was the Northeast Regional batting champion with a .467 average.