Little League teams preparing for next step

Milford International met Milford National Lou Gehrig in the District IV 11-12 Little League Baseball Tournament at Henry Roche Field in Orange on Sunday, July 6.

International posted a 10-2 victory, but both managers knew that ultimately their job was to build better players.

“Our bats woke up today,” said International’s Paul Clark, who is assisted by Brad Griffin and Ken Sinisgalli. “We lost our first three (District) games, but never quit.

“We’ve been getting better each game and that’s what we want: To get these players to play the game right.”

Milford National Lou Gehrig manager Mike Merchant agreed.

“This is a fantastic group of young men,” said Merchant, who is assisted by Mike Shannon and Sharon Vitale. “They’ve been working hard since January to get ready for their regular seasons and now All-Stars.

“We are teaching them to respect the game and it is an honor for us to be coaching them.”

Before the players move on to the larger diamonds of Babe Ruth and then American Legion baseball, they had some city business to finish.

Rich Piscitelli handled pitching duties for Milford International, which improved to 1-3 in Bracket A pool-play against the likes of Orange, Cheshire, Annex and Pop Smith.

Milford International was led in the infield by Brian Pepe at first base, Jordan Shand and Anthony Giannattasio at second, James Carbone at shortstop and Sam Sanigalli at third.

Scott Clark was the catcher and Tyler Griffin, Will Diamantis, Andrew Janik, Joe Matrisian and Chris Kiley manned the outfield.

Anthony Rainey got the start for Milford National Lou Gehrig, which had a 9-7 win over Pop Smith to its credit.

Justin DeEll was at first base, Garrett Tutlis and Zach Smith at second,  John Shannon at shortstop and Zach Merchant at third.

Colby Primavera did the catching. Will Contaxis Jon Vitale, Dylan Coombs and Eric Hallstrom played the outfield.

John Shannon singled and Zach Merchant doubled with one out in the first, but Piscitelli, who had opened the game with a strikeout, got out of the jam on another strikeout and a stellar play to his left by Shand at second base.

Milford International’s Tyler Griffin opened the home first with a single, but after Rainey recorded a strikeout, John Shannon started and finished a 6-6-3 double play.

Milford International took a 2-0 lead in its second at bat.

Scott Clark led off the frame with a home run to left-center field.

Rainey showed off his defense on the mound to get the first out, but Sam Sinisgalli doubled and Carbone walked.

Primavera threw out a runner stealing for the second out, as a run scored.

Piscitelli struck out the side in the second, but Milford National Lou Gehrig tied the game at 2 in the third.

Vitale singled to right-center field with one out and moved to second on John Shannon’s base hit.

Carbone made a great catch on the move to take away a hit from Zach Merchant before Primavera singled inside the third-base bag to plate Vitale.

Rainey brought his team even with an RBI single.

Milford International went in front for good with a four-run rally in the third.

Shand’s bad-hop single eluded DeEll and went into right field to open the frame.

Tyler Griffin walked and Piscitelli had an infield hit to load the bases.

Rainey notched a strikeout, and enticed a fielder’s choice infield grounder to John Shannon, but Shand beat the throw home.

Janik then slapped a two-run single to bring the score to 5-2 and one out later, Sam Sanisgalli knocked in the sixth run.

Turner doubled for MNLG in the fourth only to be stranded.

Milford International scored four more runs in the home fourth, as anything that could go wrong for MNLG did.

Shand had a double, Tyler Griffin an RBI single, Piscitelli, Giannattasio and Sam Sanisgalli drew walks, Scott Clark an RBI grounder and Janik a run-producing single.

Zach Merchant singled for MNLG and Shand had a base hit for Milford International in scoreless fifth innings.