Little League teams finalized
It took an extra day, but the Little League World Series field is complete.
Staten Island, New York and Coventry, Rhode Island secured the final two Series berths Sunday afternoon. New York defeated Berlin, Maryland, 4-0 to capture the Mid-Atlantic championship and Rhode Island edged Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 3-2 for the New England title.
New York capped a perfect regional run with a perfect pitching performance. Gregory Bruno threw a perfect game, struck out 12 and did so on just 62 pitches as Mid Island Little League earned its third Series berth and first since 2006. Bruno threw 48 of 62 pitches for strikes and stayed eligible for Thursday’s Series opener against Des Moines, Iowa since he stayed under 65 pitches. Bruno threw his second shutout at the Series, allowing just two hits in 11 innings and striking out 25.
New York is undefeated this summer and outscored four Mid-Atlantic opponents, 26-4. Steven Martinez capped a huge regional performance by going 2 for 2 with a two-run double that put New York ahead to stay in the third inning. Derek Mendez added an RBI single and New York added a run each in the fifth and sixth innings.
First baseman John Calabrese and right fielder Robert Cavalieri preserved the perfect game in the fifth inning with spectacular defensive players. Calabrese made a diving catch and Cavalieri threw out a runner at first base after it appeared he would have a sure single. Mid Island Little League captured the 1964 world championship and went winless at the 2006 Series.
Two days after erasing a five-run sixth-inning deficit, Rhode Island never trailed, handing Massachusetts its first loss this summer. The Coventry Little League earned its first Series berth as Jake Mather hit a two-out, go-ahead home run in the fifth inning that made it 3-2. Logan Lama and Anthony Colucci combined on a 4-hitter and Lama recorded two straight bases-loaded strikeouts in the fourth inning, keeping the game, 2-2.
Rhode Island threw out two runners at second in the sixth inning and avenged a 10-1 loss against Massachusetts from last Wednesday. Kody Fretts hit an RBI single in the third inning, breaking a scoreless tie and helping Rhode Island grab a 2-0 lead.
Rhode Island plays its first Series game Thursday night at Lamade Stadium when it faces Southwest champion, Houston, Texas.