By Peter Pagliaro-MHTS

Photos-Kevin Montano-MHTS-Game photo album

MHTS Summer Fun Tour


ball21-121x130The Cal Ripken Baseball Tournament Championship got underway Saturday in Rome at James J. Pugliese Field between the Major Division’s Bill’s Variety and Bobby Page.

These two teams have a rich history. Just this season alone, they have squared off three times with Bill’s Variety, coming out victorious in each of the three prior contests.

Two of those were one-run regular season affairs. The third matchup came earlier this week in tournament play.

#11 Jackson Sorbello tries to hang on as runner gets back to the bag.

If that was not enough drama, how about Bill’s Variety capping off a 12-0 regular season and an up to now, undefeated tourney run.

So the stage was set. Bobby Page, 9-3 on the season, was facing elimination with their loss, coming at the hands of whom else, Bill’s Variety.

ball21-121x130A win by Bill’s Variety would give them the tournament championship and a perfect season thus far. A victory by Bobby Page would force a final showdown between the two teams on Monday night.

As if things were not interesting enough, the two teams would have to settle things over the course of two days. The game began on Saturday and was halted after just two innings of work, as the skies would open up and buckets of rain would drop on an already rain soaked field.

When the rains came, Bobby Page held a 2-0 advantage after starting pitcher, Tristan Hunzinger, hit a towering 2-run shot over the left field wall.

The effort was all for nothing, as the rains made the field unplayable. The two squads went at it again today, with a blank slate.

Making contact as Bill’s looks to rally in Rome.     

When Sunday came, the skies were cloudy and blue. Lefthander, Jackson Sorbello, took the hill for Bill’s Variety with a lot on the line. Sorbello faced Evan Finley, who led off with a double to centerfield, as the ball soared over the centerfielder’s head.

The next Bobby Page batter was Aidan Hunzinger, who popped up advancing Finely to third on a passed ball.

ball21-121x130Nate Palmer battled at the plate, fouling off several balls before getting the free pass to first, when he worked out a walk.

With runners at the corners, Tristan Hunzinger stepped into the box and worked Sorbello for a walk to load the bases for Derek Klopotek.

Sorbello then settled down and struck out the next two batters he faced, Derek Klopotek and Matt Davis. Bobby Page left the base paths full with nothing to show for it.

Tristan Hunzinger, a hard throwing righthander, would get the call for Bobby Page and face Sorbello as the lead off batter.

Hi flying action at plate!

Sorbello hit a hard line drive back to the shortstop, who was not able to knock it down, and Sorbello reached safely.

Will Granger was next up for Bill’s Variety. He took four straight balls and walked, bringing up Aaron Simons.

Simons smoked a ball hard and deep to right field for a double and scored Sorbello, as Bill’s grabbed a 1-0 lead.

ball21-121x130Sorbello would work quickly in the second, where he would retire both Jordan Elliott and Jayden Treonze with strikeouts.

Following a walk by Jason Sticca, Evan Finely grounded out to end the inning.

Bobby Page tied the game up in the top of the third inning after Nate Palmer hustled around the bases for a triple.

Palmer scored after Derek Klopotek popped up to right field, as the ball dropped in between two Bill’s Variety players. Palmer’s run tied the game at 1-1.

The Bill’s Variety bats were heated up in their half of the third inning, when Granger singled and Aaron Simons smashed a double.

Letting one rip..great form on the follow through.

Bill Tallarino dropped a bunt that landed him safely at first, loading the bases.

Mike Tallarino followed with a clutch single that would score two, as Aaron Simons would safely slide into home, giving Bill’s Variety a 3-1 advantage.

Justin Swavely came on in relief in the fifth inning for Bill’s Variety, as they tried to protect their two run lead. A lead that would soon be in jeopardy.

ball21-121x130Aiden Hunzinger singled,and Nate Palmer doubled, to put runners on second and third for Bobby Page, with Tristan Hunzinger at the plate.

Hunzinger took a base with a walk. Derek Klopotek singled up the middle, cutting the Bill’s Variety lead to 3-2. 

The flood gates would then open as the Bobby Page batters would get hot.

A Matt Davis single would net two runs giving Bobby Page a 4-3 lead.

Joey Gulla would push home a run with his single and Bobby Page would get out of the inning with a 6-3 advantage.

Reason to smile for Bill’s Variety.

The top of the sixth saw some nice defensive work from Billy Tallarino at shortstop, when he jumped in the air to rob Nate Palmer of a hit and then threw to first base for the double play to end the inning.

Facing a three run deficit, Bill’s Variety stepped into their half of the final inning, looking to generate enough offense to either tie up the game or win it in walk off fashion.

The boy’s gave it their best, but could only score one more run to cut the Bobby Page lead to 6-4 and lose their first game of the double elimination tournament.

ball21-121x130With the win, Bobby Page staved off elimination and forced a final showdown for the championship on Monday night between the rivals.

After the game My Hometown Sports caught up with some members of the winning team. Starting pitcher Tristan Hunzinger indicated “I was a little nervous to start off the game, but I quickly settled down and felt good, even after they scored first. I knew as long as we kept our cool and did what we do best that we would be okay. It felt good to beat them after they handed us three losses this year.”

Third baseman, Matt Davis, added, “While at bat, I was just looking to make contact and put the ball into play and good things would happen. I was able to make contact and put the ball into the outfield and score some runs. That is how you win ball games.”

Bobby Page all in!

Derek Klopotek said much of the same, “I just wanted to make contact, get the ball in play and let things go from there. When you get runners on base and make contact good things will happen.”

Catcher, Nathan Palmer, who had a big triple in the game and seemed to jump start the offense, said, “After I made contact on that play, I knew I had a chance to get to third if I ran hard. After I made contact I just ran hard out of the box and found myself at third. It was a momentum changer for us, as it seemed to get us going. We knew we would rally, even when we were down, because as long as there are outs still left we have a chance.”

The two teams will do it one more time on Monday night for the Cal Ripken Majors Tournament Championship crown!

Bobby Page 6 Bill’s Variety 4

Box Score 1 2 3 4 5 6 F

Bobby Page 0 0 1 0 5 0 6

Bill’s Variety 1 0 2 0 0 1 4

Bill’s Variety

11 Jackson Sorbello – P

9 Will Granger – 3B

14 Aaron Simons – C

12 Bill Tallarino – SS

7 Justin Swavely – 1B

10 – Mike Tallarino – 2B

13 Manny Salas – RF

3 Ashton Ritchie – CF

5 Bill Verro – LF

8 – Joe Mellace

2 – Brandon Kimball

6 – Mitchell McWayne

Coach Kevin Simons

Bobby Page

6 Evan Finley – 1B

8 Aiden Hunzinger – 2B

3 Nate Palmer – C

5 Tristan Hunzinger – P

4 Derek Klopotek – LF

7 Matt Davis – 3B

10 Jordan Elliott – SS

13 Jayden Treonze – CF

14 Jason Sticca – RF

9 – Joey Gulla

12 Bryce Palmer

Coach Brian James