The Honesdale Little Baseball Association 11-year-old all star team captured the 2012 Cal Ripken state championship Tuesday night with a dominating victory.
The local lads scored five times in the early innings, then relied on pitching and defense en route to a 6-2 win over Llanarch Hills.
“These kids have worked very hard and I’m so proud of them,” Coach Joe Curreri told TWI Sports. “They’re really dedicated...they play hard and practice hard, but they have a lot of fun, too. It’s been an amazing experience for us and for the kids.”
Honesdale posted a 5-1 record at the tournament, which was hosted this year by Warrington.
On the Field
Coach Curreri called on fireballing right hander Anthony DeGori to start the championship game.
DeGori turned in yet another brilliant performance, working all six innings on his way to a complete game victory. He fanned seven, issued two walks and allowed only four hits.
“Anthony did a great job,” said Coach Curreri. “He just pounded the zone and had excellent control of his pitches. Anthony changed speeds and kept their batters off balance.”
DeGori received all the support he’d need in the top of the fourth when Honesdale battered enemy pitchers for four runs.
Beau Freiermuth and Cade LaBracio each worked a walk. Then, with two outs, Andy Carroll broke the scoring ice with an RBI?single. Will Howell was hit by a pitch to load the bases, setting the stage for David Curreri’s first big blow of the ballgame.
Honesdale’s hard-hitting shortstop smoked a double up the alley in right center field, plating both LaBracio and Carroll. DeGori then assisted his own cause by recording an RBI?base knock that chased Howell home with HLBA’s fourth run.
Llanarch Hills nicked DeGori for a run in the bottom of the frame, but Honesdale got it back in the top of the third.
Max Alessi walked and advanced to second when LaBracio reached on an infield error.
Jack Dennis then came through in the clutch, ripping a 2-out RBI?single between short and third that pushed the HLBA advantage to 5-1.
Llanarch Hills tallied another run in the fifth, but once again Honesdale got it back with a tally in the top of the sixth.
Howell ignited this rally by blasting a lead-off double down the leftfield line. Max Land was called upon to pinch run and promptly took third on a wild pitch. Moments later, Land scurried home courtesy of Curreri’s RBI?single.
With the score 6-2, all that stood between Honesdale and its first ever Cal Ripken state championship was three outs.
DeGori bore down and recorded those, sending the local coaches, players and fans into a frenzy.
“This is our third time at states and we’ve gotten a little bit better every year,”?said Coach Curreri. “After the first game, I knew we had a legitimate shot at winning it all. The competition here was obviously very good, but I was optimistic...”
Plan of Attack
Joe Curreri has always preached the value of sound fundamental baseball to his players.
The HLBA?skipper built this 11-year-old all star team around Gold Glove defense, consistent pitching and a bit of timely hitting.
“That’s really the recipe for winning at any level,”?he said. “I?believe that and the kids really bought into it.”
At this year’s state tournament, Honesdale committed very few errors in the field. Pitchers issued less than four walks per game and batters embraced the “station-to-station” offensive philosophy.
“They’re all great kids and I?loved working with them,”?said Coach Curreri. “I?don’t think any of us will ever forget this.”
Members of the 2012 Cal Ripken state championship team: Anthony Dell’Aquila, Max Land, Will Howell, Ethan Dunn. Second row: Nate Frigoletto, Cade LaBracio, Anthony Degori, David Curreri, Jack Dennis, Max Alessi, Andy Carroll, Beau Friermuth.
Coaches are: Joe Curreri, Mike Frigoletto and Rick LaBracio.
Score by Innings...
HON (5-1) 0 4 1 0 0 1 - 6
LLH (4-2) 0 1 0 0 1 0 - 2