HCC ball - 1

By Bob Balgemann


The No. 1 seemed to be the primary denominator during the tournament that wrapped up a summer of baseball at Harlem Community Center.

The four teams playing for championships in the Midget and Pee-Wee divisions each had one loss. And the team finishing second in the Junior division title only recorded one win during the season.

On top of that the team that finished 3-12 in the Coach Pitch division rose to take second place.

Team Nery had plenty to cheer about after finishing second in the Junior division. But the late-season success didn’t surprise head coach Nery Samayoa.

“I told the team this was the time to get it right,” he said of the start of the tournament. “We knew we could play with them. We had given up a lot of experience. We had some first-time players, mainly eighth graders and freshmen (in high school).”

And so the team was “getting the mistakes out of the system. We went back to basics and so we were ready for them.”

Nery started the tournament with an upset, a 4-2 win over Peyton, which had finished second during the regular season with a 6-6 record. Nery’s only win had come on June 21, when they defeated Peyton, 20-10.

Regular season champion Myers, which finished unbeaten, met Nery in the second game and won a close one, 16-10. “They stood tall in that game,” coach Nery said of his players. “It would have been nice to have a little more time. But we’re looking forward to next year.”

Myers then clinched the championship by defeating Peyton, 12-3.

Faces top-level teams

Team Lower faced the challenge of meeting second-seeded Cross (12-3) in the opening round of the Coach Pitch tournament. They pulled off their first surprise by winning, 18-16.

In the semi-finals they took on Larys, No. 3 seed, which won nine games and finished third in the regular season. Another surprise, this one a 14-12 win for Mike Lower’s team and a berth in the championship game.

The string ran out in the finals with the top seed, regular season champion Shields, taking the title, 23-8.

“Shields was a pretty good team, an older team,” coach Lower said. “This was our first year; they were pretty young. They were excited about taking second. That surprised me, too. But the kids really came on (in the tournament). They hit the ball hard and our defense played well, too. It all came together.”

He added that while the strong finish was fun, “every kid improved (during the season) and that’s important.”

And so another HCC baseball team is looking forward to the 2017 summer and another season. “We will try to stick together next year. We only lose three players.”

Also returning will be the team sponsor, Hurd Management. The owner’s grandson plays for the Lower team.

In other action during the Coach Pitch tournament teams Cross and Larys each finished with a 2-1 record.

Two other champions

The teams that finished at the top of their divisional standings during the regular season also played for the championships in the Midget and Pee-Wee competitions.

But in those title games the No. 2 seed won each time.

In the Midget division Team Anderson cruised into the finals by winning two games handily: 14-4 and 13-2. Team Yeoman didn’t have any difficulty, either, winning 15-2 and 18-1.

Yeoman took the championship game, 7-4.

During the regular season Yeoman topped Anderson, 11-5, on June 8, with Anderson returning the favor, 9-4, on July 5. So Yeoman won the rubber match of what proved to be a three-game series to take the tournament championship.

Also in the Midget tournament teams Larsen and Solana posted 2-1 records.

In the Pee-Wee division Team James reached the finals with 15-2 and 13-3 wins. Team McWilliams overcame two opponents by scores of 16-4 and 15-5.

James took the title game, 8-2.

Earlier in the season McWilliams edged James, 4-2, on June 15; James roared back to win, 11-1, on July 27, in the last regular season game of the year, So this tournament title game also served to be the decider in a three-contest set.

Also in this division, teams Yalden and Tanner each won two of three games.



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