They are truly Legends once more. For the second time in the past six years, three separate age groups in the Port Washington Youth Activities’ Legends Little League program captured their respective District 28 championship.
The PYA Legends 10U Blue team swept the District 28 tournament, going 3-0. On Saturday, June 30, they cemented the championship with a 10-0 victory over Manhasset. Game One was won in similar fashion (11-0), also against Manhasset, with the Legends firing on all cylinders. Their relentless offense amassed 11 total runs, backed by outstanding pitching and stellar defense.
The highlight of the tournament was Game Two against East Williston. East Williston got off to an early 9-0 lead. But there was no quit in these Legends. The defense held, and the Legends chipped away, adding one run at a time, bringing the fans to their feet, ultimately scoring 12 unanswered runs to secure a 12-9 victory.
“This was one of the most exciting games that I have been a part of,” said Bruce Schindler, the manager of the 10U Legends. “I’m so proud of these boys; everyone contributed in one way, shape or form. They believed in themselves and never gave up. They played with their heads and their hearts.”
The 10U Blue players are Aiden King, Cal Lundberg, Danny Muller, Jack Mastronardi, Jacob Aponte, Jake Vulpis, Jimmy Gannon, John DeLuca, Josh Itzikowitz, Leo Schindler, Luke Magali, Mark Itzikowitz, Max Kabot, Michael Iuorio, Vince Miluso and Zach Nash.
One age group up, the 11U team, defeated East Williston 4-3 in pool play, and then did so again by a score of 7-4, also on June 30 (both times at Sagamore Field in East Williston) to clinch the District 28 championship. This avenged a bitter loss to the same team at the 10U level last summer, and while Port was initially down in both games, the boys stayed calm and battled back behind solid pitching from Jack Russo, Brayden Corber, and Aoi Ishikawa. They were supported by key contributions from Alden Ruskin, Mikee Solomon, Max Spiryda, Mizuki Ishikawa, Ryan Surdich, Leo Herman, Nico Scott, Henry Gerstein and Matthew Rubin.
This team enjoyed a very successful 10U season as well, winning a Memorial Day tournament, and the Hot Stove league and playoff championships. The 11U team captured an additional Memorial Day tournament in East Meadow and carried the momentum through these District 28 games, which was the one that was circled on the calendar after last year’s defeat.
The PYA Legends 12U Blue travel baseball team faced their arch rival, the East Williston Wildcats, in a highly anticipated best-of-3 series that would not disappoint. In Game One, facing a 5-1 deficit late in the game, the Legends rallied for two runs in the fifth inning to make it a two-run game. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the boys dug deep and came up with some key hits putting the winning run at second base. A clutch single to left field scored the winning run and gave the Legends a crucial Game One victory.
Game Two proved to be just as exciting as the Legends tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth inning and it remained that way until the bottom of the eighth inning. East Williston was the home team and this time returned the favor to the Legends when they got a three-run walk-off home run to win Game Two. This set the stage for a one-game showdown for the District title.
In Game Three, as had been the pattern, East Williston got out to an early lead but this time the boys from Port responded and in a big way. The Legends led the way with strong pitching and big bats and took a commanding 6-2 lead going into the last inning. After fending off a late push from their foes, the Legends closed out the game and could finally call themselves district champions. After a long-awaited, well-deserved celebration and photos with their district banner, the boys got back to work as the Legends 12U Blue Players Dru Czarkowski, Dylan Epstein, Ryan Epstein, Ryan Farrell, Hunter Galdieri, Hayden Lundberg, Lucas Milgrim, Alex Papagalis, Jack Robinson, Jake Siciliano, Hunter Trenaman, Parker Workman began their preparation for the subsequent Long Island Sectional tournament, joining the PYA 10U and 11U Legends teams competing against the champions from the other various Long Island districts.
The teams all have sent a special thanks to PYA Baseball Commissioner Jimmy Cosolito and PYA Executive Director Brandon Kurz for all their support and mentorship throughout the season.