From the borough of Richmond, Mid-Island LL plays its opener Tuesday against Idaho’s Northwest champion in South Williamsport, Pa
By Arnie Leshin
Welcome to Staten Island, the “fifth borough”. It doesn’t get anywhere near the attention of the other four. While the other boroughs can boast of major league baseball, hoops and hockey, none will get the attention that Staten Island can focus on now.
In 1964, the Mid-Island Little League represented the borough of Richmond and carried off the championship of the then 55th annual International LL World Series played in Williamsport, Pa.
Fifty four years later, it is back, back in business with a shot at another title after shutting down Maryland, 4-0, Sunday afternoon behind a perfect game thrown by 12-year-old right hander Gregory Bruno at Bristol, Conn. The wait didn’t bother the New Yorkers after Saturday’s contest was postponed.
Coming off a one-hit 7-0 triumph over Pennsylvania in the Mid-Atlantic Regional, he reigned supreme again with a dozen strikeouts, one more then against Pennsylvania, on only 64 pitches, and into the International Baseball World Series.
It’s been a long time, but for this team, it might have been worth the wait. These 11-13 boys have yet to lose, going 4-0 in the district, the sectional, and the Regional. They have a quality pitching staff, but Bruno is the ace.
Armed with a 75-mile-hour fastball that equates to a 96 mph in the majors.
The reason for this is because the major league mound is 60 feet, six inches away from the plate. The LL hill is 46 feet away.
“He was popping the glove in warm ups and he had his pitches working,” said battery mate Chris Cancel in referents to Bruno in the bullpen, Plus, when he came into the dugout, he told the team that he felt great and that got me thinking about going to Williamsport.”
Bruno said he’s about 6-foot-1, but he looks bigger to the batter, making his fastball seem so much faster than 75. He adds a nasty curveball and sometimes throws the changeup. Now the Empire State youngsters are looking to win just as the upstate New York team did in 2016.
Bruno also came away with a pair of hits for two runs, all that he needed. From 2-0 in the second inning, New York scored twice more in the fourth, and Bruno took the mound for his seventh straight strikeout and fourth frame that he got the side in order.
This was not an easy Region. It never is. There’s always challenges from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, but New York had a little too much this time.
It opens Tuesday against the Northwest USA champion from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Can you guess who New York’s starting pitcher will be?