We Are the ChampionsPosted: June 23, 2008
In a thrilling and shocking upset, the boys’ little league team won the World Series on Saturday night. Perhaps “World” Series is a misnomer – it’s not like they played the 7 and 8-year-olds from Cuba. But if your world revolves around coach-pitch baseball in Briarcliff Manor, as theirs does, then they are indeed champions of the world. I can’t wait to see their massive jewel-encrusted championship rings. Oh, wait only bishops get to wear those – what I like to refer to as “Episcopal Bling.”
But let me tell you, having the boys play in games that actually meant something was an emotional roller coaster. Due to a rainout the boys had to finish their second playoff game on Saturday morning. So it started with them down 4-2 in the second inning. Our thought was always that it was great they won one playoff game. We would have all been content. Especially since Squires was playing Orfino’s, the number two team in the league. All season long it was a foregone conclusion that they’d be playing Amalfi for the league championship. These two teams, thanks to the politics of the Briarcliff Little League, were stacked. The kids seemed older, taller, and able to crush the ball.
So it was no surprise when Squires entered the bottom of the last inning against Orfino’s down by three runs. It had been a great season and Ben and Zack both learned a lot and improved greatly. But then the rally started. One run, two runs, then the score was tied. With two outs and the bases loaded I turned to Bryna and asked if she had a stiff drink on her. She handed me Ben’s water bottle. The final batter hit a walk-off single and Squires was suddenly going to the World Series!
So the boys had to play another game later that day. To make it special, the World Series was held at the Briarcliff Middle School field. So for the first time in their lives they played at a field with dugouts, a scoreboard, and fences. They even announced each player by name and played the National Anthem. Perhaps a bit much for these poor kids who were definitely feeling the pressure – the first inning was ugly before they calmed down and realized it was still just a baseball game.
But it was also intimidating to play a team that not only had beaten them 11-5 earlier in the year, but had won the World Series for the past five years. Amalfi is the “Evil Empire” of the Briarcliff Little League. Again, we talked about what a thrill and accomplishment it was just to get to the World Series. But then a funny thing happened – they realized they could play with this team. They even took the lead until it rapidly evaporated in the fifth inning. They went into the bottom of the sixth down by two runs. But the Squires magic came shining through again and they ended up winning the championship game 12-11. Bedlam ensued, pizza and ice pops were handed out, and joy reigned in Mudville. Amazing.
Next stop: Ben’s playing in the All Star Game on Saturday. I just hope they don’t think they’ll win the World Series every year.