After braving one of the coldest winters in recent memory, the NYESL finally made its return this past Sunday and mother nature welcomed us with beautiful weather. Opening ceremonies saw the presentation of trophies for the leagues top 3 teams in 2014, the coronation of the league MVP, and thanking those who have dedicated their time to the development and growth of the NYESL. The league also took a moment to mourn the passing of Nick and Jeremy Carabello’s mother who passed away last week. In tough times family pulls together, and the NYESL let our brothers know that we are here for them in their time of need.
It is my honor to write that my teammate, my brother, and best friend Eric Santana of the Bronx Royals, was awarded his first league MVP trophy for his outstanding performance during the 2014 season. Anyone who knows Eric knows that stickball means the world to him. He is one of the league fiercest competitors and has prided himself in becoming one of the leagues elite players.
The Emperors collected their 2014 first place trophy and added to their already impressive championship resume. Leland received the second place trophy, and proclaimed they were looking to break through and grab the top spot this year. The Royals received the third place trophy, with their eye on the grand prize for 2015.
Game of the Week- Royals 5 vs. Brew Crew 4
There was little doubt in this writers mind which game would be voted as GOTW. When Eddie, Frankie, and Adam decided to leave the Royals after last season to form their own team, a rivalry was born. These two teams have been trash talking since February and each wanted to go out and prove they were better off without the other. Frankie of Brew Crew even went as far to predict a victory by the score of 6-2, and did his best to make good on his prediction. The Brew jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with RBI’s from Frankie and Raul in the top of the first. The Royals defense stumbled out of the gate and seemed to be letting the moment get the best of them as they threw the ball away repeatedly. Eric cut the lead in half in the bottom half of the first with an RBI single. In the bottom of the third the Royals offense got in a groove. David led of the inning with a HR, then Ruben and Jose put the Royals on top with RBI’s of their own. But the Brew Crew was not going to go quietly. In the top of the 5th, Jason and Russell of the Brew Crew came through with clutch 2-out RBI’s to tie the game at 4. The Royals answered right back in the bottom half of the fifth and took back the lead on Christians RBI single. Frankie led off the 7th inning with a single to give the Brew Crew life. After two quick outs, Jason came to the plate as the Brew Crews last hope. He put a charge into one and it looked like trouble right off the bat as it sailed towards the last tree on field 2. After hitting the top of the tree, the ball hit a few more branches on the way down, giving Darnell enough time to make the one-handed diving catch to end the game. So much for Frankie’s prediction.
Leland 11 vs Ravens 3- The Ravens welcomed back Albert Jr to the lineup and picked up Nick and Jeremy Carabello to their squad and were looking to put a dissapointing 2014 behind them. But the Ravens ran into a Leland squad that is on a mission to claim their first NYESL title. The Ravens took the 1-0 lead on Nelsons second inning Sac fly. Leland answered right back in the bottom of the 2nd on RBIs from Ferdi and Doug. The Ravens were not to be outdone. The retook the lead in third on Nick and Eds RBI’s to make it 3-2. But Lelands offense proved to be to much for the Ravens as they tied the game in the 3rd, scored 4 more in the 4th, and 2 runs in the 5th and 6th innings. Edwin, Lou, Ferdi, and Doug each finished with 2 RBI’s. Wayne and Doug each had 3 hits to lead the way for Leland. Al Jr. and Jeremy led the Ravens with 2 hits each.
Emperors 2 vs Ravens 0- The 2014 champs have always prided themselves on having one of the best defenses in all of Stickball, and they started off the new season living up to their reputation. The Emperors took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on Vido’s RBI single, and extended the lead to 2-0 on Ant Lives RBI single in the bottom of the 3rd. That would be all the Emperors needed as they held the Raven offense to just 4 hits for the game. Vido led the Emperors with 3 hits, while Caban and Ricky each added 2 hits of their own.
D’Backs 3 vs Brew Crew 1- The Brew Crew were looking to bounce back from their loss earlier in the day against the D’Backs. But the D’Backs weren’t looking to be the Brew Crews first victim and had heard the whispers that the Brew Crew had been looking past them and had predicted a 2 and 0 start to their season. The D’Backs scored 3 runs in the first to put the Brew Crew in a 3-0 hole thanks to Joeys RBI double, and Ty’s 2-run single. After their emotional first game against the Royals, the Brew Crew came out flat and their offense faltered. Raul cut the into the D’Backs lead with an RBI single in the 6th, but that would be it for the Brew Crew as the D’Backs held them in check. Mark Candelaria led the way for the D’Backs with 3 hits, followed by Lionels 2. Raul led the Brew Crew with 2 hits of his own.
Gold 10 vs Leland 0- The Gold are always a force to be reckoned with as they have proved time and time again. Lelands offense was riding high after an 11 run performance in their first game, but this would be a tale of two teams on opening day for them. This game would be all Gold. Dusty started things in the first with an RBI double. The flood gates opened in the third as the Gold erupted for 9 runs. The Gold had 8 consecutive hits to start the inning. Dusty, Carlos, Warfield, Pete, and Steve each had RBI’s in the inning. Dusty and Pito each had 3 hits, and 7 members of the Gold had multi-hit games. Leland was unable to score any runs in the 4th to try and extend the game, and the game ended in a surprising 10-0 shutout.
Saints 1 vs Royals 1- The Saints made some key pick-ups this offseason and were looking to prove that 2014 was just a blip in the radar. What a better way to show they are back than beat their long time rivals in the Royals. But the revamped Royal outfield was looking to live up to the hype. Both defenses held tight as neither team was able to put any hits together. The Saints finally broke the scoreless tie in the 5th on an RBI single from Josh. The Royals answered the bell in the bottom half of the 5th with an RBI single from Rade. But that would be it as neither team could put together any more rallies. David and Ruben led the Royals with 2 hits a piece. Josh was the only Saint with a multi-hit game.
Emperors 2 vs Gold 2– Both teams were victorious in their first game and each were looking to stay perfect. The Gold and Emperors are the most storied teams in all of stickball and are the NYESL’s version of the Yankees and Red Sox. The Gold grabbed the 1-0 lead in the 4th on Tim Hunters RBI single. Welcome back Tim! In the 5th, Stevie extended to Gold lead with an RBI single for the 2-0 lead. The Emperor offense struggled to put hits together throughout the game, but saved the best for 7th inning. Mike started the Emperor 7th with a leadoff single. Then the leagues most terrifying hitter stepped up to the plate with his team down by 2 and delivered when his team needed him most. BANGO struck again and tied the game with his 2-run HR. Steve and Tim led the Gold with 2 hits each, while Mike and Caban led the Emperors with 3 hits each.
Saints 8 vs D’Backs 6– Saints vs D’Backs has turned into one of the leagues most exciting rivalries. The last couple of years, the D’Back have spoiled the Saints season with playoff defeats, and have generally been a thorn in the Saints side. This game looked to be no different as the D’Backs broke the game open in the 4th inning with a 6 run outburst. Mark and Lionel each had 3-run HR’s in the inning. But the Saints showed some life and answered with 2 runs in the 5th. In the 6th inning the Saints showed the D’Backs things would be different this year. Will started the party with a 2-run double, followed by a 2-run triple from Lenny, and capped off by back to back HRs from Mick and Pete. The Saints were up 8-6 the time the inning ended, and crushed the D’Back spirit in the process. Pete, Mick, Josh, and Will each had multi-hit games for the Saints. Martin led the D’Backs with 3 hits and Naz added 2 hits.