NEW HARTFORD – The District 10 Little League All-Star Tournament will come down to a winner-take-all game between Whitesboro School District rivals/friends.
Whitestown forced the deciding game with an impressive 10-3 victory over Marcy-Deerfield Thursday evening at New Hartford Little League Field. The teams return to the site Friday to decide the title and who will get to advance into the sectional play-in game against Section 37.
Kyle Meier led the way for Whitestown, scattering four hits while striking out five for a 79-pitch complete-game victory. Brayden Czternastek had two hits and scored a run while Carmen Centro and Austin Stoquert each had a hit and scored twice for Whitestown.
“I pitched pretty well, but our defense made plays,” said the 12-year-old Meier, who was on last season’s district title team. “They made me look good. It wouldn’t have gone the same way without them.”
The stellar defense started in the very first inning for Whitestown. After opening the game with a strikeout, Meier’s defense came through with back-to-back plays as Stoquert ranged into the hole to backhand’s Matt DeStefanis’ hard grounder and threw him out. M-D’s Andy Pawloski, who had terrible fortune all game, followed by lining a bullet that Whitestown third basemen Tony Dorozynski snagged with a leaping backhand to end the inning.
Pawloski also lined out to end the third and fifth innings as Whitestown’s Memphis Ferguson (LF) and Czternastek (CF) charged in for sliding catches to save runs.
Whitestown got on the board in the bottom of the second as Centro and Dorozynski led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch, Whitestown had runners on second and third with one out before infield singles by Jack LaFayette and Czternastek scored runs to make it 2-0 after two innings.
M-D cut the lead in half in the top of the third as Palumbo had a one-out single and came around to score on an RBI-single that drilled Meier in the right leg. Meier, who stayed down for a bit, toughed it out and retired the next four batters.
Whitestown quickly added to its advantage, plating four runs on no hits in the third and adding two more in the fourth and fifth to put the game out of reach.
Whitestown has rallied after dropping its first game of the tournament to New Hartford. Since that defeat, Whitestown has shown its pitching depth and mental toughness in winning six straight games, including avenging that loss by eliminating New Hartford Wednesday in the losers’ bracket final.
Head coach Frank Centro credits the kids for keeping the faith.
“We were nervous in the beginning,” Frank Centro said about the start of the tournament. “But this team has a never-say-die attitude and are a close-knit group. The goal every day is to keep getting better.”
DeStefanis, Jake Scalise, Gavin Palumbo and T.J. Price had hits for Marcy-Deerfield, which is looking for its first District 10 championship since 1996. The beauty of taking the winners’ bracket is you can have that off game and rebound.
“We ran into a buzz-saw today with Kyle Meier,” Marcy-Deerfield head coach Gary DeStefanis said. “He threw strikes all day and they hit the ball well too. All the credit goes to them. We had a couple of errors and too many walks. Hopefully we don’t run into another buzz-saw tomorrow and we’ll get it done.”
Meier’s performance also allowed Whitestown to save other pitchers for Friday’s game. Playing that many games in a short time could tax a pitching staff. Whitestown’s coaches have managed their staff well while navigating through the tournament.
“We have plenty left,” Centro said. “We have two solid kids and we have got a lot of guys to back it up. It shouldn’t be an excuse for us.”
Whitestown is going for back-to-back ‘A’ titles, while seeking its 15th ‘A’ banner.
Considering the road they’ve traveled this title would be as impressive as any. Making it all the way to the final isn’t surprising to Meier.
“I knew after we lost we would fight back because we are a good team,” Meier said. “The biggest thing about our team is we have different kids that step up every day.”
Whitestown 10, Marcy-Deerfield 3
M-D 001 011–3 4 4
WT 024 22x–10 9 1
Recent District 10 Champions
2016: New Hartford
2013: New Hartford