Matt Conry stepped up to the plate in the 4th inning with his team leading 9-0. He had been hitless in his first two at bats, and with two quick strikes on him, it looked like he might finish the day 0-3.
With a pitch right over the plate, Conry smacked the ball more than 200 feet over the center field wall of Lions Field and rounded the bases, while his teammates and coaches waited to celebrate with him at home plate.
Conry’s home run helped the North Bellmore-North Merrick Rebels clinch the game against the Port Washington Legends with a 10-0 win, capping off a three-run 4th inning that ended the game.
“My first two at bats were disappointing, I didn’t get any hits,” said Conry, third baseman. “With two strikes I was just trying to protect the plate, but I saw the pitch and hit it hard.”
Long Islanders started on their road to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., with three sectional games Friday night being played in Port Washington, Westbury and Oakdale.
Six of LI’s district championship teams compete in Section 6, which means they will play each other once before the two teams with the best records meet in the finals next Friday. Long Island’s two other district champs, Lynbrook and New Hyde Park, compete in Section 5 with teams from New York City; they begin their sectional play next week.
According to Little League rules, any team leading by 10 runs after four innings wins by default. Keeping games quick is key, as five games in seven days makes for a marathon of competitive baseball.
Games are scheduled for Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Such a heavy schedule will put a strain on every team’s pitching staff, as Little League rules have been created to ensure that athletes don’t overwork their arms without enough rest. Innings limits are strictly enforced so that one dominant pitcher can’t be glued to the mound every inning of every game.
“These games get more and more exciting every year,” said Bryan Conry, older brother of Matt Conry who hit the walk-off winner. “These guys really give it their all and all the hard work is really starting to show.”
Also playing Friday night were Plainview who fell to Commack South 13-3 at Central Nassau Field in Westbury in five innings; Southampton who fell to Sayville 15-3 in five innings at Sunrise Field in Oakdale.
Three games are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday.
Port Washington plays Commack South at Lions Field in Port Washington.
North Bellmore-North Merrick plays Southampton at North Shore Complex in Rocky Point.
Sayville plays Plainview at Islip Complex in East Islip.
Check newsday.com/linow for updates on Long Island’s road to Williamsport.