The North Bellmore-North Merrick Rebels ended their journey to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., after being eliminated Friday night from the state tournament.
In their fourth game of the 12-year-old Little League state tournament, the Rebels were defeated by Albany County’s Colonie Little League, 3-1. They finish the tournament with a record of 2-2.
“We have to tip our caps to their pitcher David Gray with the complete game and holding us to four hits,” said Mike Conry, assistant coach of the Rebels.
As Long Island’s only team in the state tournament, the Rebels won their first game, 7-5, against Colonie on Tuesday; lost their game Wednesday, 9-6, to Rockland County’s Stony Point Little League; then won on Thursday against Chautauqua County’s Fredonia Little League, 19-3.
The state tournament is double elimination; so losing for the second time has eliminated the Rebels. They are the third team out of six to be eliminated from the tourney.
There will be one more game Saturday at North Shore Little League’s complex in Rocky Point to decide the matchup for the 12-year-old state championship game, which is scheduled for Sunday at noon.
The winner of the state championship will head to Bristol, Conn. to compete in the regional tournament for the chance to be the Mid-Atlantic Representative at this year’s Little League World Series.
“It’s a shame. We’re all sorry to see them lose of course,” said Gina Bitsimis, assistant Section 6 coordinator. “They were the best team in all of Section 6 and that’s got to be over 50 Little Leagues on Long Island.”
Colonie struck first Friday against the Rebels, scoring three runs in the third that proved to be enough for the win. Ryan McGee singled in a run and later scored on a wild pitch. Adam Zebrowski also scored on a wild pitch.
“Brian Porricelli came on in relief in the third and kept them hitless,” said Conry. “But we could not get the offense going to support him.”
The Rebels scored their only run of the game in the fourth, when Matthew Nilsen singled in Porricelli.
“It’s tough to swallow and I know we never got to play our best game, but winning Long Island is no small feat,” said Conry. “When these kids get over this they’ll realize how great an accomplishment that it was and they’ll have stories to tell for the rest of their lives.”