On the brink of elimination, the North Bellmore-North Merrick Rebels put up a monster win Thursday in their third game of the 12-year-old Little League state tournament, keeping alive their chances at a trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
The bats of the Rebels couldn’t be contained as they won 19-3 in four innings against Chautauqua County’s Fredonia Little League, bringing their tournament record to 2-1. Leading the team offensively, Brian Porricelli hit two home runs and a single driving in seven RBIs.
“I felt great, I really liked my day today,” said Porricelli. “I felt my hitting really helped my team.”
The Rebels will play Colonie Little League at 5 p.m. Friday at North Shore Little League’s complex in Rocky Point.
The state tournament is double elimination, so a team is out after losing twice.
Games will continue until four of the six teams have lost twice, eliminating them from the tournament. The Rebels will have to win their next two games to earn a spot in the finals scheduled for Sunday at noon.
The winner of the state championship then heads 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.
“I guess they got it going on today,” said Mike Conry, assistant coach of the Rebels. “It was a steady diet, there were a lot of contributors.”
Rebels’ coaches strategically used their pitchers during Thursday’s game so they didn’t violate Little League rules limiting how many pitches can be thrown by a player. If a pitcher throws 66 or more pitches, rules require four days rest before that pitcher can throw in a game again.
So by using a different pitcher each inning: Michael Proios, Jack Delaney, Eric Solomon and Porricelli, the Rebels pitching staff remains flexible as no pitcher threw enough to need multiple days rest.
“I’m looking forward to pitching in the big games,” said Porricelli. “It’s been fun to pitch for this team and it’s always fun to get a win.”