BRISTOL, Conn. — When manager Paul Brower and the rest of the coaches gathered their 10-to-12-year-old Plainview Little League team in the outfield after their elimination from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, they wanted to make sure the players were aware of their accomplishment.
“They brought pride of Little League baseball back to Long Island,” Brower said. “They did something historic in our little town of Plainview . . . and I couldn’t be prouder of these kids. I’m blessed to be one of the coaches . . . and to be along for the ride was magical.”
Plainview become the first Long Island Little League team to win the 10-to-12-year-old New York State championship in 12 years. Although Plainview lost, 7-4, to Milton (Delaware) Tuesday in the double-elimination tournament, Brower believes after the tears dry up, the players will remember all they achieved.
“I think right now it’s hard to expect them to understand what they’ve done,” Brower said. “But I think after a little bit of time has passed, they’ll come to realize what they have accomplished and they should hold their heads high and be proud of themselves.”
And just like throughout the tournament, highlighted by four straight wins in the state championships, the entire team contributed in the final game.
After Milton went up 3-0, Plainview responded with a four-run third inning. Tyler Ciulla, Josh Indek, Tyler Stern and Jake Goldfarb scored runs, with Goldfarb, Ryan Farrell and AJ Brower delivering RBIs.
Steven Kurre had two hits and Justin Antonucci and Hunter Scott added singles. Tyler Dady, starting in leftfield, and Matthew Mullen, playing first base, continued to show their value.
“They showed a lot of grit, they really did,” Brower said. “They put up a big fight.”
The Little Leaguers’ run galvanized the Plainview community. The players were honored at a Yankees game, got a team sendoff at a local bagel store before the tournament and Plainview-Old Bethpage varsity baseball coach John Givargidze sent his support on social media before, during, and after the games.
The players donned shirts reading “New York” on ESPN, just like the Maine-Endwell team that won last season’s Little League World Series.
“Watching Maine-Endwell win the Little League World Series last year and then becoming team New York, it’s just unbelievable,” Brower said. “And they’ll be able to hang their hats on that for the rest of their lives.”