Grand Island Post took it as far as it could Saturday before running out of gas and fresh pitching arms against defending champion Rockland County Pirates in the championship round of the New York State American Legion Baseball Championship at Murnane Field in Utica. Grand Island finished the season with a 24-6 record.
Needing to win both games to win the championship, Grand Island extended its playoff life with a 5-2 victory over Rockland in the first game Saturday. It was the only loss of the tournament for the Pirates.
Lou Destino started and went six innings for GI, allowing just two hits. Bryce Jellinick took over and pitched three hitless innings. A tired Jellinick had to start the second game, however, and was not nearly as effective. Manny Montez and Matt Grace had two hits and two RBIs for Grand Island, which never trailed in the opener.
Rockland rebounded with an 18-2 rout in Saturday’s final game to claim its third straight state title. The Pirates were helped by seven Grand Island errors, including three in their eight-run fifth inning. Rockland County owned a 10-0 lead after four innings and pitcher Ivan Rodriguez had no problem coasting until he gave up two runs in the seventh inning. Ryan Weiss had four hits of the winners’ 13 hits.