Once upon a time ...

Burger King Edges the North End Reds 4-2 to Claim City Championship
By Jeffrey Bannon, Middletown Press Correspondent

More than 200 people gathered to watch the 1998 Middletown Little League City Championship at Snow School between the North End Reds of the Moose League and Burger King of the O'Rourke-Kidney League, and every one of them must have left the park impressed with the caliber of play by the two youth teams.

Greg Bereski threw a two-hitter, and the Burger King defense was flawless as the boys from O'Rourke-Kidney held on to a 4-2 victory to keep the Mayor's trophy in the league. Burger King leadoff hitter Isaac Ebert started the game in dramatic fashion as he slapped a ball to the right field fence for a stand-up triple and two pitches later J.C. Kraemer brought him in with an RBI single. North End pitcher Nick Mandeville was unfazed by the early Burger King bats and the impressive hurler retired the side with no further damage.

Bereski was unhittable in the early innings for Burger King as he changed speeds with perfect precision and retired the Reds with no runs through the first three innings.

Mandeville appeared settled over the second and third, but walked Ebert to start the fourth. J.C. Kraemer, for the second time in as many at bats brought his teammate home with an RBI single to right field. Reds first baseman Steven Elliot made a nifty catch at first to record the first out of the inning, then Mandeville walked the opposing first baseman Jim Drobnis to leave runners at the corners with one out. Drobnis successfully stole second on the first pitch and Mike McLaughlin smacked a whistling line drive up the middle to score the third and fourth runs for Burger King.

The Reds fans were anxious for a rally, and the team didn't dissapoint as they mustered a two run fifth innning to close the gap. Bereski led off the inning with his third walk of the night, and The Reds' Elliot ended up on first with one out after a fielder's choice. Nick Marchese drew a walk to leave runners at first and second with two outs for center fielder Derek Anderson. Anderson muscled an inside fastball over third base to score Elliot and Marchese hustled his way over to third to keep the pressure on Bereski. The next pitch sailed to the backstop and Marchese tallied the second run for the Reds as Anderson moved to third. With Reds' third baseman Kyle Brostek at the plate, Anderson took a big lead off third and attempted a delayed steal but was thrown out at the plate.

Burger King wanted an insurance run in the fifth and it looked like it would get it when Drobnis and McLaughlin led off the fifth with back to back singles leaving runners at the corners with nobody out. Allen DeJesus whistled a hard ground ball to the box and Mandeville showed great poise as he looked Drobnis back to third and threw out DeJesus at first. Drobnis started for home but a heads-up throw and catch by first baseman Elliot and catcher Jon Robert Bagley made for a major league like 1-3-2 double play.

The Reds put runners on in the late innings but spectacular plays by shortstop Kraemer and center fielder Chris Brown robbed Brostek and Mandeville of base hits and proved to halt the Reds juggernaut.

Reds coach Mike Mandeville was proud of his kids despite the loss, "we made it to the big game and played our hearts out." Estatic Burger King coach John Kraemer couldn't say enough about his kid's effort. "We have been through a lot over the past few years, but when the going got tough the tough got going".

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 R
North End Reds 0 0 0 0 2 0
Burger King 1 0 0 3 0 x

1998 City Champions & O-K League Playoff Champions - Burger King

North End Reds and Portland NAPA in 1998 Moose League finals
By Jeffrey Bannon, Middletown Press Correspondent

There are many choices of entertainment on any given summer evening. You can go to the movies, venture out to a minor league professional baseball game, or just lounge around and unwind after a long day. All these things have there downfalls though, and there is only one sure bet for pure enjoyment. LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL.

The Moose division of the Middletown Little League proved that fact by captivating the fans with two outstanding semifinal match-ups.

Portland NAPA survived a scare from The Exchange with a 7-6 win and will meet the red hot North End Reds who pulled away late to defeat Page & Warner, 13-4.

The twin bill was played on Baroni and Romangeli fields which nearly intersect each other and allows for the fan to enjoy the sights and sounds of both games at the same time.

The top-seeded North End squad bolted out to an early lead behind some good base running from Todd Carrier, Derek Anderson and Nick Mandeville. All three runners paraded around the bases capitalizing on a few wild pitches. Page & Warner settled down over the next few innings, and even garnered a run of their own thanks to a good at bat from Kyle Warzocha. The leftfielder drew a walk then stole second and third before reaching home on a passed ball. The teams played a chess match until the fifth inning when Page & Warner scored three runs. Joe Witkowski led off the inning with a double, and Mike Rascati and Jeff Perez each reached on walks. All three runners trotted across the plate before the inning was over and North End looked to be on their heels. Then came the barrage of bats from a host of Red players. Todd Carrier walked to start the rally, and Nick Mandeville singled to follow. Jon Robert Bagley then cleaned Carrier and Mandeville from the base path with a towering three-run homer. Mandeville had a great day with two hits, three runs scored, and four RBI, while Bagley had a double, a home run, and went the distance on the mound with 12 strikeouts. Kyle Brostek also had a big double to keep the 10-run fifth inning alive. Nick Toth and Witkowski hit well for Page, while Gianpaolo Pugliares hit well for the Reds.

Portland NAPA held on thanks to the fine pitching duo of Ramel Barnes and Greg Pellici. The two pitchers fought off the heat and humidity on their way to allowing just four hits over six innings. NAPA was quick out of the gate as they scored three first run innings, thanks to consecutive singles from Pellici and Mark Pandolfo. The Exchange showed their heart as they gathered their poise and took the lead with runs in the second and third innings. Jeff Eagleson, Brandon Souto and Josh St. George all had hits during the rallies. NAPA took advantage of their batting skills late in the game as Mike Weller reached first on a perfectly placed bunt between the pitcher's mound and third base. Weller then skated around the bases to tie the game. Pellici followed with a walk and later scored to give NAPA a lead which they would never relinquish. The solid hurler then retired the Exchange 1-2-3 in the last half of the sixth to catapult his team into the finals. Eagleson pitched well for the Exchange, scattering seven runs over six innings.

1998 Moose League Regular Season & Playoff Champions - North End Reds

North End Reds capture 1998 Moose League championship
By Robert Mayer, Middletown Press Sports Editor

Nick Mandeville threw a two-hitter, striking out 15 and walking four to lead the North End Reds to a 3-0 victory over Portland NAPA for the Middletown Moose Division Little League championship. Mandeville allowed just two hits, both off the bat of Mark Pandolfo, but walked three in the first inning to load the bases with no outs. He got out of the jam but striking out the next three hitters he faced. Ramel Barnes was equally as tough as the starting pitcher for Portland NAPA. He went four innings and allowed just five hits and no runs, striking out five. He was rekieved in the fifth by Pandolfo, who got the loss.Jason Carrier started the winning rally with a walk to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Sam Murray then lined a double to right field to move runners to second and third with no outs. Chris Scrivener grounded into a fielder's choice but knocked in what proved to be the winning run. Mandeville then lined an RBI single to push the lead to 2-0. Mandeville stole second and third and scored on a single by Jon Robert Bagley for the final margin.

1998 Moose League Final Standings
Team Win Loss GB
North End Reds 14 2 ----
Portland NAPA 11 4 2.5
Exchange Club 9 7 5
Page & Warner 7 9 7
NuCon Engineering 6 10 8
Elks 5 10 8.5
Frank & Gloria's Service 3 13 11

Westfield Fire & Burger King gain O'Rourke-Kidney League finals
By Keith Pryor, Middletown Press Correspondent

Adam Moskey pitched the entire six innings tossing 11 strikeouts and his brother, Nick, had four hits with four RBI as they led Westfield Fire Department to a convincing 14-6 victory over the Connecticut War Veterans (CWV) in a semifinal game of the O'Rourke-Kidney Little League championships at the Snow School. At the plate, Adam Moskey went 3-for-4 with three singles. Derek Johnson was 2-for-4 and Todd Huey had four hits with an RBI. Montrel Holly had a triple, an RBI, and run scored for CWV. For CWV, Kevin Grady went three innings striking out five batters before leaving with an elbow strain. Greg Venditto came into the game and hurled five more strikeouts. CWV took the lead in the top of the second inning, when an error by the Westfield first baseman allowed two runs to score. On the next at bat, a hard grounder that couldn't be handled by the second baseman scored another, making the score 3-1.

In the bottom of the third Westfield regained the lead as it rallied to put six runs on the board. Derek Johnson and Tad Huey got things going as they both connected on consecutive base hits. Johnson stole third and scored on a passed ball. Huey came around to score on a hard line drive to left by Ross Katten. Katten and the next batter, Ryan Cody, both eventually came around to score on passed balls. At the end of the three innings Westfield led, 7-4. CWV got two runs back in the next inning as Montrel Holly hit a long fly to the rightfield corner that dropped in for a triple and an RBI scoring Donnie Wilson. The next at bat, Andrew Esposito, hit a line drive over the head of the first baseman scoring Holly.

Westfield added four more runs in the fourth inning and three more in fifth to seal the deal. CWV failed to score for the remainder of the game.

In the other semifinal, Burger King downed Century 21 Realty, 8-5. BK's Jimmy Drobnis had six strikeouts and J.C. Kraemer came into the game in the sixth inning to close. Isaac Ebert had three hits and Greg Bereski two doubles for BK. Century 21's Jignesh Patel went the distance striking out six though he took the loss. Burger King will face Westfield Fire Dept. for the O'Rourke- Kidney League championship.

1998 O'Rourke-Kidney League Regular Season Champions - Westfield Fire Department

Burger King Wins O-K League Title
By Robert Mayer, Middletown Press Sports Editor

Last year Westfield Fire Department beat Burger King in the O'Rourke-Kidney League Little League Championship. This year, Burger King returned the favor, beating Westfield Fire Department 11-1, to move into the city championship game against The Moose League Champion North End Reds.

Burger King jumped all over Westfield starter Nick Moskey to score three runs in the first inning and five runs in the second inning.

An 8-0 lead would be more than enough run support for Burger King starter Greg Bereski. The righthander threw a two-hitter, striking out 10 and walking none.

J.C. Kraemer led the BK offense, going 4-for-4 while Bereskiadded three hits, catcher Isaac Ebert, Oliver Herrera and Mike McLaughlin chipped in with two hits apiece. Chris Brown, Jimmy Drobnis and Allen DeJesus also hit well for the winners.

While the BK offense was hot, the defense sizzled as well. Third baseman Herrera, shortstop Kraemer, second baseman McLaughlin and first baseman Brown all had great days in the field.

Nick Moskey gave up 15 hits to Burger King but still struck out 12 batters. Adam Moskey scored the only Westfield Fire run of the game. After he doubled, he was driven in by an RBI single by David Dudley. At that point, Burger King already had an 11-0 lead.

1998 O'Rourke-Kidney League Final Standings
Team Win Loss GB
Westfield Fire Dept * 14 2 ----
Burger King 14 2 ----
Century 21- Accel 7 8 6.5
Catholic War Veterans 6 9 7.5
Puorro Electric 5 10 8.5
Rotary Club 4 10 9
Kiwanis 2 12 11
* - won tiebreaker

1998 City Softball Champions - Sebby's Pizza

Sebby's Pizza wins Major Girls Softball Title

Sebby's Pizza topped Simply Elegant, 8-6, to capture the Major Girls City Championship. Regular season champions Simply Elegant advanced with a 27-14 win in the semifinal game over Comcast Cable, while Sebby's earned the other berth by beating A Discount Pest 11-10 in extra innings.

Sebby's took the early lead scoring four times in the top of the first off of Simply Elegant's starting pitcher Megan Hunter. Jen Morello opened by leading off with a walk. After Kristen Faraci popped out foul to the catcher, Maggie Rodenhizer, Ann Marie Guckin and Kyle Labrie followed with consectutive singles giving Sebby'a a 4-0 lead. Simple Elegant wasted no time getting one back as leadoff hitter Lashauna Jones reached first on an infield single, stole second and third, and scored on a wild pitch. After Zoe Holder was retired on strikes, Megan Vaugh-Albert walked and was able to advance to third base. Following another strikeout, Vaugh-Albert tried to steal home on the throw back to the pitcher but was tagged out.

Hunter settled down in the second. She retired Jenny Morello on a line out to second, but Kristen Faraci reached on an infield single and Rodenhizer walked. Glucken lined to the pitcher who fired quickly to shortstop Vaugh-Albert eho completed the inning ending double play.

Alyssa Wishart led off the bottom of the second by drilling a triple into the outfield gap but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a home run. Center fielder Michele Marino fired to shortstop Kyla Labrie who relayed home to Guckin for the out. Rodenhizer then retired two of the next three batters.

In the top of the third, Megan Hunter faced just four batters, striking out the side while giving up a single to Brittany Russo. In the home third, Simply Elegant had its best inning of the game scoring five times. Two batters reached on a walk and an error when Holder bunted a third strike foul. After a walk to Megan Vaugh-Albert, Megan Hunter delivered an RBI single. After another walk and a strike out, Ashley Hunter's fly ball to left field was misplayed and two more runners. At the end of the inning, Simply Elegant had scored five times for a 6-4 lead.

Sebby's wasted no time in tying the game. With one out, Jenny Morello singled and Kristen Faraci drove her in with an RBI double. Faraci scored to tie the game. Sebby took the lead with a run in the fifth. Kyla Labrie and Russo started the rally with singles. In the bottom of the fifth, Sebby's defense held. First baseman Kristen faraci made a beautiful over the head catch of a line drive and Russo made a strong throw from third to first for big outs.

The winners added an insurance run in the top of the sixth, Simply Elegant managed just four batters in the bottom of the sixth and last inning. Danielle Dietro led off hitting a low liner to third which Russo turned into the first out with an excellent shoestring catch. With two outs Vaughan-Albert bounced to shortshop Labrie who completed the game ending fielder's choice by stepping on second.

Sebby's pitcher Maggie Rodenhizer allowed just four hits and struck out seven. At the plate Sebby's was led by Kristen faraci (3-4, RBI double), Brittany Russo (2-3) and Kyla Labrie (2-4).

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 R
Sebby's Pizza 4 0 0 2 1 1
Simply Elegant 1 0 5 0 0 0

1998 Regular Season Softball Champions - Simply Elegant

1998 Softball Majors Final Standings
Team Win Loss GB
Simply Elegant 11 2 ----
Sebby's Pizzeria 9 4 2
Discount Pest Control 9 5 2.5
Comcast Cablevision 7 7 4.5
Calico Productions 3 11 8.5
Mallove's Jewelers 2 12 9

District Nine Tournament
The Moose All Stars opened with a 6-1 loss to the Coginchaug All Stars at George Atwell Field in Durham. Jon Robert Bagley took the loss.

They bounced back to nip the Portland All Stars 5-4, despite a first inning in which they made 6 errors. In the top of the first, Moose scored a run. Brett Eagleson opened with a single to left. One out later, pitcher Nick Mandeville singled to put runners at first and second. Jon Robert Bagley hit a slow roller to the pitcher, who opted to go to third base, but Eagleson beat the throw. Steve Elliot hit a bouncer to third for the force out, Eagleson scoring on the play. In the bottom of the first, Portland used one hit, five walks and six errors to score four runs. Moose won the game with a four run fourth inning. Jared Streeto homered to right center driving in Steve Elliot who had walked. Nick Toth drew a walk. Derek Anderson singled. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Brett Eagleson grounded out to third as Toth scored, tying the game at 4-4. Anderson scored on a wild pitch, giving Moose a 5-4 lead. Nick Mandeville then took control and stopped Portland the rest of the way. Mandeville recorded 11 strikeouts and gave up only 2 hits in his complete game victory.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Moose All Stars 1 0 0 4 0 0
Portland 4 0 0 0 0 0

The O'Rourke-Kidney League All Stars drew a first round bye in district action. In their first game, Valley (CDE) All Stars erupted for five runs in the bottom of the first inning. However, the O-K Stars responsed with a six run second and two run fourth to triumph 8-6.

Greg Bereski started for the O-K team, but several walks and a couple of big hits drove Bereski from the mound after one inning. Nick Moskey took over the pitching duties in the second and only allowed one run in five innings, a third inning home run to CDE's Austin Gray. Middletown took advantage of several walks and four hits for their six run second inning. The key hits were by J.C. Kraemer, Anthony Byrd and Adam Moskey. Adam Moskey also drove in Greg Bereski in the fourth, which proved to be the game winning run. Adam Moskey had three RBI on the day. In the bottom of the sixth, Valley loaded the bases with one out. Nick Moskey got the batter to bounce back to the mound and Middletown completed a 1-2-3 double play to end the game.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 R
O'Rourke-Kidney 0 6 0 2 0 0
Valley (C-D-E) 5 0 1 0 0 0

In O-K's next game at Chatham Field in East Hampton, J.C. Kraemer limited the high scoring Guilford All Stars to four hits as he pitched Middletown to a 6-0 victory. Kraemer walked two, hit a batter, and fanned six. He was helped by an outstanding defense that recorded three double plays. Middletown got on the board with two first inning runs. Nick Moskey singles and moved to second on a wild pitch. After one out, Greg Bereski walked and then pulled off a double steal. Moskey then scored on a wild pitch. Anthony Byrd hit a slow roller roller in front of the plate and the catcher hit Byrd with an errant throw to first. Bereski scored on the catcher's error. In the second inning, O-K added to its lead. Andy Beatman led off with a home run to center. After two outs, Nick Moskey singled and Isaac Ebert walked. Greg Bereski singled in two more runs and Middletown took a 5-0 lead. Middletown completed its scoring in the third when Anthony Byrd walked and Johnson scored on a error and wild pitch. Middletown was led by Nick Mosey who had two hits. Andy Beatman's HR and Greg Bereski's 2 RBI singled were also important in the win.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Guilford 0 0 0 0 0 0
O'Rourke-Kidney 2 3 1 0 0 0

The Moose League All Stars used five strong pitching innings from Jon Robert Bagley to defeat the Cromwell All Stars 12-8 at Comstock Field in East Hampton. Bagley opened the sixth inning but was forced to leave the game when he was hit in his pitching hand by a line drive and Brett Eagleson came in to shut the door on Cromwell. Bagley gave up six runs on four hits, walked seven and whiffed eight. Cromwell scored single runs in its first two at bats, but each time Middletown came through with a two run inning of its own. In the bottom of the first, Steve Elliot singled in Nick Mandeville and Bagley scored on a wild pitch. In the bottom of the second, Derek Anderson and Dan Rogan walked. Both advanced on a wild pitch. Anderson scored on a catcher's error and Rogan came home on Brett Eagleson's sacrifice fly to center. Moose had a four run fourth inning. Eagleson and Chris Brainad both walked and scored on Mandeville's double. John Fazzino singled in Mandeville and eventaully scored himself. Cromwell scored twice in the fifth inning to cut the gap to 8-4. Moose bounced back with another four run inning. Eagleson, Brainard, Bagley and Fazzino all had hits in the inning. Cromwell rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth, but by then it was too little, too late.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Cromwell 1 1 0 0 2 4
Moose All Stars 2 2 0 4 4 x

1998 Moose League All Stars

Manager Mike Mandeville, Coachs Norm Manemeit & Jeff Toth
Derek Anderson, Jon Robert Bagley, Chris Brainard, Brett Eagleson, Stephen Elliot, Jon Faass, John Fazzino, Justin Greco, Nick Mandeville, Mark Pandolfo, Daniel Rogan, Brandon Souto, Jared Streeto, Nicholas Toth

1998 O'Rourke-Kidney League All Stars

Manager Gene Mandeville, Coachs Dave Manemeit & Ken Robinson
Anthony Byrd, Andy Beatman, Nicholas Moskey, Steve Moore, Gregg D'eon, James Drobnis, Kevin Grady, J.C. Kraemer, Adam Moskey, Isaac Ebert, Greg Bereski Jr., Derek Johnson, Simon Hirsch, Tad Huey

Middletown Little League opens it's new Headquarters building on River Road in February. The two story building will be used for equipment storage (first floor) and as a meeting and training center (second floor). Nancy Toth is named as the first Director of Headquarters. Joe Tarallo is the Equipment Manager and Jeff Toth is the Director of Training. The new home of Middletown Little League is a much needed and much welcomed facility.

The Middletown Little League web site debuts, created by Ken Brostek.

Middletown Little League fields two teams (one each from the Moose and O-K Leagues) to join a 10-11 year old "travel" league, with Wethersfield, East Hartford, Glastonbury, Newington, Rocky Hill, Cromwell and Berlin to further promote youth baseball. The travel league runs from the conclusion of the Little League regular season to the middle of August. Middletown Little League hopes to field a team of 9 and 10 years old next year for a similar league. A summer softball program has begun and plans are underway to develop that into a summer league.

Middletown American Legion Post 75 sponsored its second annual clinic for the Middletown Little League Summer Program, where the kids get a chance to play at Palmer Field and learn from the Legion players, many of whom played Little League. Of course, the hot dog, soda and Legion game after the clinic isn't bad also !!!!

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