By Eli Ruiz
OTISVILLE July 22, 2005 The Charlie Barbuti-sponsored Little League All-Star team from Liberty played with lots of heart on Monday evening against the City of Newburgh team in a Little League District 19 Senior Baseball playoff game in Otisville.
But unfortunately for the Liberty All-Stars, Newburgh proved to be the better squad that night, prevailing by a final score of 12-2.
After an 8-3 loss to Maybrook in their first game of the District 19 double-elimination playoffs, Liberty went on to win four straight contests, beating Montgomery (8-4), Maybrook (9-8), Warwick (11-10) and Washingtonville (4-3).
Early on in Mondays contest, it looked like the Liberty All-Stars might pull out another win. They took a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Justin Garritt and Justin Katz each singled to reach base and then scored.
But Newburgh quickly erased that lead behind the bat of David Tarralo, who hit a stand-up two-run double to give Newburgh a 3-2 lead.
From that point on, Newburgh would dominate behind the strong pitching of Matt Hughes and plenty of help from the offense.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Newburghs Matthew DeGeorge led off with a single, followed by a stand-up double by the next hitter. Tarralo then came to the plate and hit a towering pop-fly that was dropped by a Liberty outfielder. A run scored on the miscue to extend Newburghs lead to 8-2.
After Liberty pitcher Kelly Hamlin walked the next batter, Coach Jim Green pulled him in favor of Scott Hamlin, who promptly gave up a sacrifice fly to make the score 9-2.
Newburghs Steve Crisci then hit an RBI single to make it a 10-2 ballgame.
Hamlin then caught the next batter looking at strike three for the second out of the inning, but James Street came up big with a two-run single. Those were the final two Newburgh runs of the contest.
Hamlin fanned the next batter to get out of what was a terrible fourth inning for Liberty.
Despite the disappointing loss to Newburgh, the Liberty coaches and players had a very successful overall season.
This is a special team, Assistant Coach Steve Katz said. No Liberty Little League squad has made it this far into the double-elimination tournament.