2007 12U Tournaments

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2007 12U Tournaments:
Defending Champions Repeat,  Winners of 4th of July Tournament, 2007
The LI Express, winners of last year’s 4th of July Tournament, defended their title by exemplifying excellence, resilience and a bit of tenacity. After losing the opening game of this year’s tournament to the Beaver Valley Red, the LI Express were steadfast in their resolve to win, as they won the next five games in a row, to repeat as champs!
After that first game, the team’s ego was a bit dinged but not broken, as their starting pitcher CJ was carried off the field after being hit by a vicious line drive back through the box. Thank goodness that the bone was only badly bruised.
The team licked their wounds, and with a strong team spirit and mental toughness, the defending champs eliminated the next three opponents to place as the number four seed.  In the wake of their efforts they had defeated the NJ X-Factors, SYAG Braves, and the Cage by scores of 7-3, 13-3 and 11-0, respectively. Outstanding hitting performances from Danny D., Matt V. Darien C., and Kevin K. contributed positively to the onslaught. The team batted over .400 in those three games, with an on-base percentage of almost .540, coupled with strong pitching performances from Chris T., and Dylan S.  More importantly, they successfully executed 3 SAC attempts, each time advancing a key runner to scoring position.
On Sunday the team faced the same Beaver Valley Red team, and after the first 2 ½ innings were complete, the LI Express trailed by a score of 6-0. While dejected, they were not defeated and played like true champs the rest of the way. In the bottom half of the third inning the LI Express scored six runs as Matt V., their hitting hero of the series, launched a key homer. With the scored tied at six, the team continued to receive a strong pitching performance, in relief from Kevin K, and never looked back as they claimed victory in the semi-final game, by a score of 12-6.
In the finals they faced their cross-town rivals, the CONYO Chiefs. Hats off to the CONYO team as they advanced to the finals by beating the New England Diamond Dawgs by a score of 4-1.
Inning after inning the teams posted no score as strong pitching performances, by both sides, limited the offensive assault. However, the LI Express, a team of tough, never-say-die players, found a way to win the game by a score of 2-0. This writer will always remember the hugs that the hitting hero, Danny H. received from the winning southpaw, CJ, as he touched home plate after his 2 run homer in the fifth.
Mental toughness, you betcha!

This is a team made up of kids that know how to win; they have fun traveling to play other quality teams; and, in this tournament showed off some of their talents by bending but not breaking.
In general, the team displayed good fundamental defense, highlighted by a few memorable slick fielding "web-gems", accompanied by excellent pitching, and topped off with timely hitting. Now, that is a winning recipe.

Congratulations to the 2007 LI Express 12U team, the coaches, and the supporting families.

You truly are the best! 
Each player made a definitive contribution to achieving this year’s July 4th Tournament championship, including:
Dylan S.: On Saturday afternoon, with one game remaining in the tournament (before the playoffs were to start) Dylan was given the ball and asked to hold the opposition to just one run, or the defending champs would be eliminated from further play. Dylan did just that and better, as he shutout the Cage by a score of 11-0. In addition to this standout pitching performance, the tournament witnessed several key hits, excellent defensive plays and a sacrifice bunt. Overall, a solid contribution from a solid team player.
Daniel H.: There is an old saying that says when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and boy did Dan do just that in the finals. With CONYO and the defending champs tied with a scoreless tie, late in the 5th inning, Dan launched a majestic line drive to right center. The smart ones knew right away; the disbelievers could only watch as the ball sailed well past the outfield fence, for the game winning homer. Accompanied by some earlier tournament sparkling plays, including batting over .400, Dan continues to earn the title of “gamer”, and for this reason is one of the four MVP’s on the team, during this tournament.
Danny D.: “Double-D”, as he is lovingly called, played at his usual outstanding level. Dan contributed solidly with some “big-time” hits and batted well over .400 in the tournament. He also flashed a little leather with his plays at right and first base, and pitched his heart out against some fierce competition. Another solid performance by a dedicated ball player who loves the game and steps up to the challenge when necessary.
Mathew V.: Four big home runs were delivered at four very big games by a one very big player. By the way, he also was one of two batters with the highest hitting percentage, batting well over .500. Oh boy, can he hit!  Matt also contributed with some slick fielding plays and key relief pitching performances. Oh boy, can he play!  In general, Matt was one of four MVP’s on the team and was instrumental in this year’s championship.
Chris T.: Tazz brought his usual quiet resolve-to-win attitude and contributed solidly on defense and threw a two hitter against the SYAG Braves. Also provided a few sparkling defensive gems at first, most notable against the Beaver Valley Reds in the semi-finals. With the defending champs trailing 6-0, and the opposition threatening to add more runs after loading the bases, there was a sharp grounder to first. Chris cleanly fielded the ball and fired home to force an out. The opposition never scored again.
Nicholas M.: Nicholas provided strong defensive plays at third, delivered some big-time hits at crucial times, served as a substitute catcher, and made a memorable play at third when he fielded a bunt and threw out the batter in the finals. Another solid contribution from a “team player”.
Darien: As a batter he is one of the toughest outs, and he led the champs in walks during the tournament. also sacrificed successfully on two attempts, and batted well over .400, with some big hits. On the field, his slick fielding plays at second base, were at times both very quick and graceful, and were instrumental in preventing the opposition from scoring. Throughout the tournament he showed heart and good sportsmanship, and is truly one of the quiet leaders on the team.
Kevin K.: Quiet and unassuming, Kevin calmly had one of his best efforts, again. He was one of two players with the best batting averages during this tournament, hitting over .500. He also hit his first homer in tournament play. He tirelessly caught almost every inning. And when he wasn’t catching, he was gently silencing the big bats from the feared Beaver Valley Reds. His outstanding pitching performance, in relief, allowed the defending champs to climb back and win the semi-finals, and for this reason he is one of the four MVP’s during this tournament.
Carl S.: CJ showed off some of his talents by bending and not breaking. After taking a vicious line drive off his leg, in the first game of the tournament, he had to be carried off the field.  As he was carried off, his head was held high, and later discovered that his bone was only badly bruised and not broken. He unavoidably missed the next four games as he recuperated, and somehow announced that he wanted to take the ball in the finals. In the “winner take-all” game, CJ not only shut down the feared cross-town rivals, the CONYO Chiefs, but truly earned his well deserved title of “crafty southpaw”. He pitched brilliantly, never allowing the opposition to hurt his team’s chances from earning their “repeat-title”. For this reason, CJ, is one of four MVP’s on the team and was instrumental in this year’s championship.
Carter T.: While one of the newest additions to the team, Carter is positive influence on his teammates, supporting them and leading by example. Strong fielding performance, coupled by some key hits were the reason the defending champs repeated their winning ways.
Matt C.: Through his play, Matt ensured that his team maintained their never-say-die attititude, and played a solid defense.
Matt was called upon to DH for CJ in the finals and he continues to "voice" himself in the dugout constantly cheering for his teammates in a game that is truly about TEAM

2007 Independence Day Awards


                    Baseball Heaven Summer Heat World Series Qualifier #1 Finalist 
                                            Long Island Express 12U Record 4-1