Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New York State Little League Tournament Preview (2016)

Wow. We're back. I missed the entirety of the 2015 Little League season because work just doesn't allow me to be Little League Insider anymore. I guess being an adult can stink sometimes. Who knew?

Anyway, I've been out to a few games this season around the New York and New Jersey area and I'm pumped up for all the state tournament action. Even though the blog itself isn't nearly as active as it used to be, the Little League World Series Discussion Group is always firing on all cylinders. Seriously... join it. There's Little League fans (1000s of them) across the country giving updates every single day. It's a great community.

I've done state tournament previews for New York and New Jersey in the past and its always one of my favorite posts to write, so I decided to give NY a shot this year since I've seen a couple of the teams so far and I'm incredibly excited to see Maine-Endwell this season, a team that could be historically good in New York. We'll see this week.

The state tournament is being hosted by Van Nest Little League and Bronxchester Little League in District 22 in the Bronx. The two fields are in walking distance of each other and will showcase the best the state has to offer.

Without further ado, here's this year's state tournament preview. Remember that most of this is based on simple research and I did it all in a couple hours. If any names are wrong, spelled incorrectly, or didn't showcase enough or the proper players, I'm deeply sorry. I'll get it right once the tournament starts today. Finally... come say hello if you see me. I'll be there on Wednesday and Thursday for sure.

Section 1 West: Penfield (District 4)
Recent History (2000-2016): 4 district titles, first section title since 1979

Penfield National rolled through the sectionals by averaging 14 runs per game. The last time PLL played a close game was the District 4 championship when they knocked off Fairport, 6-4. Noah Rogoff, Matt Salina, Jake Lipani, and John Scoenhardt are just some of the names to watch from the Rochester-area squad.

Section 1 East: Maine-Endwell (District 7)

Recent History (2000-2016): 8 district titles, 5 section titles, 2 state titles

Maine-Endwell are the defending state champions. Normally, this doesn’t mean much… new crop of kids, right? Wrong. M-E had six 11-year olds on that state championship team and they’re bigger and stronger this season. This group also won the state championship when they were 10-year olds. M-E is led by Michael Mancini, Conner Rush, Jude Abbadessa, et al. The boys in blue and gold have been as dominant as you can be, winning by mercy rule in every game thus far.

Section 2 North: New Hartford (District 10)
Recent History (2000-2016): 2 district titles, first section title

New Hartford won its first section title in the long history of its league and the Utica-area squad is excited to take its show to the Bronx. NH is 10-1 through the tournament so far and topped a strong Rotterdam-Carman squad in a Best-of-3 series to reach the state tournament. Roman Kimball has been the staff ace and one of the team’s top hitters. Tyler Potocki has shown some big time ability on the bump as well including a 12 strikeout performance in the district championship game. Will Gall and Kyle Philipkoski have had big hits in recent victories.

Section 2 South: Town of Wappinger (District 17)
Recent History (2000-2016): 7 district titles, 2 section titles

Wappinger has become the defacto leaders of District 17 since becoming one charter and this particular group is experienced. They reached the state tournament last season as 11-year olds, so they will be experienced. The group is young with some 11s mixed in this year, but Shane Heinemann, Sean Camacho, Ben Tullo, and Parker Nevins have been great leaders thus far.

Section 3 North: Pine Bush (District 19)
Recent History (2000-2016): 4 district titles, 2 section titles

Pine Bush enters the state tournament at 13-1. They’ve won 13 straight games. The offense for the Bushmen has been relentless. PB has scored less than 10 runs in a game just three times in their run to the Bronx. They put up 20+ runs four different times as well. The team has 54 home runs in total, an astronomical number. Joe Croce leads the way for an offense that puts them up in bunches. He homered three times in the district “if” game, the second straight year he’s hit three in a title-winning performance. Watch out for Will Pitt, Ethan Velanga, and Gunnar Meland as well. Nick Scala provided an epic 6th-inning homer in Game 1 of the district final.

Section 3 South: Mid-Island (Staten Island) (District 24) Recent History (2000-2016): 4 district titles, 3 section titles, 1 state title, 1 regional title

Mid-Island reached the LLWS back in 2006 and is ready for another run. MILL comes from one of the toughest districts in the entire Eastern Region and is battle-tested. MI has some big boppers at the top of the lineup and strong arms.  Matt Rupp has been the team’s most dominant starter and one of the big sticks. Matt Polemeni, Eric O’Neill, and Chris Field are also major home run threats every time they step in the box.

Section 4 West: Port Washington (District 28)

Recent History (2000-2016): 9 district titles, first section title

Like Wappinger and St. James/Smithtown, Port Washington played in the 11-year old state tournament last year. So they have some experience at this level. They went 2-2 with wins over the other two teams in the tournament. Chris Chang and Jake Spiryda are two players to watch for PW.

Section 4 East: St. James/Smithtown (District 35)

Recent History (2000-2016): 2 district titles, first section title since 1999

Smithtown had an interesting road to the Bronx. In one of the worst and wildest tournament formats you’ll see, St. James/Smithtown went 1-2 in pool play of its sectional tournament, placing third. All four teams make the semifinals though and SJSLL promptly won the semifinal and then beat the 0-3 team in the championship. They obviously worked the tournament the right way. It’s no accident though that Smithtown is in. They were in the state tournament last year as well, falling twice in mercy-rule shortened games. James Ackerman and Tyler Lawrence are two of the guys who should be on your radar.


It’s hard to predict how teams will pitch a double elimination tournament, so instead of straight picks, I’ll give you the teams ranked in order… Remember that I’ve only seen two (Pine Bush and Mid-Island) play in person.

1. Maine-Endwell

2. Mid-Island
3. Pine Bush
4. Penfield National
5. New Hartford
6. Port Washington
7. Town of Wappinger
8. St. James/Smithtown

I’ll be at Van Nest and Bronxchester Little Leagues on Wednesday and Thursday for sure. Join in on the conversation for the Road to Williamsport at my LittleLeague World Series Discussion Group on Facebook.


Marco said...

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Let me tell you something right now I am one of the biggest fans of this sport and I would like to share with everyone my articles and investigations

I would like to share with all of you some guides of the leagues and equipment.

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Zachary Herd said...

Can u please do an 2017 nys preview