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Bellmore BlueFire 14U Wins The Rock Tournament

Bellmore Little League is extremely proud of its girls’ fastpitch softball teams. Although the team lost the Williamsport Long Island Championship game, it traveled to Chester, NY to take on some real good competition. “These girls are real amazing – they bounced back from a difficult loss on Tuesday and then traveled that same weekend to face competition better than they expected” explains coach Ray Barry.

During pool play on Saturday, Bellmore Blue Fire girls had a 2-1 record and dealt with 4 rain delays throughout the day. The big favorite for the tournament was the Adirondack Xtreme. This is a team that draws from all over the upstate, NY area and girls that play for the organization are every serious about softball. The game against Xtreme was a loud rough game with a lot of gamesmanship from their parents and coaches. Xtreme appeared older, more experienced and intimidating. The record during pool play created a three seed for BlueFire during elimination round on Sunday. The way these tournaments work is that Sunday is elimination round – you win you stay, you lose you go home, explains coach Steve Boscarino.

On Sunday, the BlueFire girls regrouped, set their goals for the day and had a team meeting that resulted in fierce determination to battle throughout Sunday. They wanted a rematch against Adirondack Xtreme. The day started at 10:00 a.m with pre-game warm ups. Once the games started at 11:00a.m., Ashley Boscarino did not waste any time and took the first pitch of the game from the Tri-State Angels and drilled a double in the gap. I really think that Ashley set the stage for the team the rest of the day. The BlueFire team was on fire during that game and won the game to advance. Brianna Maniscalco and Alexa Boscarino combined on a 2 hit shutout to seal the victory. Next up was the Number 2 seed – Team Nitro. BlueFire went to Amanda Riveira to silence the Team Nitro bats and get the team into the final game. During the Team Nitro game, Nicole Moccio, Kacie Badolato and Katie Grodski were on fire at the plate. The BlueFire defense was stellar and perfect for the game.

This brought a rematch against Adirondack Xtreme in the final game. I had a feeling we would face then in the finals but our girls really had a determined look in their eyes. They were shocked the day before by this team and were unsure how to deal with the antics and intimidation. Even though the game started at 3:00 p.m., many people were still at the park and everyone wanted to see this showdown. BlueFire went to Brianna Maniscalco to shut down this team. We gave Brianna the ball because she is a fierce competitor and will always go out there and fight. On Saturday, she had a tough day with walks, but we were confident she would be ready to go, explains coach Ray Barry. “Even though she was tired, we discussed our eating habits in the beginning of the day and our girls properly fueled their body for a long day of softball. That was a key factor in the intensity by which they played during the final game, says coach Joe Maniscalco.

The game turned out to be a pitcher’s dual through 6 innings. In the third inning, with bases loaded and one out, a deep fly ball was hit to right center field. Kaitlin Maniscalco, the youngest player on the team, caught the ball and threw a bullet to home plate to get the runner tagging up from third base. This was an outstanding play and really helped out team. Kaitlin did not hesitate for a moment. She is only 12 years old and playing against girls 2 years older than her. She fired that ball home and threw the runner out, describes coach Steve Boscarino. The next inning, Kristina Barry drilled a base hit to give BlueFire a 1-0 lead.

The lead was not enough. Brianna was getting tired and in the bottom of the 6th inning, Xtreme was able to scrape together 3 runs on some defensive miscues. Going into the 7th inning, with one out, BlueFire was down 3-1. Xtreme parents started to pack up and could taste their victory. However, BlueFire was not done. Nicole Moccio fought in the batter’s box and with 2 strikes drilled a double in the gap to get the team going again. “Nicole is an amazing athlete. She brings such depth to our lineup with all the tools she has and never quits”, explains coach Joe Maniscalco. She got us going with that at bat. Alexa Boscarino then worked a walk, and with runners on second and third, it was up to Brianna Maniscalco. With the score 3-1, Brianna drilled a base hit to hard left field. It was hit so hard that only one run scored and BlueFire was still trailing 3-2. Kristina Barry then followed and hit a hard base hit to second base scoring Alexa Boscarino and tying the game. BlueFire had tied the game up in the 7th inning.

BlueFire then made a pitching change and went to Amanda Riveira to shut the door and give them another chance at the plate. Amanda took the ball, wanted to help her team and went out there and struck out all 3 batters she faced, forcing extra innings. Her performance was outstanding and provided us with some extra motivation to come back and hit again. With the international tie breaker rule in effect, each team starts with a runner on second base. In the 8th inning, BlueFire scored a run on amazing running by Mairead Ryan. Even though Mairead was hurting with a bad ankle, the umpire would not allow me to substitute for her due to the rules. She had to be the runner on second base to start the inning. On a miscue by Xtreme, Mairead dashed home and slid under the tag to give BlueFire the go ahead run. Xtreme was not going to give up and they tied the score again in the bottom of the 8th inning to force another extra inning. In the 9th inning, BlueFire battled again. This time their goal was to get 2 runs. That’s what they did. With runners on second and third, Alexa Boscarino battled a full count and then drilled a base hit to left field to bring the go ahead run in. She did this with 2 outs and a 3-2 count. Alexa really battled up there and fought hard for that base hit. It was huge for us to get that hit. Brianna Maniscalco then drilled another base hit to bring home the runner on third and give BlueFire a 2 run lead. That would be enough for Amanda Riveria who battled in the bottom of the 9th inning and shut down Xtreme. The victory was sealed for BlueFire and they were the Champions of The Rock Tournament.

Every girl on the team contributed to a phenomenal victory. We needed every single player to get hits, walks, play perfect defense and throw runners out to accomplish this task. This was by far the best softball game I have ever coached or watched, describes coach Joe Maniscalco.

Kristina Barry was rock solid at third base and made 8 defensive plays just in the Championship game alone. Kacie Badolato was on fire at the plate all weekend and caught and played the outfield. Ashley Boscarino solidified our middle at shortstop and Nicole Moccio kept the infield grounded at first base.

This year has been an amazing experience and we have played some real great softball against great teams. The coaches, players and everyone we have met during this process has been great. Leaving Long Island and playing great softball is a wonderful experience for these girls. In the end, the girls love this game and simply want to play the sport they love. This is what these tournaments offer for them. Once again, BlueFire girls Exceeded Expectations.

The Bellmore BlueFire U14 team that entered this tournament consisted of Ashley Boscarino, Alexa Boscarino, Mairead Ryan, Brianna Maniscalco, Amanda Riveira, Nicole Moccio, Nicole Aliberti, Katie Grodski, Kristina Barry, Kaitlin Maniscalco, and Kacie Badolato.

Bellmore Little League is extremely proud of the accomplishments of all its teams and the dedication and support of our community.

Bellmore Little League’s motto is “Play For the Love of the Game”