Memorial Day All-Star Games: Softball to Remember

The girls of the Larchmont Mamaroneck Little League and the Babe Ruth League kicked off the “unofficial start of summer” with exhibition softball games to honor the citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice defending their country. Three games played on Memorial Day brought together families from Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Rye Neck for a “glorious day under the sun,” according to Larchmont mom Lucy Johanson.

Game One: The first game featured all stars from the Intermediate division (5th, 4th, and some 3rd graders). After the pre-game introductions, Carly Rose Sonenclar, an All Star pitcher and an acclaimed talent at the microphone, sang the National Anthem and brought the crowd to its feet. “Hearing her sing the Star Spangled Banner gave me chills,” said Larchmont resident Rich Golden. After the fans got started, the cheers did not stop. According to coach Rob Goldstein, “It was a really well played game. Good fielding. Good pitching. Timely hitting. Great sportsmanship. Beautiful weather.”

Photos by Melissa Schoen. Click for larger images

The game exuded excitement as the teams were tied at 2 after four innings. In the fifth, the American League All Stars scored two runs; the Nationals followed with three runs to take the lead. In their final turn, the Americans got the tying run to third base with no outs. The Americans were unable to score because of what Coach Goldstein dubbed “an unusual 1-3-2 double play” (pitcher-first base-catcher). That dramatic play preserved the National’s 5-4 victory.

Game Two: Then the Majors All Stars (comprising 7th, 6th, and some 5th graders) took the field. The players were commended by Eric Marks, president of the Little League for their hard work and achievements during the season “as players and teammates.” After a moment of silence and the National Anthem, it was again time to “play ball.”

The Majors All Star Game featured some great defensive plays and very strong pitching. In the last inning, the National League stars were ahead by 4-2. The Americans got two runners on base, but could not score as the Nationals again escaped with the victory.

Game Three: The third event of the day was the Mayors’ Trophy Game, which featured Larchmont Mayor Josh Mandell, and Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum coaching 28 high-school and middle-school-aged players in a riveting game of recreational softball. The players were excited to have the attention of their communitys’ leaders. Both mayors admitted to being “more than a little nervous.”

After introductions of the participants, all of whom were clad in commemorative t-shirts, came the requisite side bet. Mayor Mandell offered up burgers at Larchmont Tavern, while Mayor Rosenblum countered with a mayoral lunch at Sal’s Pizzeria. This prize was in addition to the Mayors’ Trophy, which was designed by the players for the winning mayor. With the American flag perched above the backstop as a reminder of the importance of the day, the girls took to the field.

Families and friends were treated to a very well-played game. Larchmont Trustee Jaine Elkind Eney described the defensive display as “spectacular” and the game as “thrilling—a real nail biter.” Three pitchers from each team combined to keep the score tied at three after six innings. The Mamaroneck team loaded the bases in the 7th but could not score because of the nifty play of Larchmont’s defense forcing a runner out at the plate. At this point, VP of Softball Jon Serrano admitted that he too was nervous because there was “no procedure to decide who would get the Mayors Trophy in the event of a tie.”

Mayor Mandell shrugged off this concern because he “knew his girls would find a way to bring the trophy back to its rightful home after a year in Mamaroneck.” In the end, he was right. The Larchmont team took a 2-1 lead in this ongoing series when Mayor Mandell’s player slid under the tag of Mayor Rosenblum’s catcher —- “by an inch” according to the home plate umpire.

Larchlmont Mayor Josh Mandell accepted the Mayor’s Trophy after his team triumphed over one coached by Mamaroneck Mayor Norm Rosenbaum (at right).

After the game, the players shook hands, posed for pictures, and thanked their celebrity coaches. Both mayors were impressed with the level of play and commitment of the girls and their families. Mayor Mandell congratulated all of the men and women who donated their time and equipment to create “an all around — well done — community event.”

In his postgame comments, Mayor Rosenblum added: “Josh and I have spent many hours today at Memorial Day events. This one, of all, put into perspective the importance of the sacrifices the men and women of our armed forces made so that our children can have the opportunity to participate in community events, in peace.”

News -