Pawling 9U Fall Champs: Kneeling left to right: Michael Covell - Affy Middlebrook. Standing in 1st row left to right: Logan Martucci, Owen Gabriele, Chris Notaro, Vincenzo West, Mike Notaro. Back row left to right: Carter Wrobel, Mica Middlebrook, Noah DiBernardi, Marc Kuhlmann. Missing from the team photo were Julian Cubic and Ryan Arrick. Photo Credit: PHOTO COURTESY PETER MARTUCCI
This fall, a group of local young men made history on the baseball diamond when the Pawling Tigers 9U Division Travel Baseball Team won the Greater Hudson Valley Baseball League (GHVBL) Fall Championship. This accomplishment is doubly impressive, as this was the first year that Pawling had entered a team in the league at that age level.
The GHVBL holds seasons each spring, summer, and fall for players ages 8 through 18. The league boasts more than 400 youth travel baseball teams from New York and Connecticut. Competition is held throughout Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Fairfield Counties. This season, Pawling assembled a team of 13 players, ages 8 and 9.
Under the direction of Head Coach Peter Martucci and assistant coach Lucas Middlebrook, the team compiled a regular season record of 3 wins and 6 losses. The Pawling Tigers entered the championship tournament ranked #10, undaunted by the competition they would soon encounter. “I’m really proud of the way the kids came together this season,” says Coach Middlebrook. “It was such a great experience, especially having a travel team for the first time.”
The Tiger squad advanced through the playoffs, defeating the #7 ranked Shrub Oak Storm in the opening round, and the #2 ranked Putnam Valley Miners in the tournament quarterfinals. During the final weekend of the tournament, inclement weather forced a daunting schedule change for the Tigers. Originally to be held over two days, the GHVBL Fall Championship would instead be decided by a double header on Saturday, October 28. The quarterfinal game would see the Tigers take on the #3 ranked Harrison Hitmen, with Pawling eking out a 9 – 8 victory.
Later that afternoon, Pawling squared off against the Old Greenwich Thunder, who entered the tournament ranked #8. The season culminated with the Tigers mounting an offensive explosion en route to a 10 – 3 victory. During their first year as a 9U travel team, the Pawling Tigers could call themselves champions. “Every player on the team contributed to the four victories that brought them their first championship,” says Coach Martucci. “This was a team made up of eight and nine year olds who all worked extremely hard. They are a very special group that we enjoyed coaching.”