EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- Jack Keenan took a deep breath as Eastchester loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday. The ten-year-old White Plains pitcher, who had a one-run lead, did not allow himself to get nervous or flustered. Instead, Keenan focused on a simple approach and the result was thrilling.
Keenan registered the final two outs, sending White Plains to a 3-2 win over Eastchester in the losers bracket final of the District 20 Little League Baseball nine-ten-year-old division at ORourke Field. White Plains, which lost to Eastchester last week, will play Harrison for the title, Saturday, 4 p.m., at Sherman Parks Volunteer Field. White Plains will have to beat Harrison in order to force a decisive game, at a time, site and date, to be determined.
Keenan also drove in the tieing run in the top of the sixth inning, then scored the eventual winning run. I was trying to concentrate on the glove, said Keenan, a fifth-grader-to-be at Our Lady of Sorrows School in White Plains. I was blocking out all the sounds for both teams. I remembered my mechanics and threw the ball right to the glove. After Joe Nasti walked, loading the bases, joining Nick Zingaro and Matt Rinaldi, Keenan registered a strikeout on three pitches. He fell behind the next batter, 3-0, then worked his way back and finished off the game with a strikeout.
Keenan was immediately mobbed by his teammates. I knew he was going to take a pitch, said Keenan of the 3-0 pitch. I threw an off-speed pitch to get me back in the strike zone. White Plains trailed 2-1 entering the top of the sixth inning. Eastchester starter Matt Rinaldi limited White Plains to one run on two hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Nick Zingaro recorded the final two outs of the fifth and the first out of the sixth. Justin Holman followed with a triple to left field. Keenan stepped in and drilled a 1-1 pitch to left center, scoring Holman with the equalizer. Jonah Quinn then singled to right, scoring Keenan. I had popped up my first two at-bats so I had to do something, Keenan said. I didnt want to let my team down. If I got a good pitch in the strike zone I was going to hit it as hard as I could.
Keenan went the final 2 1/3 innings to get the win. Starter Anthony Burgio, whose father, Anthony, was a stand-out pitcher for Harrison in his career, went the first 3 2/3 innings. Burgio struck out four and pitched his way out of a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the second inning. Rinaldi had an excellent day at the plate with three hits, including a double. Nasti had two hits and an RBI, Nick Zingaro collected two hits and scored a run and Drew Walpole doubled.
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