Red Hook’s Little League tournament team faced Rhinebeck at Wager Field on June 27, soundly beating them 12-1 in a game that ended with a fifth inning “mercy” call.
Red Hook and Rhinebeck games always carry a certain unspoken contention, but with 6’1″ Joe Garcia pitching two strike-outs and hitting a homer into the trees in the first inning, the mismatch became readily apparent. Hunter Cole immediately followed up with a double to bring Red Hook to an early lead.
The second inning was no different, with Garcia striking out two Rhinebeck hitters and walking one, only to return to the plate to slam another home run, followed by James Flood also hitting a home run. Rhinebeck’s pitcher Ethan Viatora then struck out Mike Menz and Chris Yearwood to close the inning 6-0.
It was at this point that murmurs of “mercy” began, since there seemed to be no end in sight to Red Hook’s onslaught of line-drives, home runs and handily delivered strike-outs.
But in the third inning, John Fleming of Rhinebeck scored the team’s first — and only –run, bringing the game to a slightly closer 6-1.
The inning, however, ended in a dramatic diving tag-out at home plate by Joe. He then proceeded to pitch two strike-outs and a walk that was tagged at second. At bat Garcia hit a third and final home run, followed by two Red Hook runs to close the inning with in an insurmountable nine-run lead.
In the top of the fifth Garcia got two outs and was relieved by Caspian Packard at pitcher. He got a ground ball out to go to bottom of the fifth, where Adam Fitzpatrick of Rhinebeck walked Garcia, and James Flood hit his second home run to end the game with a score of 12-1.
Huddled up for a speech from their coach, Kevin Flood, the Red Hook boys looked ecstatic to be going on in the tournament that culminates in the Little League World Series held in Cooperstown.
Red Hook has never won regionals, but it’s looking like they might just make it happen with their all-star sluggers Garcia and Flood, and a deep bench of players like Packard, Hunter Cole and Declan O’Callaghan to help along the way.
Coach Flood told The Observer, “I think we did very well. Everybody swung the bat, we played defense and we pitched and I feel confident going into the next game with hitters like Declan over there, with a smile on his face… We’re rolling, the train is rolling.”
Red Hook was expected to next meet Hyde Park at Creek Road on July 1.