By Marissa Effman
The Westside Little League 50/70 Division Team, led by Manager Paul Richards and coaches Sal Viviano and Rich Rosenberg, has achieved something that no other WSLL team has been able to accomplish: This group of 13 year-olds won the New York City Championship in their age group and earned the right to play for the New York State Championship. They partied with the celebratory pizza at V&T after the game last Monday.
In the sectionals, despite being down 9-1 in the fifth inning, the Hawks came back to eventually beat Oceanside 12-11 with a walk-off single by Peter Gornik in the bottom of the first extra-inning, that scored Jake Effman from third base.
The double-elimination State Championship – which is being played in Montgomery, NY – began for the Hawks this past Friday, with a loss to Penfield, from the Rochester area. The Hawks bounced back on Saturday, with a decisive victory over Sayreville, from Long Island. However, their hopes of a State title were dashed, when on Sunday the Hawks fell to Oneida, from the Syracuse area. Despite being eliminated from the tournament, the Hawks held their heads high, knowing that they were the first team from NYC to win a 50/70 Division Section 5 Championship and the first team from West Side Little League – in any Division – to make it to a State Championship.
Four of the Hawks players (Effman, Tommy Richards, Jacob Rosenberg, and Joey Viviano) have been playing together on WSLL tournament teams since the age of nine, and most of the others joined the team a year later. As Richards said after the sectional victory, “These guys will be my friends for life.”
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