New York City Playoff This Weekend
July 22, 2011 - Defending New York representative Long Island Astros will look for a return trip to Johnstown as they face the Cutting Edge Diamondbacks in a 3-game play-in series beginning Saturday morning at 10:00am in Brooklyn. There will be two games on Saturday played as a double-header, and a third game on Sunday if necessary. Last year, the Astros defeated the Kent White Sox in 2 games.
Jeff Rusoff's Astros finished 7th in the national tournament last season with wins against Chicago-Metro and Columbus and loses to powerhouses Baltimore and New Orleans. They represent the Federation of Amateur Baseball Leagues (FABL) for New York.
"My team has traveled up and down the east coast, and last year ranks up there with one of our top two or three baseball experiences that we've ever participated in," said Rusoff. Last year's strong season earned the Astros a promotion from the FABL's Division B to Division A. Even with the increase in the quality of competition, the Astros managed to finish 3rd with a 14-10 record (26-19 overall).
"We ended the season on a high note, winning 9 of our last 11 games," said Rusoff. "The team came together very nicely."
Rusoff has retained most of his team from last year's national tournament. The returning players are catcher Kevin Primm, pitchers Zack Bedanes, PJ Lenz, and Jared Mancini, first-baseman Mike Cunningham, second-baseman Ryan Rusoff and outfielders Tom Scala, Anthony Repetto, Matt Metz and Vinnie Carminati.
Last year, Cunningham led the team with 7 hits and 7 RBIs in Johnstown but is currently injured. Primm had only a 0.133 average but batted-in 5 runs and this season is averaging 0.429 with 18 hits and 15 RBIs. Mancini allowed 8 hits in 8 innings and only 1 earned run in his win against Columbus. He currently leads the team with 5 wins and has a 2.10 ERA in 44 innings. Rusoff averaged 0.286 last year with 3 runs and 4 hits. Scala had 3 hits and scored 3 runs in 17 at-bats in Johnstown and is batting 0.400 this season. Carminati had 3 hits, 3 runs, and 4 RBIs with a 0.250 average last year. He is currently 2nd on the team with 10 stolen bases but will undergo shoulder surgery this Friday.
New players to watch this season include Anthony Mazzella (Queens College) and short-stop Danny Muller (Nassau CC). Mazzella has been one of the most consistent players on the Astros this season and is batting 0.338 with 26 hits in 77 at-bats, scoring 20 runs and 24 RBIs, which is 2nd best on the team. He also leads the team with 26 strike-outs. Muller is averaging 0.320 with 16 hits in 50 at-bats.
The Cutting Edge Diamond Chiefs represent the Westchester Putnam Baseball Association and also finished in third with a record of 14-10. They were the top performing AAABA team out of five eligible teams in their league. Former AAABA contendor Kent White Sox won the league this year and will play in the NABF World Series.
New York has not had the same team represent the franchise in Johnstown since the Long Island Braves in 1997 and 1999. Since 1997, New York is 14-20 in Johnstown. Since 1945, New York is 66-104 overall and has competed in 52 of the 66 tournaments and have finished in the Top-8 24 times. Their best finish was 3rd in 1952.