Cortlandt American Cops Snag Another District 33 12U Title

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By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays

The Cortlandt American Little League baseball program has long been the model guide to local baseball success. At a time when travel teams — spring, summer and fall — have taken over most communities, Cortlandt American continues to provide a top-notch, in-town venture for little leaguers within its district.

The outcome, year after year, has seen the program produce scores of legendary players like Shawn Tarkington and Mike Anderson and multiple District 33 championships, including last Wednesday’s 11-1 win over visiting Ossining for the 12U championship (46-60).

It helps to have great coaching in place, which CALL often has, including 2021 Manager Lou Vernagallo, who played the game at a very high collegiate level (LIU) before playing professionally in West Virginia in the Frontier League. Flanked by assistants Jon Clyman and Mike Silvestri, the CALL-stars went 3-0 and advanced to the NYS Little League Sectional round and will begin play against a yet to be determined opponent on July 15 in Stony Point, NY.

Going into the District 33 title game, CALL only needed to win last Wednesday’s game to become D33 champs as it was 2-0 going into the game and Ossining came out of the losers bracket and needed to win twice.

It was a pitching rematch of District Game 1 with Louie Vernagallo of CALL facing Ossining ace Owen Brennan. Vernagallo had already shut down Ossining in game one on June 26th, pitching 4 1/3 brilliant innings (0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB and 12 whiffs). CALL won that game 3-2 playing short handed with only players and missing stars Thomas Imperati, Matt Clyman and Max Selinger.

“We needed a team effort without those guys in the lineup that night and that’s what we got from one through nine, whoever we call upon delivered,” Coach V said.

CALL got off to the fast start in the title tilt, going up 2-0 in the first on a groundout RBI by Vinny Lugo, which scored Max Selinger and a single by Clyman, which plated Imperati.

In the 3rd, CALL jumped out to a 3-0 lead when Vernagallo got drilled on his helmet by a 60 mph Brennan fastball, which allowed Lugo to score. In the top of the 4th, CALL opened it up on a Lugo single to CF, which scored Selinger and a three-run HR to dead center by Clyman scoring Lugo and Imperati for a 7-0 lead. In the 5th, a Selinger single to CF scored Chris Silvestri making it 8-0. CALL blew the game open in the 6th on an opposite field RBI double by Vernagallo (Clyman scored), a John Valentino single (Vernagallo scored), a Silvestri Sac Fly (Valentino scored) and finally a monster three-run dinger to dead left by Imperati (Jayden Randolph, Selinger & Imperati scored).

Vernagallo went 4-1/3rd again giving up 1ER, 4H, 1BB and 7K’s. Alex DiLorenzo and Clyman provided 1-2/3rds innings of masterful relief to close out the game.

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