SAUGERTIES, NY — A special season for the Saugerties Little League all-stars ended with two early losses in the eight-team New York State
Little League Championship this week at Endicott.
But even though the talented group of 9- and 10-year-olds didn’t bring home the state title, Saugerties manager Dan Koegel said the team’s exciting run to the state tournament was a memorable experience.
“I hope the kids are proud of what they accomplished even though the ending wasn’t quite what we were hoping for,” Koegel said. “You’re hoping to win a game or two. But we can use it as a learning experience. It’s something to build on for next year.”
With the pairings done by drawing teams out of a hat, Saugerties’ first-round matchup was against the powerful New York City representative South Shore of Staten Island. South Shore scored nine runs in the top of the first inning and went on to post a 16-2 win.
“Unfortunately, we drew the best team in the tournament,” Koegel said. “They won their next game 10-0 (over Victor), so at least we scored a couple of runs against them.”
Saugerties was eliminated when it dropped a 5-1 verdict to Harrison in a loser’s bracket contest.
“We didn’t play our best baseball, but the kids played their hearts out,” Koegel said.
It was the first time that a Little League team from Saugerties advanced to the New York State Little League 8-10 Championship in decades, according to Koegel. Saugerties advanced to the states by winning district and section tournaments.
Koegel said Saugerties had a difficult time adjusting to the hard-throwing pitchers it faced in the two games. “The velocity we saw was an eye-opening experience,” he said. “If we want to get better, we have to get used to that. The velocity was more than the kids were used to seeing.”
Koegel said the support from Saugerties Little League President Jay Mooers, parents and community members was amazing throughout the 2022 season. He thanked his coaches, Nick Bernard, Eric Nelson and Adam Bosch, for their hard work during the campaign. He said the team also benefited from being able to practice indoors during inclement weather at the Facility, an indoor baseball facility owned by JP Gramoglia.
“He (Gramoglia) opened the Facility for us to use whenever it rained,” Koegel said. “That was really awesome.”
Four 9-year-olds who were on this year’s all-star roster will look to make it to the states again in 2023. The rest of the players will move up to the 11- and 12-year-old Little League ranks.
The 2022 Saugerties Little League all-star team includes Luke Armstrong, Andrew Bernard, Tristan Bosch, Caleb Burch, Matthew Erceg, Levi Hunter, John Kelly, Easton Koegel, Deegan Lasusa, Everett Nelson, Chase Mooers and Maxton Van Etten.
“It was a great group to be around,” Koegel said. “The kids had a good time at the states. Everyone was excited to be there. I’m sure it was an experience they’ll never forget.”