The championship run for the Atlantic Shore baseball team has come to an end.
Atlantic Shore lost 3-1 to Tallahassee/Leon, Fla., on Wednesday in its final game of pool play at the Babe Ruth World Series in Loudoun County, Va. Atlantic Shore consists of players ages 13-15 from Atlantic and Cape May counties.
“Any time you end up in the World Series it’s a dream of a lifetime,” head coach Bill Rauzzino said in a telephone interview. “We will remember this for the rest of our lives, but it’s an experience.
“We’re all depressed now, but let a little time pass and then we’ll make a judgment. All the parents agree this was one of the best experiences ever.”
Rauzzino said this was a special year for the Atlantic Shore program, which finished 11-3 through the state, regional and World Series tournaments.
Rauzzino said the speech he made after Wednesday’s loss was especially difficult.
He said most of the kids on the team have been in the program for three years.
“It was a hard speech to make,” Rauzzino said. “A lot of kids were upset and we choked up a bit, too.
“You’re going to see these kids and they’re going to play high school ball and a few are even Division I potential in college. They’re going to have bright futures and to be a part of that is very gratifying to (assistants Joe Iannuzelli, Jack Taggart) and myself.”
Atlantic Shore finished with a 1-3 record in the series — not good enough to earn one of the top three spots in its division and advance.
“We didn’t expect going 1-3,” said outfielder Anthony Boselli. “Everyone was confident going into it. With the result it was pretty upsetting.”
On Wednesday, Atlantic Shore peppered Tallahassee pitching for 12 hits, but managed only one run on Matt Thomas’ RBI in the third. With the bases loaded and two outs, Thomas drove in Boselli to give Atlantic Shore a 1-0 lead.
“We did a lot of cage work and tee work yesterday and it really paid off,” Rauzzino said in reference to the team’s practice on Tuesday. “We just couldn’t get a break and get that big hit that would bust the thing open.
“(Tallahassee) is a good team and we let them hang around instead of closing the door and they came back and won.”
Tallahassee tied the game at 1-1, in the bottom of the fourth thanks to Anthony Milton’s RBI single. It took the lead an inning later.
Christopher Jerry led off with a single and advanced to second on an error. After moving to third on a sacrifice fly, Jerry scored on a passed ball to give Tallahassee a 2-1 lead.
Tallahassee made it 3-1 when Trevor McElroy scored on a throwing error.
“We made mistakes and the other team took advantage of it,” Rauzzino said. “If we would have scored a couple more runs in this game it wouldn’t have come down to (the mistakes).”
Stephen Myers got the start for Atlantic Shore, allowing three unearned runs on six hits and a walk, striking out two. He pitched a six-inning complete game.
Myers’ effort matched teammates Kyler Pikus, Kyle Gerace and Nick Droboniku, who pitched well for Atlantic Shore in its first three games.
“The pitchers pitched very well all tournament. We just didn’t give them run support,” Boselli said. “We had guys in scoring position and we just couldn’t get them in.”
Contact John Russo:
Atlantic Shore 001 000 0—1 12 4
Tallahassee/Leon 010 000 X—3 6 1
2B—Boselli, Thomas, A.
Records—Atlantic Shore 1-3. Tallahassee/Leon 2-2.