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Virginia Little League loses in Regional Final

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P1010276

The LLWS slogan on one of the fields in Williamsport. Photo my own circa Oct 2011.

The Virginia State champ Tuckahoe American Little League from Henrico (West Richmond) made it to the Southeast regional final before losing to Tennessee 5-3 in the championship game on ESPN last night 8/9/13.   A disappointing loss for Virginia, who had beaten the same team in pool play earlier in the regional.   Tennessee will now represent the region in the 2013 Little League World Series (LLWS) in Williamsport, PA.  If you’ve never seen the facilities in Williamsport, they are fantastic and a worthy place to watch a baseball game, youngsters or not.

Tuckahoe had cruised through the Virginia State tournament, beating West Springfield in the final and outscoring opponents 35-3 along the way.   They also cruised relatively unscathed to the regional championship before Tennessee got their revenge.

Virginia has not placed a team in the LLWS 1994, when South Central Springfield made it to Williamsport and lost in the US final.

Tuckahoe is quite a Virginia Little League powerhouse; 4 state championships since 2001 and a 3 time regional champion/Little League World Series participant.

My own quasi-personal connection/interest to Little League right now stems from my 12-year old alumni year in 1983, when my home Vienna Little League all-star team handily won the state and then lost in the regional final to eventual LLWS champs Marietta, Georgia.  Our home-team lost on an error in the bottom of the 6th, letting in two runs to turn a 3-2 lead into a 4-3 loss.  Vienna has made one LLWS appearance back in the early 70s but is still a great program and I hope one day my own child can play in the system.

 

Written by Todd Boss

August 10th, 2013 at 10:24 am

Posted in Local Baseball

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  1. Hey, I really enjoy reading your posts, I grew up in Falls Church played in the FCKLL and then eventually for O’Connell, played for Joe Schourek in Fall Ball, but I was a year behind you. I was an 11 yr old when you were a 12 year old, I remember that 83 Vienna team that was probably the 2nd best team in the world, right? Falls Church had a very good team that year, too, coached by Joe Schourek, Pete had moved on to the bigger field by then by his dad kept coaching (Danny was just starting to play) we were so lucky to have him in our league…Anyway, you guys I think beat Tysons Federal 1-0 Nielsen vs. a big flame thrower too Richard Brown (he was a special talent but never realized it, came from a tough family) then you guys beat Falls Church twice, not back to back, I went to the second game at Yeonas and I saw your shortstop Hans Martinsen make one of the best plays I’ve ever seen any player make at any level backhanded in the hole from his knees gun the FC player out at first…I would love to hear more about the game you guys lost to the eventual World Champs, we had heard that Nielsen was robbed of hr by one of the Marietta outfielders in that game too

    jb

    6 May 14 at 12:23 pm

  2. Hey there JB, wow yeah that’s a lot of reminscing 🙂 Joe Schourek and my dad were good buddies back in the day, back when both were involved with adult league and college-age organization. But I never got to play with or against Pete; 2 years older and wrong town. Would have loved the chance.

    Honestly, I don’t remember much detail about Vienna American’s march to the regional final, since I was from the other league (Vienna National). We never played the Vienna American guys and only ever got to know them if we both played on the same fall ball teams. From what I remember, Vienna was winning against Marietta in the regional final like 3-2 in the bottom of the 6th (we listened to the game on the radio) and then they gave up a baserunner and then lost the game on an error. My dad may remember more about losing on a robbed homer.

    Hans Martinsen; good guy; he eventually went to Madison HS and then played baseball at UVA. He was my year but was a year ahead in school so he was a HS senior when I was a HS junior. One of my more vivid memories of Martisen was his scoring the Vienna 14/15 babe ruth town-championship run against my team 3 years later … He currently lives in Atlanta and works in media sales/advertising.

    The Vienna powers-that-be tried to re-capture that Little League valor by essentially fielding the same all-star team the subsequent year for 13-yr old Babe Ruth tournament (if memory serves they won the state again but then faltered in the regionals) and then again in the 14-15 babe Ruth when they were all 15-yr olds; that year the team lost to Herndon/Reston in the state final. Vienna’s David McCreary (sp?) pitched a gem but then got squeezed badly in the bottom of the 7th and loaded the bases in a tied game … Martinsen came in to relieve and quickly flipped in two strikes before a fisted single squeezed in and Vienna lost the state title. That Herndon/Reston team was lead by A.J. Hernandez, a beast of a player who had a cup of coffee in pro ball eventually.

    After that, everyone went their separate ways to American Legion; Vienna post 180 had just two feeder schools into it (Oakton and Madison) while the guys who played vienna league ball spread out to Oakton, Madison, McLean, O’Connell, Paul IV, Gonzaga and Flint Hill (maybe even more). I wasn’t good enough to make any of those all-star teams or american legion … but we all knew each other from youth baseball growing up.

    If you played at O’Connell, i’ve been looking to track down a guy that we used to play fall ball with constantly; he went to O’Connell, played in either Falls Church or McLean youth and was completely bald all through high school. Ring a bell? I can find a team picture if that could help…

    Todd Boss

    6 May 14 at 1:12 pm

  3. Mark Haynes, he was good friends with Brian Morabito, great guy, he took so much ribbing (good natured for the most part) and just let it roll right off his back, very good 3rd baseman

    jb

    6 May 14 at 1:41 pm

  4. Also, what team in the Fall Ball team did you play on? I played with the Astros then the Indians for two years, I remember the Woodbridge Reds being very good as well as the Springfield Mets–surprise, surprise…faced Bill Pulsipher at Falls Church HS on a cold night, no friggin’ chance nasty stuff…Also faced Scott Schulz a couple of times, very good stuff too, he went to Broad Run (state champions) and the LSU before going pro

    jb

    6 May 14 at 2:05 pm

  5. Mark Haynes! that’s right. I always knew who Morabito by reputation was but I don’t think I ever played with or against him. We both went to JMU, where he played for the college and I just attended and drank beer 🙂 We may have met once or twice at his fraternity (SAE) but I doubt he remembers.

    I do remember the Springfield Mets, not the other teams. My 17-yr old fall we were the Padres; beat the Fairfax team (with Doug Newstrom) for the title at Falls Church HS. Before that, man I can’t remember right now. All the team pictures are on the wall at my parent’s house; i guess I could dig them up. I know we were the Mariners one year, with Steve Makranzy (Marshall HS’s #2 behind Schourek in those state-finalist years) as our #1 pitcher. That Mariners team lost to the team from Oquoquan that formed the basis of those very very good Potomac HS teams (state champs in 88 just before WTWoodson’s run). I can’t recall if we ever faced Pulsipher or Schultz in fall-ball. But I probably should have included them in the link below.

    Here; go read this link: http://www.nationalsarmrace.com/?p=5626 I talked about a whole bunch of these old school topics in this post … i got some of the details wrong at the time but have done some corrections thanks to feed back. Also have some really cool links in there.

    Plus, I just went over the latest on Jacob Bukauskas in this space; link here: http://www.nationalsarmrace.com/?p=8813

    Glad to have someone to reminisce with. Did you keep on playing after HS? I played in the DCMSBL until two years ago when a combination of age/injuries/childbirth forced me into retirement.

    Todd Boss

    6 May 14 at 2:30 pm

  6. the first link you provided was the one I initially stumbled upon as I feeling nostalgic, spring weather will do that to me with baseball memories for sure…I think the #2 pitcher behind Pete in 1986 was another big left hander by the name of Gregg Leggett senior in 1986, he went on to play basketball at Bucknell, he didn’t throw nearly as hard as Pete was a pretty good #2, Makranzy was #2 in 1987… here is a little tidbit that people tend to forget, Pete made first team All Met his junior year as a 1st baseman

    I was also at the Madison vs. Marshall game played at Marshall Nielsen (10th) vs Schourek (12th), everyone remembers Pete’s bomb to seal the game but most forget the first blow was dealt by Mike Nielsen who hit a line drive homerun off Pete to left center, this was before they put in the 12 ft fence and it ricocheted off a backhoe and came back onto the field, one of the best regular season high school games I ever witnessed

    I never played past high school tried out for my D3 college team and was told to “move on”…10 years of baseball was enough, I shredded my arm playing flag football a few years later and never felt the need to get it fixed, doesn’t matter all I do now is play golf

    Anyway, I find your “local” post much more entertaining than the national news dominated by PEDs and gay athletes, please keep it up I’m glad I found it

    jb

    7 May 14 at 10:10 am

  7. I was at that Madison-Marshall game in 1987 too! I remember three things vividly from that game:
    1. Nielsen’s homer; it looked like it was a ground rule double, and as you said bounced back on the field. Nielsen stopped at second, thinking it was off the top of the fence and was ecstatic that it was a homer, putting Madison up 1-0.
    2. Watching the guys in Madison’s lineup, especially lower down in the order, absolutely flail at Schourek’s fastballs.
    3. Schourek’s bomb. Holy cow. I remember thinking that it hit those townhouses off behind Marshall’s RF fence. I certainly never saw a ball hit harder off of Nielsen, and I’m not sure i’ve ever seen too many harder hit balls in my lifetime.

    From what I remember, Schourek was such a good hitter than many pro teams wanted to draft him as a hitter (Dodgers stick in my mind in particular). You have to wonder what kind of career he would have had as a hitter. Many years on, his dad relayed a funny story to my dad about Pete’s hitting capabilities; when he made it to the majors it was on an NL team, so he got to hit. So the day of his start he went into the batting cage and started hitting bombs all over the place… and was immediately screamed at by a coach to “get the hell out of the cage so real hitters could practice.”

    As I understand it, Pete retired, bought a big house in Ashburn and still plays in a high-powered local basketball league … i had a separate friend who played D-I basketball at Villanova who plays against Schourek in the same league. Pete played Industrial league for a while, coming in for the playoffs and tournaments to throw gas. Not sure if he even plays anymore.

    Mike Nielsen got a full ride to BYU … turning down an offer to play for Miami, which was like the best college team at the time. He is Morman and felt the call. In Utah, he said he just could never get warmed up b/c it was always 40 degrees during their games .. he only felt decent once the season-ending tournament occurred (which was in Hawaii apparently). He topped out as an upper 80s guy. We played together up until we were about 21 in the local Credit Union league (the precursor to today’s industrial league) .. he’d pitch for us and then pitch for a Valley League team so he could get enough summer work. But that was it for him. I can find his player page at BYU but not much else; he certainly didn’t play any pro ball afterwards. Last saw him at the 10 year reunion.

    Here’s more useless information from that Vienna Little League team: their #2 behind Nielsen was a kid named David Haight. He was a monster on the field as a 12-yr old; big kid with a huge fastball who threw harder than Nielsen at the time. Its no wonder they dominated; having 2 unhittable pitchers was all you needed. I played fall-ball with Haight that fall as a 12-yr old but he was already drifting in terms of interest from the sport. He had quit before he turned 15. We found out after the fact that he may have been illegally playing in Vienna Little League; he was living in some apartments over in Merrifield which I don’t believe were Vienna territory, but which were just a few hundred yards from the complex of fields that the league used. Intersting, eh?

    Article on the SE regional final: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=950&dat=19830818&id=1QpZAAAAIBAJ&sjid=sFkDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5422,667015

    Todd Boss

    7 May 14 at 10:41 am

  8. Don’t know if you noticed that Mike Nielsen’s son made it back to the regional final or maybe it was the semis with Great Falls in 2012, not the pitcher his dad was but was an 11 yr old playing on the 12 yr old team, I always wondered who the #2 guy was, I thought it must have been Hans…interesting about the boundaries, I never knew any player who lived in Merrifield playing for FC and I don’t know who he would have played for legally besides Vienna…Falls Church in 83 had an excellent team because the league due to low enrollment/aging population collapsed into one league, for years it was FC National and FC American until 1983, and the Tysons Federal team was just as good maybe better so Vienna may have had its toughest games in the district, I think they just dominated the states, no close games and pretty much did the same at the regionals until Marietta, the scores of the FCs two losses to them were 4-2, 5-2 pretty respectable and Vienna American squeeked by Tysons Federal 1-0 in their district opening game…loved the newspaper article on the regional semis, I’ve searched and searched for a write-up about the final post game but can’t find one, here is a site you may find interesting if you haven’t already http://www.unpage.org LL historical results

    jb

    7 May 14 at 11:38 am

  9. Ha, no I had no idea about Nielsen’s kid and Great Falls! I knew Great Falls won the state last year and had a big run; had no idea he was part of that team.

    I have an interesting Little League boundary quandry myself right now: I live on a little tiny patch of land that is technically in Vienna, but is across the street one way to Reston and across the other cross street to Great Falls. My kid’s a few years away from playing … but I honestly don’t know which program he should play in. I guess we’ll figure it out when the time comes. All the vienna fields are on the complete other side of town, whereas the Great Falls fields are 5 minutes away.

    Todd Boss

    7 May 14 at 2:08 pm

  10. Hey Todd, found an article about the final game, thanks to the link you sent earlier you were right about the error/fluky play…sounded like a great game though

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=1wpZAAAAIBAJ&sjid=sFkDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6761%2C1287817

    jb

    12 May 14 at 10:42 am

  11. Thanks for digging up that newspaper, that’s awesome! My dad relayed a story to me over the weekend; he was at some random event and turns out he was sitting with a parent of a kid on that Marietta team who was at the game.

    Todd Boss

    12 May 14 at 1:24 pm

  12. haha, wow, was scouring the internet and came upon this rehash of the glory days. i’m a year or two younger than you guys (JMHS ’90), but when i was a sophomore, i played JV at madison (only that year) and was asked (told) to stand in the box in the gym while mike nielsen threw a bullpen. it was that moment that i realized i’d be doing something other than baseball for a living. LOL

    anyway, the full circle thing here is that my son is currently playing all stars for vienna little league, and they’ve had quite a run of their own. they’ve won the district three times, states twice, made it to the 10-11 regional final last year (yes, they have regionals for the younger kids now), and are headed off to states in a few days, as 12 year olds now.

    guess who our pitching coach was on my kid’s all star team this year? pete schourek. the wheel keeps spinning … 🙂

    red army dad

    18 Jul 16 at 3:26 pm

  13. Small world! I’m glad you found this 🙂 Its a small baseball world in Vienna for sure; i hope your kid keeps playing and gets to play for Pudge at Madison HS 🙂

    Todd Boss

    25 Jul 16 at 10:30 am

  14. I was looking down the internet rabbit-hole and found myself here. Man, i havent thought about this stuff in a long, long time. I pitched the final few innings against Vienna in the region final back in 1983…got the winning hit, too. Good times.

    Did you guys know the team from Virginia that played in the 13-15 Babe Ruth regionals in 1986?? We beat them twice, and i pitched the final 4 innings of the final against them. I won the world title game against Washington also in 1986 13-15 Babe Ruth. Glory Days, ah….

    We had quite a dynasty back in the 80’s. Little League in 83, Pony in 85, Babe Ruth in 86, Colt in 87 and i think they won one more after that, but i wrecked my knee in 87 and missed out…oh well. We were called East Cobb from 1985 onward, started quite a little baseball town.
    http://www.eastcobbbaseball.com/

    Eric Smith

    6 Oct 16 at 12:19 am

  15. Hi Eric, great to hear from you! What a small world, hearing from someone from the infamous (to us anyway) team that beat Vienna American in the regional final in 1983. I was not on that team but knew (and still know) many of the players. Vienna little league is so big that it was split into two leagues (American and National), so that all star team was only half the all stars from the Vienna little league system if you can believe.

    The two big pitchers for Vienna American were Mike Nielsen and David Haight. Nielsen was a star all the way through high school, turned down an offer to play at Miami and took a full ride to BYU. He never really succeeded there and I don’t think he pitched after college. Haight lost interest in the sport and was out of baseball by the time he was 14.

    Here’s what happened to that 1983 crew, year by year (Note; in the DC area we don’t have Pony or Colt leagues: at the time you went Little League->13yr old babe ruth league, then to a 14-15 babe ruth league. After that the elite played American Legion from 16-18 while the rest of us would play 16-18yr old babe ruth, which would have a 16-yr old all star competition and a 16-18yr old competition. Now adays though, travel baseball has gutted babe ruth and american legion; we barely have enough 16-18yr old babe ruth players to field one TEAM per town, let alone entire leagues).

    – In 1984, as 13-yr olds in babe ruth the combined all star team of players from both little league leagues won Virginia states again but faltered in the regionals.
    – In 1986, when all those guys were all 15, they lost in the Virginia state final to a neighboring team from Herndon/Reston (another city in the suburbs of Washington DC). This is the team you’re asking about presumably. I did not play in the game but was there to watch; Vienna had a one run lead and our pitcher (our #2 named David McCarey, who eventually played at Yale) was pitching a shutout into the bottom of the 7th … there he lost command, and with a tight zone walked the bases loaded. Pitching change, we brought in a guy named Hans Martinson (who was the SS on the Vienna American team and one of the best players of his time: he played at UVA and currently lives in Atlanta); he got two quick strikes but then gave up a grounder that I believe got booted for a 2-run walk-off error state championship for Herndon/Reston. Gut punch for Vienna, who thought this was the best shot to really advance far. That Herndon Reston team was led by A.J. Hernandez, who if you wnat do read about marquee players from this time period in the DC area in general for another rabbit hole reading go here: http://www.nationalsarmrace.com/?p=5626
    – After everyone turned 15 … they split up. The elite played for Vienna Post 180 American Legion and had some success. The rest of us scrubs played for Babe Ruth, where as 16-yr olds we won districts but lost in states, then as 17yr olds we hosted states again but lost in the final … again I believe to Herndon/Reston. I begged off the all star team as an 18yr old, burned out on baseball and ready to go to school.

    – I lost track of some of that 1983 team, but some I played with at various stops through out the years and into adult years. Some I keep up with at least on facebook til today. A couple guys played at UVA, one guy at William & Mary, one kid was a full ride to NC State (he was only 11 on that all star team but was a starter).

    – A core of those guys played together for Madison High School in Vienna, a very good local school even to this day. But there’s so many HSs in this area they got spread out. But the Madison high school teams from 1988 and 1989 when these guys all graduated were good but an incompetent coach really beguiled them from big time success. My 1988 high school team STARTED an entire 9 of players who played Div1 or went straight to Pro and couldn’t even get to the regional final.

    It must be cool to be down in your area now with Perfect Game and all the bigtime prep baseball. I follow it as much as I can for the Virginia and DC local areas.

    Anyway; thanks for the visit down memory lane!

    Todd Boss

    6 Oct 16 at 10:25 am

  16. Unfortunately, i only remember bits and pieces from back then, but i do remember that Vienna could hit. One vivid memory i have is giving up a long home-run to a kind of chubby kid with two strikes and i remember turning away in disgust as it sailed out of the park. I tried to throw a pitch up and out of the zone and, well, missed badly and the kid absolutely crushed it. Remember the old bat “pings?” Remember that “ping” sound when a guy really tagged one?? Yeah, i think if i sit quietly long enough i can still hear that “ping” 30 years later. Ugh.

    The hit i had to give us the lead was strange. Interestingly, like 2 pitches before i got the the hit, i drilled a fastball over the rightfield fence…foul. I hit the ball hard, a one-hopper that the pitcher tried to grab, but it went off his glove. The last thing i remember seeing was the pitcher and shortstop both going for the ball. I slid into first, turned around and the runner from second had just kept going and scored. You can call it “aggressive” from our end and “fluky” from Vienna’s end. I take nothing away from Vienna, they were really, really good, but they also had a first round bye and we were playing our 4th game. We beat everybody’s best pitcher in the regionals and to be fair, Vienna didnt have a chance against our best pitcher…but then again, nobody did.

    Marc Pisciotta may have been the most dominant Little League pitcher ever. He was 6’1 at 12yrs old. He threw in the mid-70s. I like to tell myself ive never been scared on a baseball field, but when i stood in against him when i was 12, there may have been parts of me shaking that i had no control over. He played for Cubs and i think a few other teams. He won the championship game against the Dominican Republic. Now, you wanna talk good. Those guys were good. Im guessing there were maybe a handful of kids who could have beat them. Luckily, we had one. Speaking of good, in the regionals, Louisiana lost to North Carolina 1-0, Chad Oega, who pitched several years in the pros, pitched a no-hitter for Louisiana and lost. He was so nasty that his own catcher couldnt catch him and he lost on a walk and 3 passed balls. I doubt many teams had a chance against him. The guy for the Dominican republic who pitched the semi-final against Japan, pitched a perfect game…lucky we didnt face him, cuz we had no chance. Sometimes it comes down to luck.

    The reason i mention the 13-15 team was because they had a pitcher that dominated us for 5 innings and they were leading 6-0 when he got tired in the sixth and we tied the score. I think we only had 2 hits against the guy before he got tired…they pulled him sometime in the sixth inning and we won it in the seventh when Pisciotta hit a home-run off the scoreboard of a minor league stadium. Legit 400ft shot for a 15yr old kid to win the game.

    I live in California now. I didnt find out about the craziness of East Cobb baseball until about 5yrs ago. All of the travel ball stuff looks good from the outside, but i think there is something to Little League and Pony and the other community-based leagues that travel ball cant offer. I liked the fact that we knew everyone and there was a tight-knit baseball community. It almost seems like minor league baseball with all the people coming and going on teams. I guess they are giving the people what they want. Whatever.

    It’s been great reminiscing about the old times. Thanks

    Eric Smith

    7 Oct 16 at 4:44 am

  17. I know i’ve seen links to PDF scans of the newspaper stories from that tourney in our local paper online, i just can’t find them right now. Here’s a link detailing all the scores: http://www.unpage.org/south/sr-1983.htm . Vienna had a bye, won 10-1, again 10-1 (over a team from Texas… man these regionals used to be packed) before the loss in the final.

    Here’s another link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDp5vlCvFrk on youtube highlights from your LLWS appearances. First kid on the screen was Pisciotta.

    The “chubby kid” who hit the homer was likely a fellow named Mike Nahan. Huge for 12yr old, by the time he was 15 he had stopped growing and was more of a football linebacker type. No idea what happened to him; i never played with him in all my years.

    I cannot disagree with your sentiments on travel baseball and what it is doing to community leagues. Here in DC they passed a very wise law; travel teams are not allowed to use public fields unless their kids also play official little league. That has ended the purging of the little league rosters. But once they turn 13, its a free for all. My bigger worry is about how travel baseball is putting the sport out of reach for less-fortunates. It costs thousands of dollars for these kids to play on these teams; multiple uniforms, tournaments every weekend in places that require overnight trips and hotel costs and eating in restaurants. And these kids are playing Way way too much baseball. 50 games in a summer instead of 18-20 like we played. Way too much wear and tear on young arms. It troubles me greatly, and I think it directly contributes to the arm injury epidemic we’ve seen and the lowering numbers of african americans who play the game. Jeff Passan’s book “The Arm” talks a lot about it, a lot about Perfect Game (the org based in East cobb), etc.

    Todd Boss

    7 Oct 16 at 9:11 am

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