A summer to remember

The 8U Overlook Black Sox finished fifth at the Roberto Clemente 2014 World Series held in McDonough, Ga. –CONTRIBUTED
The 8U Overlook Black Sox finished fifth at the Roberto Clemente 2014 World Series held in McDonough, Ga. –CONTRIBUTED

This summer has been special one that the 8U Overlook Black Sox will remember for a lifetime.

The Black Sox returned home Sunday from the Roberto Clemente 2014 World Series held in McDonough, Ga. The Black Sox finished fifth in the nation out of 600 teams that held high hopes of being one of the final eight teams in the World Series.

The 2014 Connecticut and North Atlantic Regional Champions headed to Georgia with a 26-1 record. They packed their bags last week and made the 2,000 mile round trip to play in the World Series against seven other regional champions, including the champs from Puerto Rico.

“When we pulled into the hotel parking lot we saw several of the other families over by the pool area and they were whooping it up already,” Overlook head coach and Naugatuck resident Orlando Ortiz said.

Ortiz said the city rolled out the red carpet for the little sluggers and his players loved meeting the other players and exchanging pins.

“The city of McDonough and its residents really made the boys feel so special as they went all out hosting this World Series. They held a welcoming party at the downtown Green where the mayor introduced the teams,” Ortiz said. “The kids had a great time meeting the players from the other teams and exchanging pins that commemorated the World Series.”

As part of the festivities, the World Series committee held a home run derby along, a skills competition and an “around the horn” drill. Jeremy Ortiz, Mikey Deitelbaum and Logan Brown represented the Black Sox in the Home Run Derby. Ortiz sent two out of the yard and Deitelbaum cleared the fences with a line-drive homer.

Braden Russell, Tyler Blumetti, Ryan Hammarlund and Darren Gasparri were entered in the skills competition. The boys showed off their skills in the field by catching a fly ball then throwing it in to hit a target set up at home plate.

Miggy DeRosa, Brennan Cail, Nate Northrop and Trace Johnpiere joined teammates Ryan Ponte, Tyler Gibson, and Michael Strachan along with Russell and Blumetti in the around the horn drill.

“The coaches got to pitch to their players for the Home Run Derby,” Ortiz said. “I was so excited for the kids they were having so much fun.”

Later in the day the Black Sox played their first game of the World Series and faced off against a team from Cincinnati. It was smooth sailing early on. Overlook held a 6-1 lead in the fourth inning when Cincinnati struck back. A grand slam and a two-run homer ignited the rally and the Black Sox came up on the short end of an 11-7 final margin.

On July 25 Overlook tasted the sweet spoils of victory in a 9-1 mercy rule win over New Mexico. Cail, Ponte and Northrop split the duties on the mound to hold off New Mexico.

The Black Sox offense was in high gear as Jeremy Ortiz knocked in Darren Gasparri with a first-inning run. In the third Overlook took control of the game plating six runs.

Gasparri got his second hit of the game and Logan Brown drew a walk. Ortiz belted a two-run hit and Deitelbaum and Strachan delivered run-scoring hits. Blumetti and DeRosa added RBIs for a seven-run advantage.

Deitelbaum collected his second hit of the game and came around to score on a sacrifice from Hammarlund for the final run in the 9-1 victory.

Overlook went on to face Michigan in the second game of the day and fell by a 5-1 margin to end the World Series run.

Coach Ortiz, assistants Mike Brown, Darren Gasparri and Mike Minervino and team mom Melissa Ortiz were out in left field after the game consoling the players, when the tournament director showed up to offer his congratulations — Overlook was voted by the umpires and the board of directors the C.O. Brown Sportsmanship Award winners.

The team is comprised of players from area towns and has a large local presence. Jeremy Ortiz, Deitelbaum and Russell call Naugatuck home, while Gasparri, Strachan and Gibson hail from Prospect. Cail is a Cheshire resident. Brown, Hammarlund, Blumetti, Johnpiere, Jonathan Diogostine, DeRosa, Northrop and Ponte are from Waterbury.