Game 19: Mid-Atlantic 8 vs. Midwest 3

Staten Electricity
Staten Island, N.Y. (2-1) clinches second place in Pool A and a spot in Wednesday’s U.S. semifinal with 8-3 win over Urbandale, Iowa (1-2)

Author: Mark Rogoff - Special Correspondent

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Monday, August 24, 2009, 8:00pm ET

The Mid-Atlantic champs from Staten Island, N.Y. were cruising right along in the Little League Baseball World Series after their 10-2 win over Mercer Island, Wash. in the Pool A opener Friday.

The offense picked up where it left off in the regional tournament in Bristol, Conn., where it scored 42 runs in six games for an average of seven a game.

Then in their second contest in World Series pool play, Staten Island managed just three runs in a 6-3 defeat against Warner Robins, Ga. on Saturday.

“That wasn’t a hiccup,” Staten Island manager Michael Zaccariello said. “That [Justin] Jones is a quality pitcher. I don’t want to take anything away from him.”

So without proclaiming a hiccup, Staten Island kept on rolling in its pool play finale Monday evening against the Midwest champs from Urbandale, Iowa as if an offensive lull had never occurred. In the win-and-you’re-in game with Urbandale, Staten Island posted an 8-3 victory before 16,900 Little League fans at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

Staten Island (2-1) moves on to Wednesday’s United States semifinal against the first-place team from Pool B, which will be determined Tuesday night.

“They got the right rest and they were ready to go,” Zaccariello said.

Anthony Scotti’s RBI double with two outs in the first opened the scoring. Staten Island made it 2-0 in the third when James Morisano scored on Michael Russell’s two-out slow roller to third baseman Spencer Sturges, who bobbled the ball for an error.

The Mid-Atlantic champs tacked on two more runs in the fourth, when Scotti and Nicholas Vitale both connected for run-scoring singles.

Vincent Quinn then put the punctuation mark on the win with a towering three-run homer in the sixth. That came after Angelo Navetta’s solo homer made it 5-0 to lead off the inning.

“Going 0-for-3, I had to pick up my game a little,” Navetta said of his home run after struggling in his earlier at-bats.

“I let the curveball travel deep [in the zone], and I dropped my hands and it went,” Quinn said of his long ball.

The offensive effort helped make a winner out of starter Michael Rapaglia, who allowed three hits over four scoreless innings. He struck out seven and walked one, getting relieved six pitches shy of the 85-pitch limit.

“Pags was the man tonight,” Zaccariello said. “He’s won a couple big games for us. I’m real proud of him.”

Trae Cropps’s solo homer in the bottom of the sixth off reliever Morisano ended the shutout bid. Spencer Sturges’s two-run single later in the inning closed out the scoring at 8-3.

Urbandale threatened only one other time, loading the bases with two outs in the fourth on a hit batsman, a bunt single and a walk. But Rapaglia got Robert VanderLinden to strike out swinging.

“I wanted to win so I tried my best,” Rapaglia said.

“It would help if he showed emotion,” Quinn said of Rapaglia. “He was in a groove and he threw strikes.”

With its 5-3 triumph over Mercer Island, Wash. Sunday at Volunteer Stadium, Urbandale became the first Iowa team to win a World Series game since the field expanded to 16 teams in 2001 after four previous clubs went winless.

“The boys battled,” said Urbandale manager Scott Grau. “We were looking for that spark to happen, and it never came. I couldn’t be prouder of the way they conducted themselves.”