2013 52+ American

“This one is for the Sorrentino family,” exclaimed D’Andria

Andrea’s Yankees 7, Long Island Yankees 3

By Chris Errington, special to MSBLNational.com

Jupiter, Fla., Nov. 9, 2013 – This time Cinderella wore blue, spoke with a distinctive dialect and was playing for the memory of a dear friend.

The Yankees, hailing from Long Island, had sent teams to the Fall Classic for 13 years without making a championship game appearance, let alone winning a title. This year in the 52+ American division, changing their name to Andrea’s in remembrance of close friend Andrew Sorrentino, the father of a family owned restaurant chain in New York State who died in 2009, the Yankees finally earned their rings.”It’s been a lot of years, a lot of teams and a lot of preparation,” Andrea’s Yankees manager Joe D’Andria said. “[The restaurant family] has always taken care of us, so we wanted to do this for them.

“We’ve wanted this for a long time.”

Thanks to an import from Chicago, and a four-run first inning, the long wait for a championship is finally over. Alden Stiefel, who plays in the Chicago MSBL and had just won a championship in Arizona, pitched a six-hitter and retired 15 of the final 16 hitters in a 7-3 victory.

“I felt pretty good today,” Stiefel said. “I wanted to keep the ball down and mix in my off-speed pitches, because these guys really jump on fastballs. The big early lead was huge, because I’m used to pitching close games and that allowed me to relax and just make pitches.”

For D’Andria, there was never a doubt about who would get the ball for the title game.

“We lost so many pitchers before the tournament that we had four guys left and one who could throw the ball,” he said. “I knew we had a great offense and good defense, so it was going to come down to pitching for us.

“When you play against a team that you play at home and you know each other so well, you know the team to jump out first is going to have a huge advantage. After that, Alden was brilliant.”

Chuck Korn, Jerry Diliberti, Bruce Grossman, Cory Levy and D’Andria led off the game with consecutive hits with Levy’s single and D’Andria’s double plating three runs. An RBI ground out plated another and suddenly, the team that had never sniffed a title game appearance was ahead, 4-0.

Levy, who finished 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple and drove in another run in the third for a 5-1 lead, was named co-MVP with Larry Zackman, whose two-out RBI single to right in the eighth pushed the advantage to 6-3 and quashed hopes of a Long Island comeback.

“Alden said when it was 5-3, ‘Get me two more runs and it’s over,’ ” D’Andria said. “He was right.”

For the Long Island Yankees and manager Bernie Ellison it was the fourth championship game loss in four years including three losses – 2010, 2011, 2013 – at the Fall Classic. It also came just weeks after the team lost in the 50 Central championship game at the MSBL World Series in Arizona.

“They took advantage of their opportunities and we didn’t,” Ellison said. “I thought [losing pitcher Bob Seroski] did a great job of settling down after that first inning.

“It’s tough to give up four in the first and have to battle back, but our guys did a good job. We just couldn’t get back all the way.”

Andrea’s Yankees reached the finals on the heels of a 4-0-1 round robin record and playoff wins over the Montgomery Yankees (17-5) and Long Island Athletics (12-1). The top-seeded Long Island Yankees were 5-0 in round-robin play before defeating the Palm Beach Tropics (9-2) and Austin Express (11-3) in the playoffs.

When the hugs had been shared and the championship photos taken, D’Andria knew there was only one more matter of business to handle.

“My first call will be to the [Andrea’s] family,” he said. “This trophy is going to them.”