THORNWOOD, N.Y. – Following a scoreless first inning Saturday, Elmsford pitcher Matt Delucci made a change in his pitching approach. The adjustment led Delucci to pitch four scoreless, no-hit innings, leading Elmsford to a 13-3 win over Eastchester in a losers bracket game of the District 20 Little League Baseball Minors Championship at Volunteer Field.
Elmsford will play Ardsley at 5:45 p.m. Monday at Pat Henry Field in Valhalla. The winner of that game advances to the losers bracket final at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at Gedney Field in White Plains.
“I was a little nervous coming into a tournament game knowing I was going to be the starting pitcher,” said the 10-year-old sixth-grader-to-be at Sacred Heart School. “I walked the first batter, so that was not a good start. After I got out of the inning, I decided to change the way I was usually pitching.”
Delucci went on to strike out five.
“I just changed the grip on my fastball,” Delucci said. “I actually thought about it before the game. Starting in the second inning, I felt much more relaxed.”
While Delucci was silencing Eastchester’s bats, Elmsford's offense was collecting runs, grabbing a 9-0 lead through four innings.
Kozuma Sato went 4-for-4, including three doubles, and scored three runs. Devin Gialleonardo had two hits, including a double and an RBI. Jason Oppong and Santino Amendola each scored two runs and Patrick Smith collected two hits.
“We hit the ball very well today,” said Delucci, who cracked two doubles. “We were making good contact, driving the ball and we kept driving in runs.”
Dom Mancuso had a run-scoring double for Eastchester in a three-run fifth inning. Ryan Majerle and Kotaro Mortasu each had RBI singles.