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Unbeaten Generals Capture WBA Championship

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y – Zack Blot stood at home plate with the bases loaded, staring into a blinding sunset directly in his eyes. He took ball four, and walked to first base scoring Matt Halas with the winning run and lifting the White Plains Generals to a 4-3 extra-inning victory over the New Rochelle and the Westchester Baseball Association 10-under championship at D’Onofrio Park.

“I get nervous sometimes when the game is close, and it gets a little scary,” said Blot, who was the game’s starting pitcher. “But I just tried to stay calm. It was hard to see with the sun right behind the pitcher, but I got the walk. We had a great season.”

The Generals, a team of 9-and-under players entered in the upper age 10-under tournament, finished a near-perfect season with an 18-0-1 record and 3-0 run through the playoffs. They won all three games on the road, beating Scarsdale, Tuckahoe Youth Association and New Rochelle Braves for the title. Wednesday’s semifinal was a grueling 6-2 victory in 10 innings.

“These kids really played their hearts out and won two extra-inning games against very good teams,” Generals coach Wally Halas said. “I knew we had a good group from the beginning, so I’m not surprised that they played well. But they had showed real poise in the playoffs, winning against good 10-under teams.”

The Generals opened the scoring in the first inning when Collin Darcy and Blot each drove home a run for an early 2-0 lead. New Rochelle answered with two runs in the bottom of the second inning on back-to-back doubles by Tyler Bradshaw and Stephen Santarpia for a 2-2 tie.

Santarpia gave the Braves a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI double, scoring Bradshaw who had doubled before him.

In the top of the fourth inning, Khari Wilson reached on a single, stole a base and scored on a single by Tyler O’Brien and the score was tied 3-3. With the glaring sun setting behind the pitchers, neither team could mount a rally. Santarpia and Halas, each in relief for his team, matched each other over the next two innings and the game was deadlocked at 3-3 after six, fording extra innings.

In the top of the seventh, Halas dropped down a bunt and beat it out, Regan popped one over the second baseman’s head for a hit, and Darcy walked to load the bases for Blot, who stared down the sun and walked home the championship run.

“We couldn’t see the ball too well,” Darcy said. “We just wanted to get a run. We had a great season and it was another good game.”

Halas, who pitched six scoreless innings in Wednesday’s 10-inning game to earn that victory, closed out the Braves in the bottom of the seventh, leaving the tying run on second base for his second win in as many days.

“It was tough, but we did it,” said Halas. “We did really well for a 9-year-old team, I think. We’re really happy.”

The rest of the 10-under champions are: Brandon Flissler, Caleb Gillen, Matt Gjokaj, Justin Hanratty, Matt Kelly, Christian Koutsoubis, Aiden McDonough, Justin DiSavino and Joey Portanova.

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