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White Plains duo helps Elmsford win District title

SILVER LAKE, N.Y. -- Once Andrew Scheinert crossed first base and pinch runner Eric Last scored, a celebration erupted at Silver Lake Park Saturday. Scheinert delivered the walk-off hit that scored Last with the game-winning run, giving Elmsford a 5-4 victory and the District 20 Little League Baseball Junior championship.

This is Elmsford’s initial junior title and the league’s first District 20 crown since 2006. Elmsford advances to the six-team Section 4 Championship beginning Friday, July 22 through Monday, July 25.

Elmsford has a bye and will meet the District 17 (Orange and Sullivan Counties)-District 19 (Southern Dutchess County) winner, Saturday, July 23, 10 a.m.

Aahan Naik led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a triple to the gap in right center and Last entered for him. Scheinert, who had bounced back to Kensico pitcher Robby Lane in the first inning, was ahead in the count, 2-1.

“All I wanted to do was put the ball in play and not do too much,” said Scheinert, 13, and an eighth-grader-to-be at Edgemont Junior/Senior High School. “I was looking for a strike and the pitch was right down the middle.”

Scheinert drove the ball between first and second and raced to first base as Last charged home and slid in. Elmsford had evened the score at 4-4 in the sixth inning as Nicolas Petrilli led off with a double. Eric Paolicelli was safe on an error and Petrilli, who never stopped running, rounded third and came home.

Elmsford put itself in a position to win as a result of consecutive putouts at home, in the fourth and fifth innings. Both times, catcher Alex Segnini came up big. In the fourth, Kensico had a runner on third with one out against Paolicelli. On a one-hopper to shortstop Gawayne Stockton, a White Plains resident, he threw home to Segnini who put the tag on Steven Kopicki.

In the sixth inning with runners on second and third, Alex Gannon lifted a fly to Petrilli in center. After making the catch, he threw a line drive to the plate that pitcher Matt Webster cut off. He flipped to Segnini, who caught the toss and, with his left leg positioned perfectly to obstruct the plate, tagged out Craig Pullum.

“I was expecting him to come home and we wanted to make that play,” said Segnini, 13, and an eighth-grader to be at Sacred Heart in Hartsdale of the Stockton throw. “Gawayne made a nice throw. It was down so all I had to do was put the tag on the runner.”

Segnini thought about instructing Webster not to cut the throw from Petrilli then decided against it. “He was already there and had he not cut it off it could have taken a bounce high off the field because it is turf,” Segnini said. “When I put the tag down I made sure my left knee was down to block the plate.”

Scheinert knew Petrilli was going to come up throwing home on that flyball. “With Nick’s arm, I felt we had a really good chance of getting the runner at home,” Scheinert said. “Those plays were huge because it is a totally different game if you are down two runs instead of one.”

Following the game, Elmsford ran down the right-field line with its championship banner then walked back, stopping to talk to parents and friends along the way. “This feels really great because Elmsford hasn’t won in five years,” Segnini said.

Kensico grabbed a 4-3 lead with three runs in the second inning, highlighted by a Jesse Williams two-run double, scoring pinch runner Ray Hiraldo and Tyler Glover. Williams came in on an error. Elmsford scored three runs in the first inning as Brian Malone, a White Plains resident, and Stockton both singled and scored, as did Petrilli.

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