The South Shore National team crushed Mercer Island, a Washington state squad representing the Northwest, by a score of 10-2 as former Yankee Mike Mussina, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a cheering squad of New Yorkers rooted them on to victory in the first round of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn.
"It means a lot," said Peter Lunarola, a parent of a little leaguer, who watched the game at a Nucci's restaurant on Staten Island. "They practice hard. They play hard. It's just unbelieveable."
Nick Pucciarelli knocked in four runs with a homer and a two-run triple, Angelo Navetta struck out nine in five-plus innings. James Morisano broke a scoreless tie in the third with a run-scoring single before Pucciarelli followed with a homer to right field for a 3-0 lead.
New York (1-0) added four more runs in the fourth, keyed by Pucciarelli's triple.
Navetta took a shutout into the sixth before Washington (0-1) scored twice, including an RBI double by Michael Bantle. Navetta left with one out when he reached his 65-pitch limit.
On Monday, the Staten Island squad racked up a 4-0 win against New Jersey's Somerset Hills squad in a nationally televised ESPN showdown to earn its berth in the World Series, and the right to face 16 of the best Little League squads in the world – eight from the United States and eight from other countries.
The group of 11- and 12-year-olds were selected for the all-star team in mid-June after the local Little League season ended. In 2006, the Mid-Island All-Star squad from Staten Island reached the World Series. But they lost three straight games and eliminated.
The last time a New York City Little League team won the World Series was in 1964.