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Grand Island Little League Baseball Mission: to provide baseball and softball
to the youth of Grand Island, to build good citizens, sportsmanship, leadership and teamwork.

Little League Season: May through July.

The League has 55 teams with games for house teams and tournament teams (All-Stars). There are 700 girls and boys
between the ages of 5 and 18 and 700 families involved in promoting youth activities.

Project ideas: batting cage at Veterans Park, working with Garden Clubs to beautify Veterans Park.

Girls U12 Softball 2004 District 1 Championship - August 2004

Pictured from left are (front) Kelly Stark, Kasey Sumner, Kate Boutet, Victoria Cacciatore; (2nd row) Jill Greinert, Abby Englert, Maria Guidotti, Emma Henderson, Coach Cacciatore, Jamie Sobieski, Shannon Moody, Mary Beth Scherrer. Not pictured: coaches Nancy Stark and Joe Henderson.

   This year's U12 All-Star Team defeated the Mel-Ott All Stars from Tonawanda to become District 1 champions. The second round of this Little League tournament was held in Alabama, NY. Grand Island was eliminated by District 2 champions from Fredonia. Congratulations to the U12 All Stars for a successful tournament.

Phillies Win Major Division Title and Championship - August 2004

Pictured from left are (front) Tom Sommer, Dave Campuzano, Alex Killian, Steve Henderson, Korey Hagen; (2nd Row) Brian Bobak, Jason Caldwell, Tyler Hinaman, Jeff Bellanca, Anthony Russell, Jon Anderson, Vinny Spada; (top) Coaches Rich Gurbacki, Kirk Hinaman, Mark Bellanca and Kevin Hagen. Missing from the photo is Zack Kelly.
     Click Photo For Larger View

   The Phillies won the Grand Island Little League Major Division league title and playoff Championship for 2004. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 6-5 in the semifinals and the Tigers 3-0 in the championship. The Marlins were leading 5-2 going into the bottom of the last inning when the Phillies rallied for three runs to tie the game on clutch singles by Korey Hagen, Steve Henderson and Brian Bobak. The Phillies then won in the seventh inning when Jeff Bellanca tripled in Dave Campuzano. Jeff Bellanca and Tyler Hinaman then combined on a one hit shutout and Korey Hagen had the game winning RBI in the championship game.
   The Phillies played well as a team all year, with every player contributing to the league title. Jeff Bellanca led the pitching with 94 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched. Jeff also batted over .600 with 15 extra base hits. Tyler Hinaman also had a batting average over .600 while pitching well. Korey Hagen batted .448 with an on base percentage over .550, while playing very well in the field at every position he played. Dave Campuzano provided the team with aggressive play and hustle. Dave batted over .400 and also pitched well. Anthony Russell played extremely well at catcher while contributing nine extra base hits. Jason Caldwell proved to be a valuable first baseman. Jonathan Anderson and Vinny Spada made spectacular catches in the last inning of games to give a victory to the Phillies, while Steve Henderson proved to be very steady in the field and at bat. Zack Kelly was a strong fielder who could always make the big play when needed and Brian Bobak saved one game with his plays backing up throws. Tom Sommers made plays no matter what position he played, and proved to be very valuable as a utility player. Alex Killian, playing his first year of baseball in three years, was the most improved player on the team. Alex's enthusiastic attitude was a large part of the Phillies' success. The Phillies ended up with an overall record of 18-7 and were champions because each and every player contributed and supported each other.

Little League's 8-year-old All Stars Win Championship - August 2004

Pictured from left are (front) Bradley Gibson, Jacob Burford, Tanner Atkinson, Bryce Callen, Jacob Sweeney, Tommy Corrao, Joey Beauchamp; (2nd Row) Melissa Gibson, Tom Doctor, Mark Hughes, Matt Kelly, Quinn Corrao, Nick McKenna; (top) Coaches Jeff Burford, James Corrao and Todd Callen.
     Click Photo For Larger View

Grand Island Little League's 8-year-old All Star team was victorious in the 2004 Lewiston and Porter baseball championships held the first weekend in August. After a hard fought 13-11 semi-final win over Cayuga placed them in the finals, the team bats came alive. GI downed NT in the finals, 20-11, hitting an incredible .705 for the game, with every player on the team scoring at least one run. A true team victory!

Little League's 9-Year-Old All Stars Win Connie Mac Tournament - July 2004

Grand Island Little League's 9-year-old All Stars won the Connie Mac Baseball tournament held July 19- 25, 2004 in Amherst. The team, Blue Jays - Minors, coached by Don Kilian and Anthony Yarussi, also won the Minor League and playoff. Photos show (left) the Island team waiting for their awards, (middle) Coaches Don Kilian and Anthony Yarussi, group photo (front left) Ryan Ross, Donny Kilian, Peter Chopra; (2nd row) Sam Colao, Anthony Zogaria (who had a grand slam home run in one game!), Zach Manuszewski, James Rustowicz, Team Assistant Kevin Salonek, Corey Adamschick, (top) Coach Anthony Yarussi, Anthony Yarussi (son), Coach Don Kilian, Elijah Geis, Collin McMahon, and Tom McMahon (dad).
Maura Rustowicz Photos - click top photos for larger view

Fantastic Games Bring Victory!
Little League 9/10 All-Star Girls Win District 1 Tournament - July 2004
   The Grand Island Little League All-Star Girls (9-10 years) won the Little League District 1 Tournament over the weekend (July 24-25, 2004).
   Game one versus Mel-Ott, GI won 14-2 behind the no hit pitching of Susan Winkelstein.
   Game two versus Amherst, GI won 12-1 behind the no hit pitching of Christina Ward.
   Championship Game versus Mel-Ott, Gi won 10-0. Emily Jones pitched a two hit shutout.
   The girls will move on to compete for the regional title in Syracuse this weekend.
    Team Roster: Jessica Amsdill, Laura Amantia, Megan Ambellan, Kaleigh Deuser, Sydney Dudish, Paige Kippley, Taylor Kozlowski, Susan Winkelstein, Emily Jones, Ariana Mendel, Jessica Bamberg, Megan Karpie, Krissy Montaldi and Christina Ward.
   Team coaches are Joe Amsdill, Rich Karpie, Mike Jones, Dave Ambellan and Lisa Amsdill.

Little League Receives $1000 From Swanick - May 2004
   Grand Island Little League received $1,000 from Erie County Legislator Charles M. Swanick which was used to buy 300 batting helmets, according to Little League president Peter Pitts. The league has 670 participants ranging in age from 5 to 17.

Little League 2004 Opening Day Postponed One Week - May 8, 2004
   Grand Island Little League's Opening Day, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 1, 2004, has been postponed to Saturday, May 8 due to field conditions. Ceremonies and award presentations will take place at Veteran's Park, Bedell Road, beginning at 12 Noon. For more information, click Official Grand Island Website.

Little League 2004 Registration
Check Out
   Registration for Grand Island Little League baseball and softball is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 14, 2004 and Saturday, February 21 in the Grand Island Memorial Library. Registration is open to boys ages five through 18 and to girls ages five through 16. First-year players must be at least five years old prior to August 1, 2004. Registration forms are available at Grand Island Little League's new website,

GI Little League's Yankees Win 2003 Major Playoffs

Yankees teammates are (kneeling) Tim Krecisz, Matt Magee; (1st row) Luke Rodgers, Pat Antonelli, Dan McKenna, Mike Karpie, Adam Helman, Pat Winters and Anthony Aughtman; (2nd row) Coach Kyle Gibbs, Jacob Leffler, Manager Rich Winters, Coach Ron Aughtman. Missing from the photo are Jake Bass and Jared Northup.

   The Yankees beat the Braves 7-1 to win the 2003 major players championship.
   Pat Winters went the distance pitching 6 innings with 13 strikeouts, allowing only 1 run and three hits. Winters also had 2 RBIs and scored twice. Adam Helman had an RBI and scored twice. Matt Magee had a double while Luke Rodgers had a couple of nice defensive plays at third. Shaun Winter and Shawn Vanderbrook had hits for the Braves, with Winter scoring the only run on a couple of stolen bases.

12-year-old All-Star Team - July 2003

(left) 12-Year-Old All Star Team members are (kneeling) Coach Rick Winters, Coach Gary Winter; (2nd row) Shawn Vanderbrook, Tom Meka, Casey Deuser, Shaun Winter and Billy Palumbo; (3rd row) Pat Winters, Joe Oliverio, Drew Winkel, Kyle Thompson, Manager Rich Winters, Justin Vanderbrook and Adam Helman. Missing from the photo is Coach Kyle Gibbs.

These five GI 12-year-old stars have been known as the "Chubb Club" since the team started playing as 9-year-olds. They account for the majority of pitching, catching and home runs on the team. Together they accounted for 17 home runs in the GI house league this past season.
The Grand Island 12-year-old All-Star team traveled to Huck Finn, Elmira to compete in the New York State Little League Williamsport Sections. Huck Finn hosted District 1-8 winners, with Grand Island representing District 1 as champions (see photo).
   Grand Island drew District 4 winner Pittsford South for the single game elimination tournament July 19, 2003. After two and 1/2 scoreless innings, Shaun Winter got the team's first hit with a perfect bunt down the third base line with two outs in the bottom of the third. Billy Palumbo then hit a solid single to left field followed by Shawn Vanderbrook hitting a towering 3-run home run to provide all of the game's scoring - a GI 3-0 victory. Shawn Vanderbrook also pitched the entire game allowing only one hit, 0 runs and had 7 strikeouts.
   In the semifinal game on July 20th, GI went up against Vestal and lost 6-2 ending their hopes to make a repeat visit to the state finals as they did as 10-year-olds. Vestal scored 3 runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings (only 3 earned) on a couple of throwing errors by GI. Notables in the loss were Justin Vanderbrook's solo home run and Pat Winters' solid double to the center field fence. Shaun Winter scored the other run for GI stealing home in the third inning.
   These boys will finish out the year playing at home in the GI tournament July 28-August 2. They are also playing in the North Tonawanda Tournament in mid August. Coaches for the team urge Island residents to "please come out and watch as these boys are good!"

12-year-old All-Stars Off To State Sectional - July 2003

Barbi Lare Photo - click photo for larger view
   The Grand Island 12-year-old All-Star team advance to the State Sectional in Huck Finn, Elmira, after winning the District 1 Championship, held at North Tonawanda.
    On Wednesday night (7/9), G.I. faced North Tonawanda in the final game on the winner's bracket. G.I. trailed the entire game falling behind 3-1 and 6-3 before rallying to win 7-6 in the bottom of the last inning. Shawn Vanderbrook was the star of the game, pitching all six innings, with 10 strikeouts, 2 walks and allowing only 7 hits. Shawn was also 3 for 4 at bat, 2 runs batted in, double and scored twice. Other notables in the win were Shawn Winter, 1 for 2 at bat (triple), an RBI and one run scored. Joe Oliverio was 1 for 2, at bat, (double), 2 RBIs and one run scored. Pat Winters was 1 for 3 with 1 RBI and had 2 put outs from behind the plate on stealing attempts. Chris Podlucky scored the winning run on the game winning hit from Shawn Vanderbrook with two outs in the bottom of the last inning.
   Grand Island then faced Lockport (winners of the loser bracket), on Sunday afternoon, July 13 2003. Grand Island fell behind, 4-3, but had an explosive fifth inning when they scored 5 runs to take an 8-4 lead, which was the final score. Justin Vanderbrook pitched 4-innings and Joe Oliverio came in to pitch the last two inning in relief. Joe struck out 4 and didn't allow a run. Other notables were Shawn Vanderbrook who was 1 for 3 - a three run homer; Joe Oliverio was 2 for 2 with 1 RBI and one run scored; Drew Winkel was 2 for 3 - 2 doubles and 3 RBIs. Pat Winters was 2 for 3 with one double, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored. Thomas Meka scored the game winning run. Grand Island will travel to Huck Finn, Elmira, to compete in the N.Y. State Sectionals. Districts 1 through 8 will play in a single elimination format starting on July 19, 2003. The winner will advance to the N.Y. State Finals in Auburn.
   Drew Winkel, Shawn Winter, Shawn Vanderbrook and Joe Oliverio all hit .500 or better in the District 1 series.
   Team Players Shawn Winter, Billy Polumbo, Shawn Vanderbrook, Justin Vanderbrook, Joe Oliverio, Pat Winters, Drew Winkel, Kyle Thompson, Chris Podlucky, Tom Meka, Adam Helman and Casey Deuser.
   Coaches: Rich Winters, Gary Winter and Kyle Gibbs.

Grand Island Little League Opens 2003 Season

Barbi Lare Photos - Click for larger view

   Grand Island Little League Opening Day was held Saturday, May 10, 2003 at Veteran's Park. Awards were presented to the following:
  • Baseball
    David M. Haller Jr. Memorial Baseball Award - Matt McKenna, Matt Klock (Major MVP)
    Alen T. Potter Memorial Baseball Award - Jake Sweeney (Peewee Sportsmanship)
    Mathew D. Potter Memorial Baseball Award - Tyler Cooney (International Sportsmanship)
    Robert B. Luther Memorial Baseball Award - Scott Susczynski (Minor Sportsmanship)
  • Softball
    Grand Island Little League International Sportsmanship Award - Alison Donahue
    Grand Island Little League Minor Sportsmanship Award - Leah Gangloff
    Grand Island Little League Major MVP Award - Erica Raepple
       Grand Island Little League presented scholarships to former Little League players who are going to pursue college careers and have shown success on the field, in the classroom and in the community. The following scholarships were announced:
    Grand Island Little League Scholar-Athlete Awards - Kyle Moody (Buffalo State); Tom Digati (SUNY Fredonia or Canisius - 4th year)

    Little League 2003 Registration
       Registration for Grand Island Little League baseball and softball is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 15, 2003 and Saturday, February 22 in the Grand Island Memorial Library. Registration is open to boys ages five through 18 and to girls ages five through 16. First-year players must be at least five years old prior to August 1, 2003. Registration forms are available at the library and town recreation office. For more information cal John Meka at 773-2238 or Mike Beauchamp at 773-7649.

    GI Ten-Year-Old All Stars Go Undefeated In Tournament

       Grand Island Little League's Ten-Year-Old All Star team went undefeated in winning the North Tonawanda Classic last weekend (August 24-25, 2002). They defeated North Tonawanda, Mel Ott, Lockport, Orchard Park and then Mel Ott again in the Championship game. Marvin Pawlowski batted .706 for the tournament and pitched six strong innings, striking out 12 in the championship game. Jeff Bellanca batted .789 including a three-run home run over the left field fence in a 5-2 victory over Lockport. Joel Klock was the winning pitcher in two games, while batting .667. Joe Fischer played great at shortstop and was valuable as a leadoff hitter.
       Brett Dlugosz was strong defensively at catcher and contributed five hard hit doubles in the tournament. Bobby Ross pitched a complete game victory against Lockport striking out eight. Nick Russo proved valuable both at third base and at the bat. Korey Hagen made several key plays in the field including a diving catch, which resulted in a double play against Mel Ott. Mike Sperrazza again was strong in centerfield with several outstanding catches. Chris Gibney had a strong tournament including key hits in several of the games. Chris Moody batted well including a double against rival NT. Mike Larry was 2 for 3 in the championship game.
       The Ten-Year-Old All Star team completed another stellar season, winning the district championship and their first regional game against Auburn 12-5, before losing to Jamesville-Dewitt 8-4. Jamesville-Dewitt ended up third in New York State. The Grand Island All Stars have won every local tournament they have entered for the last two years.

    Little League Season 2002 In Full Swing

    Barbi Lare Photos

    Click for larger view.

       Grand Island Little League activities, previously planned for May 2, 2002, were postponed due to extremely wet fields. Opening Day began in earnest Saturday, May 11, 2002 with Little League games on all levels being played. Official ceremonies were held at noon when all the teams and honored guests lined the base lines. Firemen and paramedics, State, Erie Co. and Grand Island Police were honored as representatives of today's heroes. Individuals were also honored for their past performances in Little League activities.
       Then came the call for "Play Ball," as Supervisor Peter McMahon and Erie Co. Legislator Chuck Swanick threw out the 'first' balls. All available fields were in use as the summer season of baseball began on Grand Island.

    Little League 2002 Opening Day POSTPONED to This Saturday, May 11th
       Grand Island Little League officials have postponed the opening of the 2002 baseball season due to wet grounds. The annual Little League Opening Day ceremonies will be held noon, Saturday, May 11, 2002 with an awards and scholarship presentation in Veterans Park. Local police, the Fire Company and emergency agencies will also be honored. Games will begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue throughout the day. For more information, call John Meka, 773-2238.

    Little League 2002 Registration    Representatives of Grand Island Little League will hold baseball sign-up from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 2 and Saturday, February 16 in the Grand Island Memorial Library. Registration may also be made by mail with applications available at the Library and the Town Recreation Department, 3278 Whitehaven Road, or print your application form HERE! All applications must be received by March 2, 2002.

    Island 9-yr.-olds Win Midtown Tournament
    Grand Island Little League's nine-year-old All-Star team champions are: (front left) Chris Moody, Marvin Pawlowski, Joey Fischer, Korey Hagen; (middle) Chris Gibney, CJ Gilson, Brett Dlugosz, Joel Klock, Jason Caldwell, Jeff Bellanca, Nick Russo; (top) Coaches Sam Russo, Mark Bellanca and Chris Gibney. (Click photo for larger view).

          The Grand Island Little League's nine-year-old All-Star team won the 10-and-under Midtown 4th of July baseball tournament last weekend (June 30-July 1, 2001) in Niagara Falls. The GI nine's won their first game 7-1 against the Grand Island - White team. Marvin Pawlowski with two hits and Christopher Gibney with two RBI's led the hitters while Joel Klock pitched six strong innings allowing only one hit while striking out 14. Next up was a strong LaSalle team. GI won 6-5 which ended on a great defensive play by Joey Fischer with two out in the bottom in the sixth inning with a runner on third. Jeff Bellanca pitched a complete game allowing five hits, striking out 8 and walking only one. Christopher Moody, Klock, Bellanca and Gibney each had two hits while Nick Russo added a triple. Next up for Grand Island was Whirlpool for the Championship. This game went backand forth, Fischer pitching the first three innings, with Russo pitching the final three for the win. Grand Island was down 7-6 going into the last of the sixth inning when Gibney tripled and was driven in by Fischer who singled. Then Bellanca tripled in Fischer for the game and tournament winner. Fischer had three hits while Klock and Korey Hagen each had two. Brett Dlugosz caught all three games and had many outstanding defensive plays. Jason Caldwell, Bobby Rutland and CJ Gilson also helped defensively.

    Here are some pictures from June 2, 2001 weekend's Little League action

    (photo credit Mike Mehltretter)

    Little League Season Opens - 2001       Grand Island Little League celebrated opening day on Saturday, May 5, with an awards ceremony at 12 noon under sunny, yet breezy, skies. Grand Island dignitaries in attendance included Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, Council Member Mike Heftka, Council Member Dick Crawford, Council Member Mary Cooke and Town Clerk Nancy Samrany. Assemblyman Hoyt was honored with throwing out the first baseball, while Barbi Lare held the same honor throwing out the first softball.
       Also in attendance was Margaret Ann Haller to present to Luke DeLuca (Major MVP) the David M. Haller Jr. Memorial Baseball Award in memory of her son. Mrs. Potter, mother of the Potter brothers, was also at the park to present the awards in remembrance of her sons. The Alen T. Potter Memorial Baseball Award was presented to Kevin Dillen (Peewee Sportsmanship) and the Matthew D. Potter Memorial Baseball Award was awarded to Bobby Ross (International Sportsmanship). The Cpl. Robert B. Luther Memorial Baseball Award went to Matthew Ward (Minor Sportsmanship).
           The following softball awards were presented:
       9-10 year old (Minor) Grand Island Little League Sports manship Award: Lindsey Samland
       11-12 year old (Major) Grand Island Little League Sports manship Award: Meaghan Grotz
       13-15 year old (Junior) Grand Island Little League MVP Award: Catie Remmes
       Grand Island Little League "Big League" Scholar Athlete Awards: Mike Backlund, Mike Stewart, Chris Suszek

    (Dodd photo)                                                      (Claus photo)
    Barbi Lare (left) throws the first softball. In the right photo from left (front) are Katie Remus,
    Lindsey Samland, Megan Grotz; (back) Michael Backland, Chris Suszek and Mike Stewart.

    (Claus photo) (Click for larger view)
    Town Councilman Mike Heftka, Town Clerk Nancy Samrany, Assemblyman
    Sam Hoyt, Councilman Dick Crawford, Margaret Ann Haller, Councilwoman
    Mary Cooke and Grand Island e-News Photographer Barbi Lare.

    Oakland A's.
    Click for larger view. (Dodd photo)                                Natalie Baldassare, 5. (Mehltretter photo)

    (Dodd photo)
    (Dodd photo) Photos by Jodi Dodd, Fred Claus, Mike Mehltretter

    Play Ball!
       Grand Island Little League (GILL) softball and baseball Opening Day ceremonies are scheduled for noon on Saturday, May 5 at Veterans Park, Bedell Road. Games start at 9:30 a.m. and will continue throughout the day.
       GILL is committed to working to provide the youth of Grand Island with a safe, friendly and great place to play sports. Persons interested in Grand Island Little League should call League President Joe Fischer at 773-3460.

    Little League Registration Deadline
    The deadline for registration for Grand Island Little League is Saturday, March 3. Registration applications are available at the Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road and at the Recreation Department in Nike Base Park, 3278 Whitehaven Road.

    Little League Registration
    Grand Island Little League registration will be held at the Grand Island Memorial Library 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 17. Registration deadline is March 3, 2001.

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