Our Midville Dodgers Win 2006 National Championship! - JuniperCivic.com
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Originally published in the September 2006 Juniper Berry Magazine

Our Midville Dodgers Win 2006 National Championship!

The 2006 Midville Dodgers pose with their championship trophy

The Midville Dodger team made up of only 13 players from Archbishop Molloy, Holy Cross, Garden City, Forest Hills, Horace Mann and RFK High Schools took a trip to Greensboro, North Carolina to play for the NABF ‒ National Amateur Baseball Federation National Championship. The team received the berth to play in the Nationals while playing in an 18 and under Federation of Amateur Baseball League (FABL) wood bat league, which evidently prepared them well for the competition they were to face.

The Midville Dodgers went undefeated in World Series play going 7-0 over 5 days playing double headers both the last two days of the Nationals. They outscored their opponents 85 to 34. Along with their 85 runs the Dodgers turned heads in North Carolina banging out 103 hits, 17 doubles, 10 homeruns with a team batting average of .444 and (On Base Average) OBA of .540 while beating teams from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, New York and Maryland. Midville players each received a plaque and a patch to commemorate the event and their team picture will be enshrined in the NABF Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

The Midville Dodgers 17 and under team:

Jason Malefakis – centerfield

Dennis O'Grady ‒ shortstop and pitcher

Ian Leisenheimer ‒ designated hitter and first base

Justin Leisenheimer ‒ catcher (caught all 7 games)

Rob Finneran ‒ left fielder and pitcher

Travis Swiatocha ‒ second base

Anthony Carnacchio ‒ right field

Patrick Sheehan – third base

Brendan Regan – left field

Jared Macchiroli ‒ pitcher, first and second base

Ricky Torres – pitcher and first base

Eric Strauss – pitcher

Tommy Matera ‒ pitcher

Manager ‒ Anthony Macchiroli

Coaches ‒ Jim Malefakis and Bob Sheehan

There were two special awards given out for the tournament which two players from Midville received: 2006 National Batting Champion went to Rob Finneran; 2006 National Tournament MVP went to Ian Leisenheimer. Additionally six Midville Dodgers players made the all-World Series team: Jason Malefakis, Rob Finneran, Anthony Carnacchio, Dennis O'Grady, Ian Leisenheinmer and Justin Leisenheimer.

The NABF National Tournament started with 32 teams from all over the United States. The teams were broken into 8 pools of 4 teams.

Pool Play ‒ Top 2 teams of the 8 – 4 team groups move on to the sweet 16. Games 1 through 3 are against teams in our pool. Games 4 through 7 are single elimination playoff.

These boys proved that determination and teamwork can overcome unbelievable odds, said Robert Holden, president of the Midville Dodgers.

In the early 1990's Bob Holden met Vito Adamo, a former outfielder for the original Midville Dodgers. Adamo, who still lived in Middle Village would reminisce about the Dodgers and told Holden how close the players were and how most of them still held an annual reunion. Holden wrote articles about the team for a local newspaper and the Juniper Berry Magazine. In 1997 Bob Holden brought back the Midville Dodgers and put together an all-volunteer coaching staff and front office. Everyone is committed to giving these serious ballplayers a chance to realize their full potential and hopefully make their dreams come ture. A National Championship may have just done that for many of them. It's certainly an experience they will never forget. The following is a game re-cap of the tournament;

Game 1

Midville Opens with a Bang

Midville Dodgers ‒ 16

Kinect Nationals of Ohio – 10

In the opening game Midville's Justin Leisenheimer went 3 for 4 with 4 runs scored and 2 RBI's, Anthony Carnacchio 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI's and Jared Maccihrole 4 for 5 with 3 RBI's all leading to Midville 16 run onslaught. Dodger closer, Tommy Matera came in to get the final 5 outs.

Game 2

Midville Bites Lexington Bulldogs with 10-run 3rd.

Midville Dodgers ‒ 16

Lexington Bulldogs – 10

The game may seem very one sided but the score was 1-0 going into the bottom of the 3rd when Midville bats exploded for 10 runs, led by back‒to-back home runs by Ian and Justin Leisenheimer, a 3 run home run by Jason Malefakis and another 2 run home run by Justin Leisenheimer, all in the same inning! The game scoring was capped off with Rob Finneran 3 run home run in the 6th inning. Dennis O'Grady went 2 for 3 with 3 runs scored, Ian Leisenheimer went 2 for 2 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI's, Justin Leisenheimer went 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI's, Finneran went 2 for 2 with 3 RBI's and Anthony Carnacchio went 2 for 2. Ricky Torres dominated on the mound pitching shut out ball for the first four innings giving way to Tommy Matera for the final 3 innings. Dodger pitching was helped by 5 double plays.

Midville Tames Tennessee

Game 3

Midville Dodgers ‒ 19

Hartford Sox of Tennessee ‒ 9

Midville started to drive the ball scoring 7 runs in the 3rd, 5 runs in the 4th and 5 runs in the 6th. The big gun this game was Anthony Carnacchio who was 2 for 5 with 3 runs scored, 5 RBI's and a 3-run home run. The balance of the attack was led by Rob Finneran – 2 for 3 with 4 runs scored and a homerun, Jason Malefakis ‒ 3 for 3, Dennis O'Grady ‒ 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI's, Travis Swiatocha- 2 for 3 with 3 runs scored, Pat Sheehan- 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI's and Brendan Regan ‒ 2 for 5, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI's. These three wins meant that the Dodgers were undefeated in pool play which placed them as one of the top teams in the final 16 teams.

Game 4 ‒ NABF Nationals Sweet 16

Midville Ousts Orlando, Leisenheimer's homer sparks locals

Midville Dodgers ‒ 10

Orlando Cougars of Florida ‒ 6

Dodger scoring was led by Ian Leisenheimer who went 2 for 3 with 3 runs scored and hit a 3 run home run in the 1st to give the Dodgers the lead which they never relinquished never gave up. The balance of the attack came from Travis Swiatocha who was 1 for 3 with 3 RBI's, Dennis O'Grady ‒ 2 for 3 with 3 runs scored, Rob Finneran ‒ 2 for 3 with 2 runs and Anthony Carnacchio ‒ 2 for 4.

Game 5 ‒ Nationals Quarter Finals

O'Grady Spins 4-Hitter, Midville Strikes Lightning

Midville Dodgers ‒ 7

Long Island – 1

Midville's Dennis O'Grady dominated this game pitching the Dodgers' first complete game allowing only 1 run on 4 hits, 7 K's.

The offensive attack this game was led by Rob Finneran who was 3 for 4 with 3 RBI's, Jason Malefakis ‒ 2 for 3 with 1 run scored, Dennis O'Grady 1 for 3 with 2 runs scored, Ian Leisenheimer ‒ 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored and an RBI, Anthony Carnacchio ‒ 2 for 4.

Game 6 ‒ National Semi-Finals

Macchirole Hurls Midville to Finals, Clips Cards

Midville Dodgers ‒ 4

NY Cardinals ‒ 2

Just as the game before, pitching set the tone for this game with Midville's Jared Macchirole pitching the second complete game gem of the tourney, giving up only two runs on 8 hits, and 4K's. The offensive attack was led by Ian Leisenheimer who went 1 for 3 with 2 runs scored which included a very big 2 run homerun in the first inning to once again give Midville the lead. The balance of the attack came from Rob Finneran ‒2 for 3 with an RBI double, Justin Leisenheimer ‒ 2 for 3 and a run scored and Pat Sheehan ‒ 2 for 4.

Midville Dodgers Win National Championship!

Finneran's Arm and Bat Carry Locals.

Game 7 ‒ National Championship Game

Midville Dodgers ‒ 15

Frederick Hustlers of Maryland ‒ 6

This game depicted the way the Midville Dodgers played this entire tournament and they left everything on the field right from the first pitch. No one was going to deny these boys the Championship and they took it their way, pitched well , played excellent defense and Hit, Hit, and Hit some more. A fresh as could be expected, Rob Finneran started on the hill for Midville and pitched Midville's third complete game in a row. He also shut down the Hustlers when the Dodgers needed it, the first 3 innings which allowed his team to build a 7-0 lead before giving up a run.

The offensive attack was really a team effort with everyone making major contributions to give Midville the 7-0 lead and then Rob Finneran added a grand slam homerun in the 5th after the Hustlers scored 6 runs to put the game away. Rob led the attack going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and the grand slam to have 7 RBI game, Jason Malefakis went 4 for 6 with 2 doubles, a triple and 3 RBI's, Justin Leisenheimer ‒ 3 for 4 with 4 runs scored, Anthony Carnacchio ‒ 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, and 2 RBI's, Pat Sheehan 3-5 and a RBI and Brendan Regan 3 for 4 and a RBI.

So as incredible as it sounds, the Midville Dodgers, who traveled to North Carolina with only 13 players, won 7 straight games to capture their first National Championship. They beat out 31 teams in the World Series and they did it in a convincing way.

The Juniper Park Civic Association congratulates our team and is very proud of the players and coaches. A special thanks to Middle Village super-volunteer Manager Anthony Macchirole for his dedication and hardwork on behalf of the youth of our community.

Congratulations to the 2006 Midville Dodgers. Middle Village, Queens and New York are very proud of your outstanding accomplishment.