On the road to the championship, Our Lady of Hope had to compete against a young and aggressive Forest Hills Red team, winning 3-1, and then in the semifinal game defeated a hard-hitting and determined Garity Post squad, 7-5.
It was Our Lady of Hope’s third championship in five years.
Jack Roche led the team on the mound, notching 11 strikeouts in the title game. The Hornets pitching staff was rounded out by Dante Garguillo, Thomas Jankowski and fluid lefty Gianluca Chiodi.
Defense helped Hope win the championship. In the second inning, a key play at home brought a potential big inning by Forest Hills Blue to an end when first baseman Jankowski and catcher Chiodi caught a runner on third trying to score.
In that same inning, Hope scored two runs when Sam Navarra started off the inning with a rope to the outfield, then stole second and third. Navarra was driven in by the strong hitting of right fielder Gio Miceli.
Charles Stravalle stroked a single to left to keep the inning alive, then stole all three bases to give Hope a 2-0 lead.
Gargiulo started off the next inning with a sharp single to the outfield and stole second and third. He scored Hope’s third run of the game when Chiodi laid down a perfect bunt for a decisive run-scoring squeeze play.
In the top of the last inning, Stravalle reached base again and scored the team’s final run. In the bottom of the final frame, great pitching and defense closed out the game to give Hope the 2016 RGMVM Little League crown.