The Bustleton Bengals 17-and-under baseball team last week captured the Department of Recreation championship with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over Roxborough’s Houston Playground Hurricanes at Citizens Bank Park.
The win avenged a 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes in last year’s title game.
The Bengals, who are based at Hayes Playground, finished the season 15-0, including a 2-0 win over the Hurricanes in the regular season. They had the opportunity to sit in the Phillies’ dugout as the top seed.
For a while, it looked like the Bengals would finish 14-1, falling behind 4-0 in the first inning.
However, the Bengals got on the board in the second when Tommy D’Emilio doubled and scored on Bryan Hearn’s single. They added two runs in the third to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Frankie Nolan, who’ll be a senior at Father Judge High School, moved from center field to pitcher in the fourth inning and did a good job shutting down the Hurricanes.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Bengals tied the game. Chris Higgins led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Sharp, went to third on a groundout by Nick Tarducci and scored on a base hit by Angel Alicea.
In the fifth, Sam Naftulin singled with two outs, and D’Emilio reached on an error. Both scored on a hit by Hearn.
The Bengals benefited from strong defense, including a nice catch in the sixth in left field by Nick Newbert. Mark DiFrancesco, who caught every inning of every game, threw out a runner to end an inning.
The Bengals won two playoff games, over Nelson and Parkwood, to advance to the championship.
Coach Craig Sharp was assisted by Tom D’Emilio, Vince Tarducci and Chris Higgins. Team members were Frankie Nolan, Angel Alicia, Sam Naftulin, Tommy D’Emilio, Nick Tarducci, Bryan Hearn, Nick Newbert, Tyler Sharp, Chris Higgins, Mark DiFrancesco, Mike McLaughlin, Jack Layne, Jonathan Carter, Romeo Dickson and Eric Boone. ••