Great Neck’s travel baseball team, the New York Selects, took home its fourth consecutive championship title in the LSW Fall Series League at the end of last month after pulling out a 5-4 victory against the Long Island Bullets at Borella Field in Plainview.
Selects Assistant Coach Sean Cenawood, writing in a recap of the team’s season sent to the parents of players, wrote about the passion the team exuded by echoing George Will’s famous quote, “baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.”
“Baseball is not life,” Cenawood wrote. “It is a fiction, a metaphor. A ballplayer, when he steps onto that field, agrees to uphold that metaphor as though lives were at stake. Every young man on the Selects and the Bullets understood this zen paradox: just a game and not just a game; the fun and joy of the game entwined with the crucible of pressure that even a contest between a collection of young kids can bring.”
Despite what their championship acumen and 12-2 shellacking of the Long Island Storm in the semifinals would suggest, the Selects road to postseason glory was fraught with struggle. The team has always relied on strong pitching and defense, and in its earlier years some of its strongest players were a year or two under the maximum age for their division, but now that they had aged out it was up to a new generation of arms to take the baton and propel the team forward.
“This season, the Selects asked a new crew of hurlers to step up and carry the day,” Cenawood wrote. “The big three of Jeremy Chuck, Logan Vogel and Mike Pena did not disappoint, all of them coming up aces and upholding the Selects’ tradition of pitching excellence.”
The Selects struggled out of the gate when the regular season started at the end of June, and the team’s record sat at 5-5-1 as October rolled around. The Selects needed at least two wins in their final three games to make the playoffs, and thanks to dominant performances on both sides of the ball, they swept all three games by a combined score of 24-2. After a 7-1 showing against the Bethpage Eagles Devine, the Selects clinched a playoff berth with an 11-1 victory over the Long Island Storm. After those wins, their 6-0 shutout of Tri State Arsenal NY 12U Academy was more of a formality than anything.
The rest, as they say, is history.