City RBI Summer League baseball concludes season

The championship of the RBI Summer League for 13-15 year-olds was held Aug. 18 at Van Duyn Field with the Mets defeating the Nationals, 8-0, for the title. Ryan Dwyer tossed a three-hit shutout for the Mets.

RBI stands for Reviving Baseball in the Inner City, a Major League Baseball-sponsored program run in association with the Syracuse Boys and Girls Club. Six teams with Major League Baseball monikers comprised the league. The league is coordinated by RBI director Jimmy Oliver.

League officials provided a championship atmosphere, with pre-game player introductions and a poignant ceremonial first pitch by Lisa Witkins, the mother of former RBI League member Andrew, who passed away this August. The city's Commissioner of Parks and Recreation and Youth Programs, Pat Driscoll, was also in attendance.

Donning a red Nationals t-shirt, Lisa Witkins stood on the mound and threw out the first pitch in memory of her son. Andrew Witkins played for the Nationals for two years before dying from an infection after a long-term illness.

Anthony Mathews got the start for the Nationals, who fell behind 5-0 after three innings. Dwyer threw seven scoreless innings and was backed by hitting of Matt Thompson and Erik Viola. Thompson and Viola cracked two doubles apiece for the champion Mets.

The Mets were coached by former Fayetteville-Manlius and Hamilton College player Max Currier and Ray Benz. Team members are: Dwyer, Viola, Matt and Colin Thompson, Nate Boughton, Hector Santa, Alfonzo Whitehurst, Mario Cabrao, Ray Benz, Damian Ozelek, Pat James and Maxwell Martin.

Although the playoff final was held at Van Duyn, all other games were held at Sunnycrest Field at Henninger High School, Burnet Park and Fowler High School this summer.

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