“We did the same thing in the (North Atlantic) regional tournament,” said Altieri. “We lost the first round game to New Jersey (6-5) after we had a 5-0 lead, but we won the second and third rounds.”
The Athletics faced Northwest again in the national semifinals and rallied for a 3-2 victory. Paniccia tied the game at 2-2 on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, and Colonie native Justin Meagher singled in Latham resident Mark Teson for the go-ahead run in the seventh inning. White picked up the victory in the semifinal game after pitching 7.2 innings, and Pearsall collected a four-out save.
The championship game also started poorly for Albany, as Tampa built a 4-0 lead and took a 5-3 advantage into the bottom of the ninth inning. Paniccia got the Athletics going with a single, and he later scored on Al Barbato’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly. Barbero then completed the comeback with his home run.
“They never quit. They never said the tournament was over,” said Altieri.
Paniccia was named the Stan Musial World Series most valuable player after a strong five-day performance. The Mohonasen High School graduate had nine hits in 19 at bats with six RBI and six runs scored.
Altieri said the goal next year is to repeat as Stan Musial World Series champions – something no team from the AABC’s North Atlantic region has accomplished.
“Only three New York teams have won the World Series, and only six North Atlantic teams have won the World Series,” said Altieri.