Wyoma Rangers manager Steve Moccia needed someone to take the ball in the bottom of the sixth inning of the Lynn City Series championship game.
With his team protecting a two-run lead in the sixth inning and starter Travis Ryan at the pitch limit, ace Brendan Powicki unavailable having combined for a no-hitter in a must-win situation the night before, and the manager’s son, ace Andrew Moccia, sidelined by an elbow injury, who would get the ball with the City Series title on the line?
Moccia handed the keys to the Rangers’ hopes to 10-year-old lefthander Spencer DiVirgilio, son of former Wyoma Little League All-Star Al DiVirgilio.
DiVirgilio looked a little anxious in his warm-up pitches, bouncing the first couple into the dirt in front of home plate.
But once the pitches mattered, DiVirgilio was fantastic, retiring the final two West Lynn batters to wrap up a 6-4 victory and the City Series title.
Spencer DiVirgilio was asked after his dramatic save if he knew what was at stake when he took the mound.
“The City Series,” he replied quickly. “I really wasn’t sure I was going to pitch. It was either me or Nick Pevry. The manager [Moccia] just told me to throw strikes and relax. I wanted to win it for the 12-year-olds on this team. I think they’re very nice and very good baseball players. I hope I can be as good as they are when I’m twelve.”
Steve Moccia said he didn’t hesitate about calling on DiVirgilio to nail down the biggest outs of the season.
“I had faith in him,” said Moccia. “All season long he’s stepped up to the plate and proven himself. For a 10-year-old, I think he has the maturity of about a 40-year-old some games. It’s almost scary.
Moccia said he could see the intensity in DiVirgilio’s eyes when he huddled his players at the mound to make the pitching change.
“Basically I looked at the players and said, ‘who wants it,’ and Spencer had that look of ‘whatever you want, coach.’ “I gave him ball and he was all set. He’s an awesome ballplayer.”
For Spencer DiVirglio, he’ll always have the memory of saving the day for his Little League team in the City Series in front of a large crowd at Pine Hill Little League field.
“He works at it, he practices every day,” said Al DiVirgilio. “He loves baseball. He enjoys the game.”