Tonawanda News — NORTH TONAWANDA — There's a rivalry growing between Grand Island and North Tonawanda.
For the past two years, Little League teams from both of these towns have been battling it out on a chance to play in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
This year, the teams will face off once again for the District One title and berth into the sectional round of Little League play in the Major Divisions (12 and under).
The tournament started June 21. Grand Island and North Tonawanda both went undefeated on the season.
GI finished the round robin with the top seed. The team scored a total of 46 runs through the round robin and knockout rounds, giving up a meager five runs over the course of four games.
NT finished third in the standings, scoring 26 runs over four games and giving up eight.
The shining stars of both of these teams are their pitching staffs.
North Tonawanda's coach Dave MacNeil believes the two teams' rivalry is good for both sides.
"Two years ago we beat (Grand Island) on our way to advance to the state tournament," said MacNeil. "It was the first time in 60 years a team from NT made it that far. Both teams have played each other the last two years. The kids know each other. It makes for a good rivalry."
On the NT side, Casey Trombley, Tyler MacNeil and Ben Solomon shine. Trombley and MacNeil star on the mound while Solomon holds down the first base, showing good power at the plate.
The teams met before at the 10-year-old level. NT won the championship matchup and moved on as far as the New York State Tournament.
In 2013, the tables turned. Grand Island struck for the win, earning a trip to the sectional level.
Now, at the 12-year-old level, the teams, consisting of almost identical rosters from the past two seasons, will write the next chapter in the generation's rivalry.
"I think (the team) is confident. The experience the last two years has helped but (Grand Island) is the team to beat," said MacNeil. "I think it will be a low scoring game, something like 5-4, 4-3."
Administration and coaches from Grand Island Little League could not be reached for comment.