Former 'Little Leaguer' hurls one-hitter


NEW YORK -- Danny Almonte delivered his team a title that nobody will question.

Almonte, whose perfect game in the 2001 Little League World Series was erased when he was found to be too old, threw a one-hitter to give James Monroe Campus High School a 4-0 win over George Washington in the New York City public school championship game Friday night at Shea Stadium.

"The past was the past," Almonte said. "I felt great today. Winning a championship is a dream come true."

The 17-year-old pitcher from the Dominican Republic struck out
11 and walked two. Almonte retired the first seven batters,
striking out six, before giving up a line-drive single up the middle to Gustavo Duran.

Almonte was a member of the 2001 Rolando Paulino All-Stars, who
were forced to forfeit their Little League World Series victories
because the star pitcher was found to be too old.

"The pressure on him was making his first start in a big-league
stadium," said Rolando Paulino, Almonte's legal guardian. "It's
something that he'll never forget."

Almonte, whose parents live in the Dominican Republic, enrolled
at the Bronx high school in 2002. In the city title game against
Tottenville last season, he blew a four-run lead in relief during
an 8-7 loss.

Almonte twice struck out George Washington catcher Angel Salome,
a fifth-round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers, and got him to fly out in his last at-bat. It was the first hitless game of Salome's high
school career.

Almonte can be drafted after his two remaining years of high school eligibility.

"It's up to Danny, his guardian ... and I'll have some input,"
Almonte's coach, Mike Turo, said. "Right now, it is just a growing
process. When he's done, he'll probably be one of the best ever."