2013-06-05 / Columnists

On the Sidelines

by Anthony Romano

Varsity teams in Massapequa, Farmingdale and Plainedge were no strangers to County championships in the spring sports season of 2013. An impressive total of three wins and five appearances came from these three local Nassau County high schools in County championship games this year – numbers that give everyone a reason to be proud.

For Massapequa especially, the thrill of victory was felt nearly across the board. With two more County championships added to the list, combined with the four won in the fall, as well as one in the winter, it certainly was a dominant year for the Chiefs of Massapequa.

In baseball, the playoffs were where the Chiefs really hit their stride. After earning a first round bye based on their regular season record, Massapequa cruised over both Oceanside and Carey, defeating the latter after a nine-run comeback in the sixth inning of game two to lock up their spot in the County finals against MacArthur. Neither team had lost a playoff game heading into the best-of-three series at Farmingdale State College, and Massapequa’s ace Alex Cosenza was determined to keep it that way for his squad. The 6’1” Junior dazzled the Generals’ lineup and threw a complete game shutout to lead Massapequa over top-seeded MacArthur 6-0. After rain postponed game two until Wednesday, sloppy play on both sides led to a 5-5 tie through four and a half innings. But Nick Fanneron’s sacrifice fly scored Nick Comito in the bottom of the frame, and Bobby Honeyman pitched two scoreless innings in relief to lock up the first County title for Massapequa since 2009.

“The players were focused, they had great at-bats and they didn’t try to do too much,” said Massapequa coach Tom Sheedy, whose team will play the Suffolk County winner for the Long Island Class AA Championship. “We’re doing the same thing we’ve been doing all year, just getting people ready to have good situational at-bats. And of course, starting pitching is the most important.”

The Massapequa baseball players were not the only Chiefs to come home as County champs, though. The boys’ lacrosse team defeated Port Washington in dominant fashion, 16-3, to win a County title of their own in front of fans at Hofstra University. Prior to this, the Chiefs had lost their last three County finals appearances, blowing fourth-quarter leads in all three games. Coach Tim Radomski raved of his team’s performance, saying: “The kids played as a team, it was a total team effort. From our goalie all the way to the midfield, the attack and the defense, everybody came out and took care of business.” Massapequa benefited from two hat tricks from Ian Kirby and Paul Dilena, and goaltender Wyatt Russo made seven saves to shut down the Vikings’ offense.

“We finished our shots when we had to, our attack and midfielders were riding as hard as they could to keep the ball on offense, and our defense set the tone by controlling their offense and making them do what we wanted them to do,” said Russo after the game. He then talked about the camaraderie of this year’s team, saying: “We're a family. We'd do anything for each other and the chemistry between each and every one of us is extraordinary.” Massapequa will battle Ward Melville for the Long Island Championship at Hofstra.

The Chiefs did experience some failure, however, as the girls’ lacrosse team fell to Farmingdale, after a late Dalers comeback in the fourth quarter. Nadine Hadnagy scored a hat trick to lead Farmingdale to an 11-9 victory, and their eighth consecutive County championship. “It was a great feeling to have a comeback like that against Massapequa. They're our rivals and they always provide a challenge when we play them. For [the win] to be against them for our eighth in a row, it was an amazing way to win counties,” explained Hadnagy. Massapequa Junior Colleen Bourgal tallied four points in the defeat, but praised her team’s effort, saying, “We worked hard for 50 minutes and we were mentally in it until the end. No one gave up which was really good.” The Dalers will face Bay Shore for the Long Island Title at Adelphi.

Finally, the Plainedge Red Devils Baseball team had an outstanding season, reaching the County finals as well, against Clarke. Their impressive run came to an end in just two games, however, after only being able to muster five total runs in the series. Senior Anthony Pensato said the team’s lack of offense was their biggest weakness. “You have to tip your hat, they played great but I think we just needed to get our bats going a little more. We had little run support and left a lot of guys on base during big opportunities,” he said. Plainedge finished the season at 18-10.

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