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Bill Landon

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Northport’s Sara Dube reached for the return. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Northport Tigers took on perennial powerhouse Huntington Tuesday afternoon in girls’ tennis action at home in hot, windy conditions. With Huntington being the League II champions from last season, the Blue Devils were guessed to give it to Northport, but the Tigers hung on until the final and deciding match, where the Blue Devils escaped with a 4-3 victory to remain undefeated.

Huntington’s Abby Bellestri connects with the ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Huntington’s Abby Bellestri connects with the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

Due to the heat index, Tuesday’s match was an abbreviated 10-game pro set, where the first team to win 10 games wins the match, instead of the best two out of three sets of six, according to Northport head coach Peter Quinn.

Huntington singles standout, senior Emily Shutman, disposed of her opponent with ease, winning her match 10-0.

“It was hot, humid and very windy, but I served well and my opponent had difficulty handling that today,” she said. “My net play was really nonexistent — I didn’t have to come to the net, but I had a few drop shots that were pretty effective.”

Shutman added that she had to continually adjust her play to compensate for the wind, and that it was important to stay hydrated to avoid becoming lightheaded.

“I’ll do a lot of stretching and work on my stroke and just try to stay loose to get ready for John Glenn,” Shutman said as she begins to prepare for the next match.

Northport senior Allisa Risebrow won her singles match 10-5 but added that the glaring sun was a factor on the court.

“I had the sun in my eyes, so the conditions were [challenging],” Risebrow said. “It was so hot and windy that I had to read the wind; so depending on what side I was on, the wind was either pushing, or I had to push against it.”

Northport’s Lucy Jiang sends back a forehand shot. Photo by Bill Landon
Northport’s Lucy Jiang sends back a forehand shot. Photo by Bill Landon

Risebrow added that her opponent struggled charging the net, and she returned a lot of short balls to exploit that weakness.

Huntington head coach Jamie Fishlow said his team will be focusing on the fundamentals, and that the Blue Devils will need to improve from top to bottom if they want to remain league champs.

“We need to work on our doubles positioning, work on our footwork and just hitting the ball and to be consistent,” Fishlow said. “Emily [Shutman] has the best all-around game in singles play, but today was close, and Northport gave us a good match.”

Northport junior Gabrielle Schuck, who competed in doubles, said her team’s first match of the season was a struggle and that the conditions made it much more difficult.

“We fought through it, we kept going, but I had to sit down and take water breaks to avoid headaches,” Schuck said. “[Huntington is] the best team. We’ve lost to them many times, but today we were tied 3-3 and it went to the final match.”

Quinn said that Huntington is without question the team to beat in League II but was impressed with his team’s first match of the season.

“We played well, we did some good things, we moved well, but the heat and the wind was a factor,” the coach said. “It was a very good competitive first match of the season.”

With the win, Huntington improves to 3-0, while Northport dropped its season opener.

Huntington will host John Glenn today at 4 p.m., and Northport will travel to Walt Whitman today at 4 p.m., before hosting Hauppauge on Friday at 4 p.m.

Centereach's Paige Emerson fights for possession of the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Being young didn’t stop these Cougars from pouncing onto their prey.

The Centereach field hockey team commanded the field, owned the time of possession and held Port Jefferson scoreless on their own home turf to take a 4-0 victory in nonleague action Saturday. 

Centereach's Lindsey Noack carries the ball toward the cage. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach’s Lindsey Noack carries the ball toward the cage. Photo by Bill Landon

“This is the first time we’ve played on our own turf and today we clicked,” Centereach head coach Michelle Cocchiaro said. “This afternoon we communicated well, which is something we didn’t do until today.”

A pair of freshman started the scoring for Centereach when forward Caroline McParland’s shot found the back of the cage off an assist by forward and midfielder Sophie Alois for the 1-0 lead.

Port Jefferson head coach Deb Brown said her team is also very young, with one senior and two freshmen on the forward line.

“It’s the first time on turf,” Brown said. “I think they got a little bit tired, but I think we handled ourselves OK. Some of the girls were out of position, and we’re inexperienced on turf.”

Centereach junior Lindsey Noack, a forward and midfielder, answered next when her shot found its mark to help the Cougars edge ahead 2-0.

Noack said her team had good communication on the field with good ball movement, and added that she thought the midfielders were effective in getting the ball to the forwards.

“Today I saw teamwork, which is a big difference from our first scrimmage against Newfield, where we were all over the place,” Noack said. “Today we meshed together and we played as one.”

Centereach junior Paige Emerson, also a midfielder and forward, lit up the scoreboard next with just over three minutes left in the first half.

The Royals spent much of the game on defense trying to contain the offensive pressure, and had few opportunities for shots on goal as a result.

Port Jefferson's Jackie Brown fights to keep the ball in bounds. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Jackie Brown fights to keep the ball in bounds. Photo by Bill Landon

Port Jefferson junior forward and midfielder Jackie Brown said she thought her team did well despite this being their first game on turf.

“We passed well, but we’re not used to the speed of the ball because we play on grass,” she said, adding that she thinks her team needs to do a better job at cutting in front of the defense as the Royals prepare for their next game against Sayville.

Centereach sophomore forward Jessica Whalen rounded out the scoring for the Cougars with 14 minutes left to play, to give the team a 4-0 advantage, and the game its final score.

With time running out and desperate to get on the scoreboard, the Royals continued to push for a goal until the final horn.

“I thought we did really well, but we have to work on shooting on cage,” Port Jefferson junior defender Isabelle Koutsantanou said. “We have to get better getting our forwards back [faster] to help out on defense.”

Centereach junior defender Cassidy Treanor was also proud of her team’s efforts, especially being an almost completely new team compared to last year’s roster.

“We’re a brand new team — we had 10 seniors graduate last year so literally the junior varsity team is now the varsity team, with four extra players,” she said. “We’re so young and to see the players who are just now freshmen being able to compete with seniors is so big for us. They have such skills for being so young.”

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Mount Sinai senior Jessica Parente throws the runner out at first pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior Jessica Parente throws the runner out at first pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Mount Sinai scored three unanswered runs to lead 3-2 by the fifth inning, but a one-run lead wouldn’t be nearly enough as Clarke exploded in the final two innings under the Friday night lights at St. Joseph’s college, scoring nine more runs to claim the Long Island Championship Class A softball title, 11-4.

“This is the best softball team Mount Sinai has ever had,” Mount Sinai head coach Tom Tilton said. “They won the conference, they won the league and they won the county championship; something that has never been done before.”

The Clarke bats cracked first as the team scored two runs in the opening inning, but the Mustangs answered back in the bottom of the second after senior Emily Solomos drew a walk, and senior Julia Gallo hit a single up the middle to represent the tying run. With two outs, senior Jamie Parente’s bat spoke next with a long shot to left center field for a stand up double to bring home Solomos. With runners on second and third, Clarke miscued and on a wild pitch, Gallo crossed the plate to tie the game, 2-2.

Mount Sinai senior Jessica Parente led off in the bottom of the third with a single, and with a healthy lead off the bag, she drew a pick-off attempt from the mound. With an overthrow to first, she advanced to second base, and ran over to third on another passed ball at the plate, but the Mustangs’ first lead of the game would have to wait, as Parente was left stranded.

Mount Sinai senior pitcher Cassandra Wilson tosses a pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior pitcher Cassandra Wilson tosses a pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon

In the top of the fifth inning, with one out and runners at the corners, Clarke attempted a squeeze play, but the Mustangs didn’t fall for the stolen-base attempt, and cleanly picked off the runners on their way to second and home, to retire the side.

Mount Sinai senior pitcher Cassandra Wilson smacked a lead-off single to start the bottom of the fifth inning. She put herself into scoring position by stealing second, and with freshman Love Drumgole at the plate with one out, Drumgole ripped one deep down the right sideline to drive in Wilson and edge ahead, 3-2, for the team’s first lead of the game.

Sophomore Angela Bukofsky answered next when she smacked a double to right center field, but Clarke pitched its way out of the inning to stop the rally.

Mount Sinai’s lead was short-lived, and in the top of the sixth, Clarke ripped a two-run home run 220 feet over the center field fence, to retake the lead. After a double, Clarke loaded the bases and plated two more runners by the end of the inning, to jump out to a 6-3 advantage.

Mount Sinai went scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, and took to the field for the final inning. The Mustangs’ opponent put together a five-run rally to blow the game open, 11-3, and give Mount Sinai a deficit that was difficult to overcome.

The Mustangs managed one final run in their last at-bat, when Bukofsky drove in Drumgole to trail 11-4, but it was too little too late.

“The senior leadership has been fantastic all year long and I’m proud of them,” Tilton said of his team. “They didn’t have their best game tonight, but we were right there with them through five innings. They gave it their best shot and that’s all you can ask for.”

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By Bill Landon

In the deciding game of the Suffolk County Class AA baseball championship, Ward Melville hit the road to take on Connetquot and was never able to mount a scoring threat, as the Thunderbirds ended the Patriots’ season with a 6-0 blanking, Thursday.

No. 2-seeded Ward Melville had forced a game three with a 4-3 win over No. 1 Connetquot on Wednesday, and senior third baseman Joseph Flynn continued to make a statement with his bat when he led off the first inning with a stand-up double. The Patriot bats were unable to bring him home, though, and with one out and two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the inning, Connetquot went to work, using a line drive to shallow right field to score both players for the first runs on the board.

Ward Melville threatened again in the top of the third when senior Daniel DeCastro laid down a bunt to advance the runner, junior Frank Merlino, over to second base. With one out, Ward Melville hit a high fly ball to right field and Merlino took off for home plate. The only problem was that Connetquot caught the ball just short of the fence and threw to second base for the double play to retire the side.

In the bottom of the third with runners in scoring position, Connetquot struck again on a Patriots miscue to edge ahead 3-0 on a passed ball to the plate. After a conference at the mound, Ward Melville’s senior Joseph Barbieri took over pitching duties for sophomore Ben Brown.

The damage wasn’t done though, as Connetquot plated two more runners to end the third inning with a five-run advantage.

Ward Melville struggled to challenge its opponent the rest of the way, and Connetquot scored once more in the bottom of the fifth inning on a long drive just inside the third baseline, for the 6-0 lead and the win.

Ward Melville head coach Lou Petrucci was proud of his team’s successful season.

“We’ve had a lot of great memories,” he said. “We had three walk-off wins during the playoffs and we finished the season 22-4. It was a great accomplishment by our seniors, as well as the freshman we brought up, so it’s just a great group of kids. But it’s the friendships this team has cherished the most, and that’s what high school baseball is all about.”

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Mount Sinai senior attack Dan Bullis looks for a cutter as he races around the circle in the Mustangs’ 7-6 Class B Long Island championship loss to Manhasset at Stony Brook University on May 30. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Mount Sinai senior midfielder Zack Rudolf maintains possession of the ball as he cuts inside past a Manhasset player in the Mustangs’ 7-6 Class B Long Island championship loss at Stony Brook University on May 30. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior midfielder Zack Rudolf maintains possession of the ball as he cuts inside past a Manhasset player in the Mustangs’ 7-6 Class B Long Island championship loss at Stony Brook University on May 30. Photo by Bill Landon

With 28 seconds left, Nassau County champion Manhasset scored the go-ahead goal to edge out the Suffolk County title-winning Mount Sinai boys’ lacrosse team, 7-6, in the Long Island Class B championship game Saturday night at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

“It’s just frustrating,” Mount Sinai head coach Harold Drumm said. “When you play your heart out and you give it everything you have and you don’t come out as the winner, it’s hard to accept.”

As the two teams collided, Mount Sinai found itself lighting up the scoreboard first with three unanswered goals.

Senior midfielder Tony DiMonti drove home an unassisted shot, followed by senior midfielder Zack Rudolf, and then junior midfielder Griffin McGrath dished one up to senior attack Dan Keenan, who split the pipes for the 3-0 lead.

Manhasset broke the ice with a goal to end the first quarter, and added another to open the second, but Mount Sinai senior attack Dan Bullis got the call next, finding the back of the cage unassisted at the 7:32 mark to edge ahead, 4-2.

Demonstrating that any position on the field could score, Mount Sinai sophomore defenseman Lucas Capobianco-Hogan went the distance, as the longstick buried his shot, as his team took a 5-2 advantage into the half.

Mount Sinai senior midfielder Tony DiMonti shoots and scored in the Mustangs’ 7-6 Class B Long Island championship loss to Manhasset at Stony Brook University on May 30. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior midfielder Tony DiMonti shoots and scored in the Mustangs’ 7-6 Class B Long Island championship loss to Manhasset at Stony Brook University on May 30. Photo by Bill Landon

Both teams traded goals in the third quarter, with Manhasset scoring first, and Keenan following off a feed from Bullis, to help the Mustangs stay out in front, 6-3, to start the final stanza.

Manhasset owned the final 12 minutes of play, and scored three unanswered goals to tie the game at 6-6 with 4:02 left in regulation.

The game looked as though it was heading into overtime, but with 28 seconds left on the clock, a spin move in front of the cage led to the Indians scoring the go-ahead goal. Mount Sinai won the ensuing faceoff, but could not respond as the clock expired, ending the Mustangs’ season.

Drumm said he was proud of his team for playing hard and giving it all they had.

“I told the kids it’s been a great season for Mount Sinai, and this has been a special season for us,” Drumm said. “They’ve got to look at themselves in the mirror and decide what’s important in life.”

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By Bill Landon

Fresh off its Suffolk County title victory three days earlier, the Smithtown East boys’ lacrosse team had the upper hand on Syosset, leading 8-7 after two quarters of play at Lavalle Stadium at Stony Brook University Saturday afternoon, but failed to tally another goal thereafter, falling in the Long Island Championship Class A matchup, 14-8.

“We struggled with simple exchanges; we threw the ball away,” Smithtown East head coach Jason Lambert said. “If you make too many turnovers against a good team like this at this point of the season, it’s going to bite you. And we got bit today, big time.”

Smithtown East struck first when senior attack and co-captain Brian Willetts fed junior attack Dan Rooney for the score, and senior midfielder and co-captain John Daniggelis found the cage unassisted a minute later, to put the Bulls out front, 2-0.

Syosset responded, but Daniggelis answered right back unassisted, to help his team edge ahead 3-1.

In the final minute of the quarter, Syosset scored two quick goals to tie the game heading into the second stanza, but Smithtown East lit up the scoreboard with four unanswered goals just midway through the 12-minute span before the halftime break, all of which were unassisted.

Willetts scored twice, Daniggelis split the pipes for his hat trick goal, and sophomore midfielder Connor Desimone drove one home to break out to a 7-3 lead.

Syosset fired back with a quick score seconds after the fourth goal, and stretched the net again two minute later to close the gap.

Looking to clear the ball, Smithtown East senior goalkeeper Sean Turner looked to clear the ball, only to have it picked off. With no defender in the vicinity, he immediately paid the price for his error, as Syosset scored to trail by one, 7-6, at the five-minute mark.

With 3:49 left in the half, Desimone found the back of the net, but that concluded the scoring for Smithtown East in the game. Syosset scored once more before the break, and the Bulls took an 8-7 lead into the third.

The Bulls weren’t firing on all cylinders in the second half, and began to miscue, loosing control at the faceoff and struggling with passing — allowing seven unanswered goals along the away.

“We struggled with lack of possession and when we did get it we had far too many turnovers,” Lambert said of his team’s play in the second half. “They beat us to ground balls today, they had actual possessions and they killed us in transition. The two things that we said we couldn’t do today was turn the ball over and loose in transition, and we did both.”

The Bulls concluded their season with an 11-0 record in Division I in the regular season, and followed with four Class A playoff wins, the last, an 11-10 win over Ward Melville in double overtime for the Suffolk County title. This is the second year in a row that Smithtown East came up short in the Long Island Championship title game.

By Bill Landon & Desirée Keegan

Everything Brian Willetts has worked for led up to that moment.

With 1:53 left in double overtime in front of 3,000 fans at Wednesday evening’s Suffolk County Class A championship game, Smithtown East’s Willetts bounced in the game-winning goal to seal the deal for the Bulls for their second straight county title, with an 11-10 win over Ward Melville.

“When I’m training and working hard, I’m thinking about that final shot in the county championship,” the senior attack and co-captain said. “Once it went into overtime I’m immediately thinking ‘wow, this is my time,’ and I felt, as a leader, I had to take from ‘X’ and go get it.”

Willetts racked up a hat trick on the Stony Brook University field, while junior attack Dan Rooney added three goals and an assist to lead Smithtown East.

Both teams lit up the scoreboard consistently in the first quarter, with the action starting right from the opening faceoff.

The game was tied 1-1 after the first minute of play, with Willetts flicking one in and Ward Melville senior attack Billy McGinley responding with a goal of his own off an assist from senior attack Dan Bucaro.

Smithtown East dominated the faceoff ‘X,’ and senior faceoff specialist Gerard Arceri took the ball from midfield and headed straight to the cage, scoring unassisted to give his team a 2-1 advantage.

Smithtown East’s John Daniggelis, a midfielder and co-captain, found the net next off an assist from sophomore midfielder Bobby Burns, to give his team a 3-1 lead in a game that was still less than two minutes old.

Ward Melville senior midfielder Jake McCulloch’s shot found its mark to help his team pull within one, but Smithtown East quickly responded when sophomore attack Sean Barry found the back of the cage off an assist by junior attack Dan Rooney.

“I was thinking one faceoff was going to win the game, so it was a battle at the ‘X’ there at the end.” —Gerard Arceri, Smithtown East

Ward Melville’s Bucaro scored next, and Barry and Rooney connected for another Smithtown East goal, with Rooney scoring this time, and Willetts fired a shot off a pass from sophomore midfielder Bobby Burns, as the Bulls edged ahead, 6-3.

“I have to give a lot of credit to my defense,” Willetts said. “They made stop after stop against McCulloch and Bucaro, two of the best players in the county, so our defense was just unbelievable.”

Despite all the stops, McCulloch found a way to get to goal, and stretched the net twice more for a hat trick, to again pull his Patriots within one, 6-5, with 9:26 left in the second quarter.

Goals by Smithtown East’s Burns and fellow sophomore midfielder Connor Desimone gave the Bulls an 8-5 advantage with 6:58 left in the half.

Ward Melville junior midfielder John Burgdoerfer put a point on the scoreboard off a feed from McCulloch, to trim the deficit, but Rooney found the net for a second time to bring the score to 9-6 heading into the halftime break.

The Patriots opened the second half by rattling off three unanswered goals with two coming from Bucaro, and the third from senior midfielder James Kickel off an assist by McCulloch, to tie the game 9-9.

Daniggelis dished one off to Rooney, whose hat trick goal helped the Bulls pull out a 10-9 lead to begin the fourth quarter, and McCulloch scored the lone goal of the final 12 minutes, four minutes into the final quarter, to retie the score, 10-10, which held up until the end of regulation.

The game went into a four-minute overtime sudden-death period, but it yielded no goals.

“I lost the first [faceoff] in the first overtime period,” Arceri said. “I was thinking one faceoff was going to win the game, so it was a battle at the ‘X’ there at the end.”

Smithtown East senior goalkeeper Sean Turner stood strong between the pipes during the first overtime, even through a broken helmet switch, and made save after save — each punctuated by a gasp from the stadium crowd — to keep the Patriot high-octane offense at bay.

“Turner was unbelievable, especially in the fourth quarter,” Smithtown East head coach Jason Lambert said. “We weren’t scoring a lot after the third quarter, so he kept stepping up, making save after save and standing tall in the net. I can’t say enough good things about him, because that game could’ve gone either way.”

“It was a surreal feeling to be able to get that shot off for the game-winning goal for a team that I love so much.” —Brian Willetts, Smithtown East

At the 1:53 mark in the second overtime session, Smithtown East claimed its second straight Class A crown with Willetts’ goal.

“At our last timeout, [Willetts] said he wanted the ball in the huddle,” Lambert said. “He got it and he put it where it’s supposed to go.”

Willetts was overcome with emotion for what he was able to help his team achieve.

“I practiced that shot so many times,” he said. “It was a surreal feeling to be able to get that shot off for the game-winning goal for a team that I love so much.”

Lambert said that Ward Melville always sets the bar high, adding that as long as lacrosse has been played on Long Island, the Patriots have been at the top.

“I’m just so happy for these kids,” Lambert said. “We played a phenomenal opponent here tonight. They have great players; they have all the history there. My boys believed, they didn’t stop, they kept digging and they kept fighting.”

Smithtown East will face Syosset on Saturday for the Class A Long Island Championship title at Stony Brook University, with the opening faceoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

The boys are excited to get another shot at a Long Island title, as the team fell in a close 13-12 match to Massapequa last year.

“I’m so happy to get back to this point; to have another chance to win a Long Island Championship, it sure means a lot,” Turner said. “It means so much [to this team] and this time, we’re going to finish it.”

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Comsewogue’s Dan Colasanto slides into third base ahead of the ball in the Warriors’ extra-inning 6-5 loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a decisive game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Having beaten No. 3 Bayport-Blue Point at home the day before, the No. 2-seeded Comsewogue baseball team looked to put the three-game series away on the road Saturday to advance to the Class A finals, but with the game tied 5-5 in extra innings, Bayport-Blue Point drove home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 6-5 and force a decisive game three.

Comsewogue’s David Nodeland hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ playoff game loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s David Nodeland hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ playoff game loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon

“We put ourselves in a situation where now we have to play a third game, but we’ve been resilient all year and we’ve got to stay positive,” Comsewogue head coach Mike Bonura said. “We’ve just got to play good baseball and I have all the confidence in the world in them.”

Comsewogue pitcher David Nodeland found himself in trouble in the top of the second inning when he loaded the bases with one out. The Phantoms’ next batter drew a walk, and put his team on the scoreboard, 1-0.

Nodeland struck the next batter out before Bayport-Blue Point lobbed the ball into shallow center field, which drove home a run for the 2-0 lead. The Warriors’ opponent finished the inning with a two-run RBI hit to right field to break out to a 4-0 advantage before Nodeland was able to stop the damage.

Picking up the bat for Comsewogue in the top of the third was Rob Dattoma, who homered deep over the left center fence to put the Warriors on the board.

That was all the team could muster though, and Nodeland, with runners on the corners, pitched his way out of a jam to keep the score 4-1 heading into the top of the fifth.

Senior third baseman Dan Colasanto’s bat spoke next with a base clearing, two-run RBI stand-up double, to help the Warriors draw within one run, 4-3. On a base hit to right field, Colasanto scored from second to tie the game, 4-4, and Jordan Lisco continued the rally when he cracked a deep shot to left field for an RBI-double. With an overthrown pass to second, Lisco was able to make his way to third base, where he would be left stranded.

“We just needed to hit with runners on base and make our plays on the field with no errors,” Lisco said. “The reason we lost today was because of errors, but we’ll come back Tuesday and we’ll win if we can play like we have all season.”

Comsewogue’s Rob Dattoma runs the bases after his home run in the top of the third inning, in the Warriors’ 6-5 loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Rob Dattoma runs the bases after his home run in the top of the third inning, in the Warriors’ 6-5 loss to Bayport-Blue Point on May 23, which forces a game three in the Class A playoffs. Photo by Bill Landon

Comsewogue made a pitching change and Justin Virga took over at the mound to begin the bottom of the fifth, where Bayport-Blue Point made the Warriors suffer for it. A stand-up double and two base hits loaded the bases, and Virga walked the next batter to retie the game, at 5-5, but was able to pitch his way out of the inning without giving his opponent the go-ahead run.

Unable to manufacture any runs in the top of the next two innings, the Warriors were again in trouble in the bottom of the seventh when Bayport –Blue Point ripped a base hit to right field to put the winning run on first base with one out.

Comsewogue’s Matt Bohenck came in to pitch the rest of the way, and the next batter grounded the ball to infield, where John Braun was able to make the tag at second and turn the double play to retire the side.

With runners on first and second, the Warriors threatened in the top of the ninth when Colasanto knocked down a bunt and dove to the bag to load the bases.

Bayport was able to hold on though, as Comsewogue stranded all three runners as the game headed into extra innings.

Bayport-Blue Point led off the ninth with a ground ball up the middle for a base hit. The situation grew desperate as the Phantoms loaded the bases, and on the next pitch, a base hit drove in the winning run to put the game away, 6-5, and force a decisive third.

The Warriors will host the Phantoms on Tuesday, with the first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.

“We let up,” Colasanto said. “We had a couple of walks and there’s really not much you can do about that. For Tuesday’s game, we can’t get too hyped because that’s when people get over anxious. We know we can beat them, so we just have to stay within ourselves.”

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Bulls will play Ward Melville in the Suffolk County Class A finals on Wednesday at Stony Brook University

Smithtown West’s Jarrod Wilkom moves the ball up the field while Smithtown East’s Connor Desimone defends. East topped its crosstown rival 17-11 in the Division I semifinals on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The No. 2-seeded Smithtown East boys’ lacrosse team collided with No. 6 Smithtown West in a battle of the Bulls Division I semifinal playoff matchup Friday, and while West was able to close within two goals late in the third quarter, East outscored its crosstown rival to claim a 17-11 victory and move on to play in the Suffolk County Class A finals.

Smithtown West’s Garrett Brunsvold winds up to shoot in his team’s 17-11 Division I semifinals playoff loss to Smithtown East on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown West’s Garrett Brunsvold winds up to shoot in his team’s 17-11 Division I semifinals playoff loss to Smithtown East on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

East scored the first four goals of the game with senior attack and co-captain Brian Willetts netting two, and junior attack Dan Rooney and sophomore midfielder Connor Desimone adding a goal apiece. Sophomore attack Sean Barry assisted in three out of four scores.

With his two goals and an assist later in the game, Willetts tallied his 311th career point to put his name in the Smithtown East record books as the top scorer in program history.

The senior attack said it wasn’t so much a personal achievement as it was a team record, adding that it wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the teammates he’s had over the years, and the support from his family.

“I owe a lot to my parents — my mom getting me doctor appointments whenever I needed them,” Willetts said. “She’s the reason I stay off the sideline as far as injuries are concerned, and I really appreciate everything she does for me.”

Six minutes into the contest, West sophomore attack Jimmy Caddigan’s solo shot broke the ice to get his team on the scoreboard.

East sophomore attack Michael Latini answered back after grabbing a rebound off the pipes, and pushed the ball to the back of the cage wit 49 seconds left in the quarter, to help his team jump out to a 5-1 advantage.

Caddigan dished one off to junior midfielder Dan Caroussos, who drove the ball home two minutes into the second quarter, and after winning the ensuing face off, West’s junior midfielder Danny Varello took the ball from midfield all the way to the net, and with the good goal, helped his team close the gap, 5-3.

Both teams traded scores, with East’s Barry receiving a feed from Desimone, followed by West senior midfielder Jarrod Wilkom’s unassisted goal that split the pipes to bring the score to 6-4.

Smithtown East’s John Daniggelis shoots the ball while Smithtown West’s Zach Lamberti hoists his stick up to defend in the Division I semifinal game on May 22 where East topped it crosstown rival 17-11. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East’s John Daniggelis shoots the ball while Smithtown West’s Zach Lamberti hoists his stick up to defend in the Division I semifinal game on May 22 where East topped it crosstown rival 17-11. Photo by Bill Landon

East continued to pepper the scoreboard with senior midfielder and co-captain John Daniggelis scoring twice, and Barry tallying another goal, to give East a 9-4 lead with 4:36 left to play in the second quarter.

East and West traded goals once more, to give the game a 10-5 halftime score.

“I feel like we moved the ball well today and we didn’t make too many stupid errors, and then we tightened it up on defense,” Barry said. “Coach told us to come out in the second half like the game was 0-0, and don’t let these guys get back in it.”

With the game slipping away, West took to the cage with three unanswered goals to open the scoring in the third. First, freshman attack Kyle Zawadzki’s shot found its mark, followed by Wilkom and sophomore midfielder Danny Riley, to trim the deficit to 10-8.

“I’m extremely proud of my players,” Smithtown West head coach Bob Moltisanti said. “I just told them that they have nothing to be ashamed of; they played their tails off. I told my seniors they can look themselves in the mirror and be proud of how they performed all season long.”

Unfazed by the scoring run, East retaliated with five unanswered goals of their own to bring the score to 15-8 heading into the final quarter.

“We know they’re a high-powered offense,” West’s Wilkom said. “We tried falling into a zone, but it wasn’t working for us in the first quarter, so we switched to man-to-man coverage in the second. We played well, but they got on some runs. It got away from us here and there, but we played well as a team.”

Desperate to stop the scoring frenzy, West leaned on Caroussos first, and then senior midfielder Garrett Brunsvold to make it a 15-10 game.

Smithtown East’s Dan Rooney elbows his opponent as he makes his way downfield in East’s 17-11 Division I semifinal playoff win over Smithtown West on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East’s Dan Rooney elbows his opponent as he makes his way downfield in East’s 17-11 Division I semifinal playoff win over Smithtown West on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

As the clock wound down, East hit the scoreboard twice more, while West’s final goal came from freshman attack Matt Miller off an assist from Caroussos.

“I thought we played pretty well, but they’re a great team,” Caddigan said of East. “They’re county champs two years in a row. They put up 17 on us. We put up 11, but it just wasn’t enough today.”

East head coach Jason Lambert said Smithtown West is also a great opponent that continues to get better, even with a younger roster.

“They graduated nine seniors last year and to make it this far is a testament to them and their coaching staff,” Lambert said. “We’re very fortunate. We’ve got a lot of kids who can move the ball around and they play unselfishly. We do a good job of sharing the wealth and we’ve done a good job at finishing all year long.”

East will face Ward Melville on Wednesday at Stony Brook University for the Suffolk County Class A title. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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Middle Country's Jamie Ortega beats out the Sachem East goalkeeper for a goal. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

After not playing for a week and a half, the Middle Country girls’ lacrosse team showed no signs of cobwebs. After a bye week, the top-seeded team in Division I easily outscored Sachem East, 16-4, Tuesday.

Middle Country's Amanda Masullo shoots through Sachem East traffic. Photo by Bill Landon
Middle Country’s Amanda Masullo shoots through Sachem East traffic. Photo by Bill Landon

“Considering we haven’t played in a week and a half, we came out and played the best game we’ve played so far,” Amanda Masullo said. “We played two complete halves today. Sometimes we get tired in the second half, but today we just kept going.”

Middle Country took command of the game from the opening draw, and the Mad Dogs broke out to an 8-0 lead midway through the first half, with the Ortega sisters, Nikki and Jamie, leading the way with two goals each. Sophomores Amanda Masullo and her twin sister Rachel, Ava Barry and senior Alison DiPaola added a goal apiece.

Sachem East lit up the scoreboard for the first time at the 4:41 mark, but midfielder Jamie Ortega scored again two minutes later, for her hat trick goal.

By the halftime break, Middle Country had tacked on four more goals for a 12-1 advantage.

“With the bye week, we had to stay consistent,” senior goalkeeper Ashley Miller said. “We practiced at game level and at game speed, so we could handle whatever they threw at us today. We played well in the second half, we kept up our intensity and we stayed focused because it’s easy to sit back and relax, but we didn’t.”

The scoring fest continued in the second half when Barry served one to Nikki Ortega for her hat trick goal, to break out to a 13-1 advantage. Soon after, the senior struck again, this time off a feed from Rachel Masullo.

Alison DiPaola moves the ball up the field for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon
Alison DiPaola moves the ball up the field for Middle Country. Photo by Bill Landon

“We had a harder schedule towards the end [of the regular season], so the bye week really helped us, because we definitely needed a rest,” Nikki Ortega said.

Middle Country passed the ball crisply and cleanly as they circled the cage looking for an opening. Amanda Masullo found one, and passed to Jamie Ortega on the cut. She drilled home her shot to give her team a 15-1 advantage.

Sachem East still had some life left in them, and managed three unanswered goals in the last 10 minutes of the game. The clock continued to run uninterrupted, and Nikki Ortega drove home the last goal of the afternoon, to put the playoff win into the record books.

“I thought we did an awesome job on our draw control today and when you control the draw, you control the game,” Middle Country head coach Lindsay Dolson said. “Our defense did an outstanding job to hold that team to only four goals. “We’ll work hard, stay focused and watch film to get ready for Smithtown West.”

After crosstown rival and No. 5-seed Smithtown West topped No. 4 Smithtown East Tuesday, the Bulls will get a rematch to avenge a loss at the hands of Middle Country in the Mad Dogs’ last game of the regular season. The semifinal playoff match will take place Friday at Newfield, at 4 p.m.

“We’ll need to be mentally prepared for the next round and forget that we’re undefeated,” Nikki Ortega said. “This is the playoffs. There are no second chances, so our next game is our whole season and we can’t let up.”

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