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Bill Landon

Catcher DL Rodriguez and outfielder Nick Curcio hug it out in celebration of their7-0 Class AA semifinal win over Smithtown West that will send them to the Suffolk County finals. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Northport players hug it out in celebration of their7-0 Class AA semifinal win over Smithtown West that will send them to the Suffolk County finals. Photo by Bill Landon
Catcher DL Rodriguez and outfielder Nick Curcio hug it out in celebration of their7-0 Class AA semifinal win over Smithtown West that will send them to the Suffolk County finals. Photo by Bill Landon

Northport’s No. 8-seeded baseball team blanked No. 5 Smithtown West, 7-0, to advance to the Class AA county championship behind pitching ace Nick Palmerini, who shut down the Bulls by throwing six shutout innings to lead his team to victory Wednesday.

Senior Joe Stockman started off swinging for the Tigers, as the shortstop ripped the ball down the right sideline for a stand-up double in the first at bat. Junior pitcher and third baseman Jake McCarthy drew a walk, and junior second baseman George Sutherland stepped into the batter’s box. A passed ball at the plate advanced both runners into scoring position, and Sutherland smacked the ball through the gap to bring Stockman home for an early lead.

Smithtown West had several opportunities, but stranded all runners on base.

Nick Palmerini pitched six shutout innings. Photo by Bill Landon
Nick Palmerini pitched six shutout innings. Photo by Bill Landon

Again, Stockman’s bat spoke as he went drove the ball to the opposite side of the field for his second double of the game. Junior outfielder Frankie Stola was up next, and was hit by a pitch and sent to first base.

“The rain delay wasn’t a distraction — we stayed focused, we had a great practice yesterday,” said Stockman of the game being pushed from Tuesday to Wednesday. “[Smithtown West] a good team and great competitors, but we had a great pitcher on the mound both days and we did what we needed to do to get the win.”

Just like in the bottom of the first, Smithtown West’s passed ball pitch put both runners in scoring position in the third. Sutherland had a base hit, plating Stockman, and junior outfielder Matt Lindley found the gap to score Stola for a 3-0 advantage. After Lindley stole second, senior pitcher and first baseman Dan Heller’s bat cracked as his base hit brought Sutherland home. Senior first baseman Tom Neary stepped up to the plate, and after taking the first two pitches, he jumped on the third and kept the rally alive when he rocketed a shot over the right-field fence for a home run and 6-0 lead.

“They had tough pitching in that first game so we had to stay focused mentally at the plate, have good at bats and get the little things done,” Neary said. “We won’t take a day off; we’ll stay focused in practice. We can’t afford to lay back — we’ve got a tough opponent coming up — so we have to work just as hard as we’ve been working.”

Smithtown West had seen enough and a change was made at the mound. The Bulls went through three pitchers on the afternoon in an attempt to stall Northport’s onslaught, which it did.

Second baseman George Sutherland drives in a run. Photo by Bill Landon
Second baseman George Sutherland drives in a run. Photo by Bill Landon

Palmerini retired the order in the top of the next two innings, and Northport threatened in the bottom of the fifth. After plating another runner, Northport put runners on first and second, but an infield heater was fielded for a clean double play to retire the side.

Desperate for a run, Smithtown West advanced both runners into scoring position on a passed ball at the plate. With one out, the runner at third took a healthy lead, and junior shortstop Nick Trabbachi drilled the deep to right field for the sacrifice fly. Lindley, the right fielder, caught the ball on the run and fired the ball toward home plate. The runner on third hesitated, and Lindley’s throw to the plate hit its mark in time to force the runner back to third.

“I was hoping he would go, but he held up and we got out of that inning,” Lindley said. “My pitcher just sets it up every time and we’re always ready for the play. It’s pure adrenaline. [We’re] so excited to make it to the counties.”

Although neither team faced each other in the regular season Smithtown West head coach Al Nucci said Northport was everything he thought they’d be, and then some.

“They threw strikes, they didn’t walk anyone, they challenged us, they were very aggressive and they attacked us early in the count,” Nucci said. “They’re a tremendous hitting team and they strung their hits together. I think they have a very good chance to win the county.”

Palmerini pitched his way out of a jam, stranding two runners to retire the side.

“I had to work back in counts — I got into a little bit of trouble,” Palmerini said. “Their one through four batters are very good, so I had to throw a lot of off-speed pitches and mix it up more than usual.”

First baseman Dan Heller attempts a pickoff. Photo by Bill Landon
First baseman Dan Heller attempts a pickoff. Photo by Bill Landon

McCarthy took over at the mound for Smithtown West’s final shot at the win, and sat the batters down in order.

Northport will travel to No. 2 West Islip for the first of a three-game series on May 28 at noon. The second game will be May 30 at Northport at noon.

“These guys are a loose group — they expect to win and they go out and play to win,” Northport head coach John De Martini said. “I thought we played great defense, we hit the ball well, and more than that, we got some awesome pitching. The kids have done that all year long.”

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Richie Lacalandra encounters resistance looking for the cutter in Comsewogue's 12-4 quarterfinal victory over Westhampton Beach. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Will Snelders won the battle for the Warriors.

The Comsewogue boys’ lacrosse junior attackman scored seven goals as his team blew out Westhampton Beach, 12-4, on its home field in the opening round of the Division II Class B playoffs Saturday afternoon.

Snelders scored early and often, and broke the ice five minutes in for the 1-0 lead. Then, he received a feed from senior midfielder and attack Brandon O’Donoghue, and drilled his shot home.

Will Snelders is sandwiched while sending home his seventh goal of the game. Photo by Bill Landon
Will Snelders is sandwiched while sending home his seventh goal of the game. Photo by Bill Landon

Westhampton scored the next two goals to make it a new game heading into the second stanza. Eventually, the Warriors breathed new life into the game. This time, senior midfielder John Koebel’s shot found the cage with 5:20 left in the first half, to put his team back in front.

And Comsewogue never looked back.

“It was hard work — we definitely came out hard,” said Koebel, who’s headed to Endicott College in Massachusetts to play lacrosse next year. “We had a lot of momentum coming in. A lot of people underestimated us this year. Will Snelders scoring seven goals … I have to thank him.”

Junior midfielder and attack Ryan Dorney’s stick spoke next as he took a feed from O’Donoghue and capitalized on his opportunity. From behind the net, senior midfielder Trevor Kennedy flicked the ball to an open Snelders in front of the cage, who startled the goalie by rocketing in his hat trick goal for a 5-2 advantage heading into the halftime break.

“It was not easy — they’re a tough team, they’ve got a lot of speed,” said Kennedy, who is headed to Assumption College in Massachusetts next season. “They were good, but we fought back.”

Westhampton scored three minutes into the third quarter to stop the bleeding briefly, but Snelders answered to maintain the three-goal lead , and scored the final goal of the stanza during a broken play with 52 seconds left.

Ryan Dorney scores off a feed from Brandon O'Donoghue. Photo by Bill Landon
Ryan Dorney scores off a feed from Brandon O’Donoghue. Photo by Bill Landon

Comsewogue faceoff specialist Kevin Tiedemann, a junior, owned the faceoff ‘X,’ going 16-for-21 to give the Hurricanes little opportunity to rally back.

In desperation, the Westhampton goalie yelled to his defensemen: “I know you’re all tired, but you can’t back off.”

But Snelders was first to find the back of the net with 9:15 left in the final quarter, when he fired at a small opening and split the pipes for his sixth goal of the game.

“We weren’t very confident coming into today’s game, but once we reached the half, we knew we were going to keep rolling,” Snelders said.

The junior attack scored his seventh goal with 6:15 left on the clock, and a minute later, Dorney dished the ball to sophomore attack Richie Lacalandra for a seven-goal advantage.

“It was a lot of hard work this week — we put a lot of effort in, we studied a lot of film, we prepared and we came out on top,” Dorney said. “We knew we had it with Will’s fourth or fifth goal. He sealed the deal. The kid was hot today, and we were able to finish.”

John Koebel gets pushed out of the box behind the cage. Photo by Bill Landon
John Koebel gets pushed out of the box behind the cage. Photo by Bill Landon

Lacalandra scored the team’s six straight goal, and Comsewogue head coach Pete Mitchell barked from the sideline: “Richie, we’re red unless they push,” as the Warriors played keepaway to tick time off the clock. With 1:38 left to play, Mitchell saw an opportunity to extend the lead, and yelled, “Richie you’re green,” signaling for the sophomore to take a shot. With that, Lacalandra fired, and scored the final point for his team, which was also his hat trick goal.

“Our faceoff was the game changer — Kevin Tiedemann came into the game focused,” Lacalandra said. “And our wing guys Matt [Fernandez] and Trevor [Kennedy] got to a lot of ground balls for us today.”

With time running out, the Hurricanes managed one final score before their season came to an end.

With the win, Comsewogue will face No. 2 Shoreham-Wading River in the semifinals on the road on Thursday, with the opening faceoff scheduled for 4 p.m.

“They’re a very talented team, so it all comes down to the matchup,” Mitchell said of his team’s next opponent. “The last time we faced them, we lost 4-3 in double overtime, so the boys are going to be ready. It’s going to be a great game for Suffolk County lacrosse.”

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The Patriots will face undefeated Half Hollo hills East in the semifinals Tuesday

By Bill Landon

The strength of the Ward Melville boys’ tennis team is in the power of its singles play. The Patriots swept all four singles matches in the Suffolk County quarterfinals match, defeating Bay Shore 5-2 on their home court Thursday.

Junior Dan Meinster, a co-captain, led the way winning his best of three singles match, downing his opponent 6-1, 6-4. Classmate Matt Roberts followed with a 6-2, 6-3 singles win. Both athletes earned All-County honors this season.

“I won, but there was definitely room for improvement,” Meinster said. “I won the first set 6-1, and felt I played pretty well, but I dropped my game a little in that second set.”

All-Division player Nick Decker, a junior, downed his challenger 6-4, 6-3, and junior co-captain Jonathan Gruberg made short work of his foe, 6-1, 6-1, for a clean sweep in singles.

“I was consistent,” Gruberg said. “I had good volleys and I was able to stay with it, hit the ball back and score points. It was a good win for the team and I’m happy with my performance.”

Leading the way for the Patriots in doubles action were junior Dylan Ratner and sophomore Deven Wackett. The two got off to a rocky start, dropping their first set 2-6, but both players showed why they were named All-County, and battled back to win the next two 7-5, 7-5 to snatch the victory.

Cameron Dean, the lone senior on the team, had his hands full in first doubles, dropping the first set, but won the second. Dean said he was up against a tough opponent. The turning point came in the final set.

“They broke serve in the third set to put us down 0-2 and that took a little wind out of our sails,” he said. “We fought back at the end, but it just wasn’t enough to get the job done today.”

Ward Melville head coach Erick Sussin was particularly pleased with the strength of his teams’ singles play.

“They’re a tough opponent but our strength is in singles,” he said. “In doubles, we knew it was going to be challenging, and we did well.”

Meinster, Roberts and Decker are a strong one, two three, according to Sussin.

“And Jon Gruberg at four has been solid,” the head coach added. “Our doubles lineup is strong with Deven Wackett and Dylan Ratner who’s been solid all season and has come on strong in the last two matches.”

With a 10-0 League V record, 15-3 overall, No. 4 Ward Melville advances to the semifinal round to face top-seeded Half Hollow Hills East, 16-0 overall, on the road Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Sussin said his team knows the magnitude of the semifinal matchup, knowing that it will be the toughest opponent his Patriots will face all season. Half Hollow Hills East outscored Ward Melville 6-1 in the regular season.

“They’re the best team in the county, but we went three sets in four of those matches [when we lost to them],” he said. “They’ll definitely have the advantage, and we are complete underdogs here, but that’s when we play our best. We’ve had some good losses and sometimes good losses are better than bad wins.”

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Logan Doran brings home Dominic Lamonica just before the tag to give the Patriots an opening-round playoff win

By Bill Landon

With both teams tied at four runs apiece, it wasn’t until the bottom of the ninth inning when Ward Melville’s Logan Doran smacked an infield grounder that sent teammate Dominic Lamonica racing and diving for home plate just ahead of the tag, to win the opening round of the Class AA playoffs, 5-4, against Half Hollow Hills West Monday afternoon.

“This is a great bunch of kids they play hard all the time and that’s a great baseball team over there — Hills West, they’re well-coached by a Hall of Fame coach, but our kids did a great job,” said Ward Melville head coach Lou Petrucci. “We battled back and we didn’t panic when we were down 3-1, and the kids got some clutch hits.”

Ward Melville’s Lamonica also struck first for his team, when he hit the ball to right field, driving in Brandon Lee for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning.

After starting pitcher Ben Brown let up just one hit in the first three innings, Hills West made him pay in the top of the fourth.

With a runner on first, Hills West drove the ball deep to center field that bounced over the fence, triggering a ground-rule double that put both runners in scoring position. A single to right field plated both runners, to give the Colts a 2-1 lead, but Lee followed with a pick-off at second for the second out to stop the bleeding. It didn’t last for long though, as the Colts smacked a shot to deep right field for a sliding triple, and the next batter drove the runner home.

“We’ve had games like this one all year long — fighting right to the end — so when we come into big moments like this we’re more prepared than other teams,” Lamonica said. “[Hills West is] a great team. Their pitching was phenomenal — they have one of the best pitchers in Suffolk County. We were able to barrel a few balls off of him, get a few runs and they were able to do the same against Ben [Brown].”

The Patriots went back to work in the bottom of the fourth, and Troy Davern started it off when he ripped an infield heater, and after a defensive bobble, beat the throw to first. Tom Hudzik stepped into the batters’ box next and drilled a long ball to right center field that bounced over the fence for the second ground-rule double of the game — moving Davern over to third. Nick Rizzi’s bat spoke next, and he hit an infield grounder that seemed to be a sure out, but Hills West made a throwing error to first, which plated Davern and Hudzik to tie the game 3-3. Rizzi stole second base, but was left stranded when the Colts retired the side.

With a runner on first, Hills West hit a stand-up double that put the runners in scoring position. The Colts finished the job with a rip to shallow left field that knocked in the opponent on third, to give the team a 4-3 edge in the top of the fifth.

The Patriots missed the opportunity to take the lead, and went down swinging with two runners on base. But Ward Melville was able to plate one more in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it a new game, and Tom Hudzik’s twin brother Matt took over the mound looking for the win.

“I’ve been in this situation multiple times this season, and every time I go [out there] I just have to throw strikes,” Matt Hudzik said. “I’ve got seven guys behind me that I know will make plays for me.”

Ward Melville missed another opportunity when the Patriots drew a walk to load the bases in the top of the eighth, and went down swinging.

After Matt Hudzik pitched three scoreless innings, the game came down to the bottom of the ninth.

“Matt Hudzik has been stalwart — he’s got five wins [now] out of the bullpen,” Petrucci said. “It was a great [showing by] Matt Hudzik and Ben Brown, who kept us in the game.”

Lamonica led off the inning with a routine pop-up that nobody called for, and the wind blew the ball as it dropped down for a charity single. Davern followed by drawing a walk, and after a strikeout, both runners advanced on a wild pitch. With runners on second and third now, Doran stepped into the batters’ box with two outs.

“I was in the same situation in the last game I played, and I didn’t get it done,” Doran said. “But I knew I’d get it done today in a big game.”

Lamonica, with a healthy lead, waited as Doran battled in the box, fouling several pitches before the count was full. Then, Doran drilled a ground ball up the middle to the shortstop, who fielded it cleanly and threw to home plate. But Lamonica had the lead, and beat the throw home for the game-winning run as the players rush to the diamond to pile up in celebration.

“You really don’t know the magnitude of the situation you’re in until you’re out of it,” Matt Hudzik said. “And it’s a great feeling once you’re out of it.”

No. 6 Ward Melville advances to take on No. 3 Smithtown East on the road May 17, at 4:15 p.m.

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Ben Resnick tags the Sachem North runner out at second base. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Kings Park baseball team had to sweep its remaining five games to even make the playoffs, and did, winning the five games in nine days to achieve a 10-10 record to send the Kingsmen into a postseason Class AA outbracket matchup Saturday afternoon. No. 19 Kings Park traveled to No. 14 Sachem North, and although the game remained close, at 2-0, most of the way, the Kingsmen couldn’t bring its base runners home, and fell 4-0, ending their season.

Chris Kenavan drills the ball to deep right field. Photo by Bill Landon
Chris Kenavan drills the ball to deep right field. Photo by Bill Landon

“I knew they were going to come out swinging,” Kings Park head coach Mike Luzim said of Sachem North. “And in the spot that they needed to, they came up big.”

The Flaming Arrows broke the ice in the bottom of the second inning with a deep shot to right field for a stand-up double that drove in two runs. Kings Park countered by making contact, but its opponent’s defense was able to make the plays to keep Kings Park scoreless.

After a lead-off walk by A.J. Fenton in the top of the fifth, Kings Park threatened when Ben Resnick also drew the walk to represent the tying runs on base. With two outs and two runners on, Jack Feibusch drilled one deep to left center, but Sachem North’s center fielder tracked it down in stride to retire the side.

Kings Park’s Ben Sacks took over the mound the rest of the way, but the Kingsmen’s bats went silent.

A.J. Fenton makes it back to first base safely after a pick-off attempt. Photo by Bill Landon
A.J. Fenton makes it back to first base safely after a pick-off attempt. Photo by Bill Landon

Luzim said he knew it was going to be a tough game, sighting both teams’ similar records.

“We kept them off-balance for a bit, but when we walked two and they hit that double that kind of capped it,” he said, adding that the opposing pitcher was the toughest his team had seen all year.

With runners at the corners, Sachem North smacked in another run to take a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Kingsmen went three up, three down in the top of the sixth, and the Flaming Arrows scored once more in the bottom of the inning to end the scoring.

“They’re a tough team,” Kings Park senior Chris Kenavan said. “We can play better than we did. It’s not the outcome we wanted, but in the end, we made a good run.”

Jack Feibusch makes a play on a hit that dropped into center field. Photo by Bill Landon
Jack Feibusch makes a play on a hit that dropped into center field. Photo by Bill Landon

Sachem North threatened, but got greedy on a single that the team tried to stretch to a double. Kings Park’s Resnick made the tag to throw the sliding runner out at second, to end the inning.

With their backs against the wall, Kings Park took to the plate for the final time. Again, contact wasn’t the problem, but a fly ball to the center fielder followed by a long drive to right field secured the first two outs, and the game ended with an infield pop-up.

Senior pitcher Mike Tully said that he expected his team to hit better, adding that that was the difference-maker in the game. His teammates agreed.

“Our plan coming into the game was whoever made the fewest mistakes would win the game,” Kings Park senior Jake Shickler said. “They’re a tough League II team — we definitely didn’t do our job hitting-wise and we made too many mistakes.”

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John Koebel cuts to the crease. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Comsewogue boys’ lacrosse team led by three goals to open the third quarter, but undefeated Bayport-Blue Point came back to win, 9-8, on Friday night with a shot with 11 seconds left on the clock.

Trevor Kennedy scores to the top right corner past a reaching goalkeeper. Photo by Bill Landon
Trevor Kennedy scores to the top right corner past a reaching goalkeeper. Photo by Bill Landon

“Tonight’s atmosphere was awesome and that’s what lacrosse is supposed to be and I thought we played well,” Comsewogue head coach Pete Mitchell said, adding that he was proud of his team for hanging with an opponent of Bayport’s caliber. “I thought we played well enough to win, but the kids played hard and I’m proud of their efforts tonight.”

The Warriors wasted no time getting the game going when midfielder Matthew Spahr, a University at Albany-bound senior, found the back of the cage just eight seconds into the contest, for the early lead.

Bayport-Blue Point answered back three minutes later to tie the game, but Comsewogue senior midfielder Trevor Kennedy’s shot found the cage to help his team edge ahead 2-1 at the 8:46 mark. The Phantoms scored next with four minutes left in the opening quarter, as Comsewogue drew a penalty and went a man down. Tied 2-2, Bayport-Blue Point looked to capitalize with the extra player, but Comsewogue’s defense stood its ground.

With seven seconds left, Kennedy, who will play for Assumption College next spring, struck again to put his team out front 3-2 to open the second stanza. Bayport barked back by firing two quick goals to edge ahead 4-3 and take the lead for the first time, but the Warriors were quick to respond when midfielder John Koebel, an Endicott College-bound senior, split the pipes to make it a new game, 4-4.

Richie Lacalandra snaps a shot between two Bayport-Blue Point defenders for the score. Photo by Bill Landon
Richie Lacalandra snaps a shot between two Bayport-Blue Point defenders for the score. Photo by Bill Landon

“I thought we started out hot, but I knew they were going to come back — they’re a second half team,” Kennedy said. “I knew that they would come out to play in the second half.”

Comsewogue rattled off the next three goals, with sophomore attack Richie Lacalandra, junior midfielder and attack Ryan Dorney and junior attack Will Snelders aiding the team in going up 7-4 to open the third quarter, but the Phantoms found a way to come back.

Comsewogue played keep away until the team turned the ball over, and  Bayport made them pay for it. Despite being a man down themselves now, the team made four quick passes for a score that cut the deficit. With 34 seconds left in the third, Comsewogue’s opponent struck again as the Warriors struggled to stop the onslaught.

With 10 minutes left, Comsewogue received a penalty, and committed another soon after, to go down two men. And the Phantoms cashed in. Bayport, at 12-0 on the season, proved why it’s gone undefeated for a reason, and rattled off two more goals for an 8-7 lead with seven minutes left in regulation.

Kevin Tiedemann dives for a loose ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Kevin Tiedemann dives for a loose ball. Photo by Bill Landon

Kennedy’s stick spoke once more when his shot found the net for his hat trick goal to deadlock the game with little time remaining. Overtime seemed likely, but on the ensuing faceoff, the Phantoms made three quick flips and fired at the Comsewogue cage. The shot found its mark and Bayport edged ahead to retake the lead, 9-8, with 11 showing on the scoreboard clock. Comsewogue won the final faceoff and with precious seconds left, failed to find a clear lane to the cage.

“We did some things that are uncharacteristic of what we do,” Mitchell said. “We lacked discipline by not taking a last shot in the final seconds.”

The loss drops the Warriors to 9-3 in Division II with two games remaining before the playoffs.

“They played a good game,” Mitchell said of Bayport. “And I hope to see them again.”

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Senior midfielder Justin Eck fires at the cage. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Middle Country countered Half Hollow Hills West’s four unanswered goals with four of their own to close within one in the second quarter of Division I boys’ lacrosse action Thursday afternoon, but the Mad Dogs couldn’t maintain the same level as the Colts and fell 15-9 in their second to last game of the season.

Trailing by two, Middle Country finally got on the scoreboard when junior Ryan Wheeler dished the ball to classmate and midfielder Michael Benasutti, who drove his shot home to cut the lead in half, to 2-1, at the 4:30 mark of the opening quarter.

The Colts countered by rattling off four unanswered goals in the next two minutes for a 6-1 advantage in the opening minute of the second quarter, but the Mad Dogs found a rhythm and scored four of their own, beginning with senior midfielder Kyle Stemke, to pull within one goal. Next to score was senior attack Ty Tracey, who connected for the score on a pass from senior attack David Garcia, the cutter, and Stemke struck again with a blast just outside the crease with six minutes left in the half to help his team close within two, 6-4.

Senior attack David Garcia gets checked. Photo by Bill Landon
Senior attack David Garcia gets checked. Photo by Bill Landon

“They’re a strong team — it just comes down to heart and that plays a major role in the game,” Stemke said.

Garcia’s stick spoke next when his shot stretched the net to shave the deficit to 6-5 at the 2:33 mark.

Garcia said knowing his teammates since childhood has helped the team developed a bond both on and off the field.

“We knew that they were a very good team, we worked hard and we’ve played our whole lives together,” Garcia said, adding that his team was able to come back because “we kept each other up and we stayed positive the whole way.”

The Mad Dogs came no closer though, as the Colts rattled the cage with five more goals in less than two minutes, to surge ahead 11-5 at the halftime break.

Middle Country opened the third quarter able to hold the Colts in check, and junior attack Matthew Gensinger’s drilled one past the goalie to stop the onslaught. Unlike the final minutes of the second quarter, the Middle Country defense was able to hold its opponent, limiting the Colts to just two goals in the third, but the Mad Dogs failed to score again until the final quarter.

With less than five minutes left in the game, junior midfielder Jessie McKeever fed senior midfielder Justin Eck on a cut, and he drilled his shot just inside the pipes to trail 13-7.

Middle Country kept pace the rest of the way, with junior Nicholas Belmonte and sophomore Daniel Hogan countering two Half Hollow Hills goals, but the team’s efforts were not enough to catch the Colts.

Middle Country head coach Christopher Siragusa said he thought his team would have been able to keep up with its opponent if it weren’t for the last two minutes of the second quarter.

Senior midfielder Kyle Stemke sprints to the crease. Photo by Bill Landon
Senior midfielder Kyle Stemke sprints to the crease. Photo by Bill Landon

“I thought that we could handle them,” he said. “It depended on what team we had on the field — we’re a strong character team, we fought with every team we faced this season, even the top dogs. We thought we had a good shot at it.”

Senior goalkeeper Christian Brody said he wasn’t surprised by Half Hollow Hills West, and knew he would have a busy day between the pipes.

“They’re what we expected — they’re heavy shooters and they swing the ball very well,” said Brody, who finished with 11 saves. “But it’s all about how our defense sets up, and we had great stops on defense. They did a good job.”

Stemke said he’s felt honored to play on the same field as his goalkeeper, who has worked hard to keep the team in games this season.

“Our goalie played great,” he said. “He’s having a great year and I can’t thank him enough for getting in that cage every game.”

With the loss, Middle Country drops to 4-9, and will finish out the season hosting Lindenhurst on Thursday at 7 p.m.

 

This version corrects the Half Hollow Hills West mascot.

Miller Place's Alyssa Parrella moves around John Glenn’s Amelia Biancardi. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Miller Place dominated over visiting Elwood-John Glenn amid light rain Tuesday afternoon. The Panthers outscored their opponent 9-1 after 25 minutes of play in Division II girls’ lacrosse action, and despite the Knights scoring six goals in the second half, Miller Place was able to extinguish the rally and put the game away 17-7 to improve to 8-3 in the league and secure a solid playoff position.

The Panthers spread the scoring around in the first half, but senior Kristin Roberto led the way, as the midfielder and captain scored twice. Attacks Olivia Angelo, Julia Burns, Loren Librizzi and Allison Turturro each found the cage, as did midfielder Danielle Plunkett. The two other co-captains, junior midfielder Arianna Esposito and senior midfielder Alyssa Parrella, also split the pipes to dominate the game early.

Arianna Esposito cuts downfield for Miller Place. Photo by Bill Landon
Arianna Esposito cuts downfield for Miller Place. Photo by Bill Landon

Senior captain Amelia Biancardi scored the lone goal of the first half for the Knights 12 minutes into the contest.

To combat the deficit, Elwood-John Glenn head coach Janine Bright made a change in her team’s strategy for the second half. Bright said she knew Miller Place was a formidable opponent and that her team would have to fight from whistle to whistle for any chance of winning.

“We have to play a full 25 minute half — not just show up for six minutes in the first half, seven minutes in the second half — we have to play the entire game with full intensity from start to finish,” Bright said. “If we did that, today’s score could’ve been very different.”

Parrella opened the second half by lighting up the scoreboard with two quick goals — the first off an assist by Plunkett and then a solo shot for her hat trick goal, putting her team out front 11-1.

Miller Place head coach Thomas Carro said the leadership from his team’s captains is the reason for the team’s success this season.

“I think we’re peaking at the right time, and the girls are firing on all cylinders right now,” Carro said. “Their positive attitude on and off the field is just contagious. The girls are starting to believe in themselves and as a result of that, they can play with anybody this season.”

Biancardi, from a free position shot, scored again to make it a nine-point game with 16:03 left to play, but Parrella, unassisted, buried another one two minutes later to reopen the gap. Biancardi answered back at the 11:45 mark with a hat trick goal of her own, to bring the score to 12-3.

Miller Place's Loren Librizzi passes the ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Miller Place’s Loren Librizzi passes the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

“In previous years, we’ve played them closer, but they played amazing today,” Biancardi said. “They have so much speed on that team and you could see the difference.”

After another Panthers goal, Biancardi struck again after circling the cage and slipping an underhand shot in for the score. On the Knights’ next possession, Biancardi fed the ball to Madisyn Hausch, who found the net as momentum began to shift.

“[The Knights] have a couple of really good players who are not afraid to take it to cage,” Roberto said. “We had to step up and put pressure on them because they can score. We couldn’t take them lightly at all.”

Victoria Tsangaris drove one home from the free position, followed by Hausch’s second goal a minute later, to shave the Panthers’ lead to 13-7, but the Panthers capped off the game by scoring four more goals.

“Early on they were beating us to the ball, so we had to step it up — they came at us strong,” Parrella said. “Everyone’s fighting to make playoffs and we knew that if we played our game we’d come out on top.”

Warriors win their third of six one-goal games this season

Huntington's Tara Wilson and Comsewogue's Hannah Dorney fight for possession. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Despite four yellow cards that forced Comsewogue to play a man down in the final minutes of the game, the Warriors were able to hold on to a 9-8 win over the Huntington girls’ lacrosse team in a must-win match to keep their playoff hopes alive.

“We’re [5-6 in Division II], but our record doesn’t show how good we can play,” Comsewogue sophomore Hannah Dorney said. “We’ve had [six] one-goal games and we knew this game would be close.”

Huntington broke the ice two minutes in when senior attack Emma DeGennaro found the cage unassisted, but Comsewogue’s Dorney dished the ball to junior midfielder Jamie Fischer on a cross, and she too buried her shot to tie the game minutes later.

Comewogue's Julia Tuohy cuts upfield. Photo by Bill Landon
Comewogue’s Julia Tuohy cuts upfield. Photo by Bill Landon

At the 12-minute mark, freshman attack Julia Fernandes scored next to put the Warriors ahead 2-1, but the advantage continued to change sides. The Blue Devils put away the next two goals, with junior midfielder Ryann Gaffney scoring first, and DeGennaro following with her second goal of the game, to put her team ahead 3-2. Seconds after, Dorney got the call and hit her mark to again even the score.

With 18 seconds remaining in the first half, junior attack Julia Tuohy took matters into her own hands and darted from behind the net, firing a shot that put the Warriors out front 4-3 heading into the halftime break.

Tuohy said her team lost a tough game two years ago to Huntington, a 15-1 loss, and were thirsty for revenge.

“The game was close — another one-goal game for us — but this time, we won,” she said of her team that has now been a part of six one-goal games this season. “We were a little nervous in the first half, but after our coaches talked to us at halftime, we really picked it up, got it into gear.”

DeGennaro recorded her hat trick goal a minute into the second half with a solo shot that retied the game.

“Coming into it we knew they were going to be close to us, and we expected a good matchup,” DeGennaro said. “It was a big game — we played hard, we played well on defense, and we’ve been working on that in practice.”

Three minutes later, after an unintended deflection from one of its defensive players, the ball squeezed past the Huntington goalkeeper Allison Berejka to hand Comsewogue a 5-4 lead.

Again, Huntington had an answer though, as DeGennaro split the pipes, to even the score at the 22:15 mark.

After receiving its second yellow card, Comsewogue struggled to stay at full strength, but were able to retake the lead when Tuohy scored, to edge ahead 6-5 with 15 minutes left.

Comsewogue's Jamie Fischer and Huntington's Ryann Gaffney fight for possession at the draw. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Jamie Fischer and Huntington’s Ryann Gaffney fight for possession at the draw. Photo by Bill Landon

To continue the back-and-forth battle, Huntington hit the scoreboard next with two unanswered goals. First, senior attack and midfielder Katie Reilly served one up to sophomore midfielder Emma Greenhill, who drove her shot home, and Reilly, with her third assist of the afternoon, followed with a pass to Gaffney, who scored the goal that gave her team the lead, again.

“Coming in I knew it was going to be an important game,” Gaffney said. “We stepped up to the plate and I’m proud of how our team played. We have to work on our transition, [but] I thought our defense played strong and I thought we played a great game.”

The Warriors countered with three successive scores for a 9-7 advantage with just under 10 minutes left, and A third yellow card against Comsewogue gave Huntington a chance to come back, but the team struggled to capitalize as the clock wound down to six minutes.

Comsewogue head coach Jim Fernandes drew his team’s fourth yellow card, which by rule left his team down a player the rest of the way.

“We overcame not only the other team, but [we overcame] the officials in my opinion,” he said. “I got carded and I asked them to play for me and pull this thing out, and they did.”

Huntington took advantage of the extra player on the field and Reilly erased the insurance goal when her shot split the pipes, but Comsewogue played keep away in the final two minutes, and held on to improve to 5-6 in Division II with three conference games left to play.

Huntington slipped 4-7 with four league games left on its schedule.

“We beat some of the teams that beat them,” Huntington head coach Jessica Maggio said. “We were unsure of how the matchup would be, but we had some throw aways and mistakes. We’re young and we’re dealing with injuries, [but] I thought it was pretty even, as it was a one-goal game the whole way.”

Centereach's Sean McGuinness scoops up an infield dribbler. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

With rain coming down, Centereach took to the field against Huntington and the Blue Devils stepped into the batter’s box first for a League IV baseball matchup Tuesday afternoon in Centereach.

Huntington's Luke Eidle releases a fastball. Photo by Bill Landon
Huntington’s Luke Eidle releases a fastball. Photo by Bill Landon

Huntington (1-11 in conference play) struck first when, on a Centereach throwing error, Brian Donnelly crossed the plate for the first run of the game.

Centereach’s Victor Corsaro doubled, representing the tying run in the bottom of the inning, and teammate Kyle Cerbone ripped one through the gap to even the score with two outs.

The rain grew steady though, and when the umpire behind the plate charged the infield to cover the ensuing play, he slipped and fell in deteriorating conditions.

“I saw him slip the first time and he warned me about the field conditions, and I said to him ‘we’ve had this conversation before,’” Centereach head coach Mike Herrschaft said. “This field can’t take a lot of rain and you can see how it’s getting slick out there at shortstop.”

Huntington managed to score another run in the top of the second to take a 2-1 lead, and the Cougars went back to work at the plate. Centereach (2-10) popped the ball up shallow in the infield and the plate umpire approached the play and fell a second time. The official was slow to get up. After a brief conference between both coaches, the umpires left Nick Corsaro in the batter’s box with his team trailing by one with two outs.

“The umpire called the game because of unsafe conditions on the field,” Huntington head coach Bill Harris said. “Where the field transitions to the grass, he slipped and fell.”

Centereach's Matt Hirsch hurls from the mound. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach’s Matt Hirsch hurls from the mound. Photo by Bill Landon

The game was suspended after an inning and a half, so the balance of the game will be completed at a later date.

“I saw him slip the second time and he said he didn’t want to see one of the kids slip and get hurt,” Herrschaft said. “You can’t argue with that, but this is the first time I’ve known a game to be called because of unsafe conditions for the umpires. The kids are wearing spikes and the umpires are wearing sneakers.”

Herrschaft added that both teams will take the mound Friday afternoon for a scheduled matchup and then complete the suspended game for the doubleheader at home.

Centereach traveled to Huntington on Wednesday for game two of the three-game series, but results of that game were not available by press time.

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