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Ward Melville

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Ashley Hart competes in the 100-meter backstroke, where she placed second with a time of one minute, 13.21 seconds. The Patriots lost, 97-81, to Half Hollow Hills on Oct. 9.Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Unlike years past, the girls swimming team of Ward Melville tasted something it hasn’t sampled in many years — a defeat.

The defending Suffolk County champions fell at Half Hollow Hills, 97-81, Friday afternoon in a League I meet, for the Patriot’s third loss of the season.

Ward Melville head coach Chris Gordon said that in the past, his team would field three or four swimmers in every event, but after losing more than a dozen seniors to graduation this year, this season’s team does not have the depth that past teams in the Patriots’ swimming dynasty had.

Liliana Ayer, who placed second in diving, tumbles off the one-meter board during the Patriots' 97-81 loss to Half Hollow Hills on Oct. 9. Photo by Bill Landon
Liliana Ayer, who placed second in diving, tumbles off the one-meter board during the Patriots’ 97-81 loss to Half Hollow Hills on Oct. 9. Photo by Bill Landon

“You saw it here today — they took second, third and fourth in several events, and when you can do that, you’re going to win the meet,” Gordon said of Half Hollow Hills.

Senior co-captain Katie Wang competed in the 200 medley, 50 freestyle and 200 freestyle.

“I felt good in the water,” she said. “I’ve been [focusing] on my technique.”

Placing second in the diving competition was freshman Liliana Ayer, and third place went to fellow freshman Hannah Goldhaber. Rounding out fourth place was the senior Jennifer Yavid, who is playing in her fourth season on the varsity squad.

Junior Ashley Hart competed in the 100-meter backstroke, where she placed second with a time of one minute, 13.21 seconds.

Senior so-captain Casey Gavigan easily won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:27.30, a performance that qualified her for a spot in the NYSPHSAA Championship competition in Ithaca in November. Gavigan has also qualified for the state championship in the 100 backstroke, and will look to defend her title in that event as the reigning state champion.

The co-captain said that despite her personal success, it’s been difficult for the team to live up to its reputation.

“After our championship season last year, we have a huge title to look up to, so it’s a lot of pressure,” Gavigan said. “But so long as all of the girls try their best, the coaches and we as captains are proud of them, and they should be proud of themselves.”

Ward Melville will host Brentwood next, on Thursday. The meet is scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m.

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Ward Melville
Ward Melville junior midfielder Madison Hobbes is chased for the ball in the Patriots' 6-0 shut out of Brentowod on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville junior midfielder Madison Hobbes is chased for the ball in the Patriots’ 6-0 shut out of Brentowod on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

After a slow start, and leading 2-0 at the end of 40 minutes, the Ward Melville girls’ soccer team leaned on its bench in the second half to overpower Brentwood and put the game away, 6-0.

“I was happy with our play in the first five to 10 minutes when we scored quick, but we fell into a lull — thinking we were going to have an easy game,” Ward Melville head coach John Diehl said. “I didn’t like our performance for most of the first half, but we picked it up midway through the second.”

Ward Melville sophomore forward Kerri Liucci opened the scoring four minutes in when she broke free of defenders and shot from the left side, beating the keeper to the right corner for the score.

Junior midfielder and co-captain Megan Raftery struck next off a corner kick, to help the Patriots edge ahead, 2-0.

Ward Melville senior forward and co-captain Ciara Guglielmo stops the ball to gain possession at midfield in the Patriots' 6-0 blanking of Brentwood on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville senior forward and co-captain Ciara Guglielmo stops the ball to gain possession at midfield in the Patriots’ 6-0 blanking of Brentwood on Oct. 5. Photo by Bill Landon

“We had good possession today — we really stepped it up even though we had a considerable lead,” Raftery said. “But it was a much better effort in that second half.”

Diehl said he decided to start some players in the second half who don’t normally start and don’t receive as much playing time.

“They came in and did a great job,” he said. “They did what we wanted, because we needed a change in the second half.”

Raftery opened the second half with her second goal of the game, after leaping in the air and heading a corner kick past the keeper with authority, for a three-goal advantage.

“I’m designated to go to the net for every corner [kick],” Raftery said. “It was a cross from Ciara Guglielmo and I was able to head it in. It’s a set play for us and we practice it all the time.”

On a crossing pass three minutes later, sophomore midfielder Arianna Barbieri passed to junior midfielder Hannah Hobbes, who buried her shot.

Ward Melville junior midfielder and co-captain Megan Raftery, who had two goals in the Patriots' 6-0 win at Brentwood on Oct. 5, heads the ball. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville junior midfielder and co-captain Megan Raftery, who had two goals in the Patriots’ 6-0 win at Brentwood on Oct. 5, heads the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

“I got a great cross and I just tapped it in,” Hobbes said. “We had a better second half with better possession and good passing.”

With just over 20 minutes left to play, it was Guglielmo, a senior forward and co-captain’s turn, as she drove a teammate’s rebound off a save from the Brentwood goalkeeper back at the net, and this time, in, for the 5-0 lead.

“I thought we had great possession on a grass field, because we usually don’t play on grass,” Guglielmo said. “It’s bumpy and a different way of play, so in the second half we got used to the [field] and played to our feet.”

Rounding out the scoring for Ward Melville was junior forward Erin O’Connor, who found the net at the 18:13 mark, to put the game away, 6-0.

With the win, the Patriots improve to 7-1-2 in League I, and will travel to Sachem North Wednesday for a 4:15 p.m. game.

The Ward Melville football team got on the scoreboard first Saturday in a battle on the gridiron against visiting Northport, but the Tigers ultimately spoiled the Patriots’ homecoming celebration, winning 35-21.

Ward Melville (1-2) opened the scoring with an impressive 16-play, 82-yard drive, capped by senior running back Nick Cervone’s 7-yard touchdown run and junior kicker Joe LaRosa’s point after, to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead.

But Northport responded with a touchdown run of its own to tie it up.

With 1:57 left in the quarter, Ryan Elliot punctuated a nine-play, 65-yard march with a 13-yard touchdown run. With the point-after attempt successful by Ryan Tromblee, the game was tied, 7-7.

On the next possession, Northport intercepted senior quarterback Matthew O’Hea’s pass over the middle. The pass, which was intercepted by Northport safety Dan Preston, was returned 70 yards for the tiebreaking score.

Northport continued to light up the scoreboard, and took advantage of two turnovers, scoring three touchdowns to end the first half leading 35-7.

The Tigers didn’t score after the halftime break, while Ward Melville capitalized on two opportunities in the fourth to close the gap, 35-21.

First, junior wide receiver John Corpac scored on a 15-yard pass from O’Hea, who finished the game going 10-for-16 with 101 yards and two interceptions, and after, senior wide receiver Vincent Negri scored off a 1-yard pass from junior quarterback Wesley Manning.

Ward Melville looks to bounce back from the loss when the Patriots travel to Sachem North Friday, with the hopes of spoiling their opponent’s homecoming festivities. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Ward Melville's Lexi Reinhardt (No. 9) taps the ball into the cage off a feed from Kerri Thornton (No. 12) during the Patriots' 4-0 shutout of Commack on Sept. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Ward Melville swarmed the field Tuesday and with an impressive passing performance gave Commack more than it could handle, blanking their opponent 4-0 on the road in Division I field hockey action.

The Patriots got to work three minutes in when sophomore Kerri Thornton hit the scoreboard first off an assist from fellow sophomore Kate Mulham, to take an early lead.

Ward Melville's Katie Mulham moves the ball down the field during the Patriots' 4-0 blanking of Commack on Sept. 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville’s Katie Mulham moves the ball down the field during the Patriots’ 4-0 blanking of Commack on Sept. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

“I had a great insert from Kate Mulham,” Thornton said of the first goal of the game. “Our passing today was the best [we’ve had this season].”

Having lost to their Division I rival Sachem East on Saturday, the Patriots’ play was crisper, more deliberate, and they were faster to the ball than their opponents to bounce back and learn from their defeat.

“I think that coming off Saturday’s loss to Sachem East, today, we showed a lot of discipline,” said Ward Melville head coach Shannon Watson. “We were able to play at our level, the entire game.”

With 13:06 left in the first half, junior Kassidy Rogers-Healion passed the ball to freshman Lexi Reinhardt, who redirected the ball in the front of the cage for the score to put her team out front, 2-0.

At the 10-minute mark, Commack made an offense push, spending more time in front of the Patriots’ box, but Ward Melville senior goalkeeper Emily Hoey stood tall and extinguished the Cougars’ onslaught. She notched four saves on the afternoon.

Ward Melville wasn’t finished scoring, and a minute later, Reinhardt found the box again, this time, off an assist by Thornton, to help her team break out to a 3-0 lead.

“It was a fast break and the defender was on Kerri [Thornton],” Reinhardt said. “I was right in front of the goal and she passed it to me, and I just tapped it in.”

With just over four minutes left in the half, Commack’s Brooke Novello squared off against Hoey with a penalty shot at point-blank range, which Hoey was able to deflect, spoiling the Cougars’ best scoring opportunity of the afternoon.

Ward Melville's Kiera Alventosa air dribbles the ball during the Patriots' 4-0 win over Commack on Sept. 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville’s Kiera Alventosa air dribbles the ball during the Patriots’ 4-0 win over Commack on Sept. 22. Photo by Bill Landon

Reinhardt wasn’t done, and buried her hat trick goal early in the second half, to put the game away, 4-0.

“I got a great pass [from junior Hannah Lorenzen] and I just tapped it in,” Reinhardt said. “I had a lot of help today from my teammates.”

Watson said that junior Kiera Alventosa and senior Shawn Davenport held the midfield together, which was key to getting the ball up front.

“They both did a really nice job for us in the midfield this afternoon,” she said. “They made smart choices and they anchored the center of the field today.”

With the win, Ward Melville improves to 4-1, and will look to improve on that when the Patriots host Bay Shore on Friday. The opening face-off is scheduled for 4:15 p.m.

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Ward Melville junior wide receiver John Corpac cuts up the middle in the Patriots' 28-13 loss to Lindenhurst Friday. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Ward Melville football team was able to stay within striking distance through two quarters of play in its season opener, but visiting Lindenhurst broke the game open in the second half to defeat the Patriots 28-13 in League I gridiron action Friday night.

After a slow start, the Bulldogs struck first three minutes into the second quarter when senior quarterback Ryan Hofmann connected with junior wide receiver Steven Ramirez for the score, and with the extra point good, the team led 7-0.

With just over a minute left in the half, Ward Melville senior quarterback Matthew O’Hea found junior wide receiver John Corpac, who turned the corner and flew down the right sideline to go the distance for the touchdown. It was a 61-yard pass play that put the Patriots on the scoreboard, but when the point after attempt pushed wide left, Ward Melville trailed 7-6.

Ward Melville senior running back Nick Cervone draws a crowd as he rushes with the ball in the Patriots' 28-13 loss to Lindenhurst Friday. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville senior running back Nick Cervone draws a crowd as he rushes with the ball in the Patriots’ 28-13 loss to Lindenhurst Friday. Photo by Bill Landon

It became a game riddled with cramps and penalties, and the Patriots led the way in both categories.

“You can’t let officiating determine a games [outcome], it’s got to be decided on the field by the players,” Ward Melville head coach Chris Boltrek said. “And unfortunately, our guys didn’t do what we asked them to do [tonight].”

The Hofmann–Ramirez tandem answered back on the last play of the half for another touchdown. After a failed point after, the Bulldogs took a 13-6 lead into the halftime break.

Boltrek said that going into the third quarter being one score down to the reigning county champions wasn’t a bad thing.

“I thought we had a chance the entire time, but between penalties and cramped players, we don’t have the depth to pull that off,” he said.

Lindenhurst looked to put the game away on the second play from scrimmage to open the second half, and it did. Senior running back Joe Barber pushed his way up the middle, breaking several tackles, and made his way 65 yards downfield for the score to put the Bulldogs out in front, 19-6. Junior quarterback Austin Perri scored next for the Bulldogs, as he plowed his way into the end zone for a two-point conversion, to help his team break out to a 21-6 lead.

Ward Melville was unable to answer, and again fell victim to the Hofmann–Ramirez combination. The two paired up on a pass play and Lindenhurst took a commanding 28-6 advantage.

Ward Melville senior quarterback Matthew O-Hea makes a deep pass in the Patriots' 28-13 loss to Lindenhurst Friday. Photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville senior quarterback Matthew O’Hea makes a deep pass in the Patriots’ 28-13 loss to Lindenhurst Friday. Photo by Bill Landon

Deep in their own territory, Ward Melville senior running back Nick Cervone provided the spark to make it a two-score game when he broke outside and cut to the middle of the field. After the dust settled, he went 81 yards for the score to trim the Ward Melville deficit, and sophomore kicker Joe LaRosa split the uprights to trail 28-13.

The Bulldogs threatened again deep into the Patriots’ territory but on a rare miscue, coughed up the ball as Ward Melville recovered the fumble on their own 15-yard line.

With just under five minutes remaining in the game, the Patriots ran the hurry-up offense as O’Hea aired the ball out the rest of the way, but no open receiver could be found.

“I thought we let it get away from us,” Boltrek said. “We’ve got to fix the mistakes, but it was great that we hung with the defending county champs.”

Smithtown's Matt McDonnell gets his head on the ball during a game against Ward Melville. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Bulls came out charging and are off to a good start after blanking Ward Melville 1-0 in a nonleague season opener for both teams Tuesday.

But Smithtown West head coach Tom Lips said he’d like to see more out of his team.

“We looked like it was preseason,” he said. “The kids were heavy and we’ve done a lot of fitness over the past week or so. But for what they had gone through physically with the bus trip and the heat wave and all of that, I thought they did a good job.”

Both teams started off trading possession for the first 20 minutes with neither team dominating before the referees called for a water break on account of the high heat index.

“We came in flat,” Ward Melville head coach Jon Stecker said. “Usually we come in and I’m worried about the young guys, but the young guys played well. I definitely need more leadership from my seniors. I think that’s where we had some problems today.”

Smithtown's Harrison Weber gets in front of a Ward Melville player as he reaches for possession. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown’s Harrison Weber gets in front of a Ward Melville player as he reaches for possession. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The game remained scoreless after the first half. And coming back onto the field more rejuvenated, Smithtown West senior forward Matt McDonnell stuffed the ball into the right goal side after a cross and rebound less than 15 minutes into play to give his team its first goal and, ultimately, the win.

Smithtown West came close to another goal at the 20:11 mark with a shot just above the goalkeeper’s head, but Ward Melville senior Peter Jespersen reached up toward the crossbar and just grazed the ball with his fingertips before pulling it down for the stop.

“I think we’ve been coming together well,” Stecker said. “We are young, but we still have high expectations for these guys. Today was disappointing, because we can play better than we did today.”

Ward Melville junior midfielder Jared Lee said he thinks his team didn’t play as good as it could, and said the Patriots have been coming together, but still have a long way to go.

“We were just too soft and we were scared of the ball,” he said. “We didn’t play well at all. We need to work on playing together and connecting everywhere on the field.”

For Stecker, he said he’d like to see his seniors step up.

“We need to work on communication a little bit and that’s one of the issues when you have a young team,” he said, with a starting lineup that boasts seven seniors and three sophomores. “The sophomores hesitate at times to communicate because other guys are significantly older than them, so we have to get past that. We also need to stick to our game plan, and our game is to put the ball on the ground and play. We got into their kick-and-run style, and they’re more physical than us and faster than us, so we can’t play to their strengths — we need to stay consistent and play to ours.”

The Bulls got one more chance with less than 10 minutes left to play with a quick shot toward Jespersen, but he was able to grab the ball and pull into his chest for his final save of the day.

“The matchup against Ward Melville was very physical, like usual, and we’re going to see that all season — we just have to work hard and keep our minds straight,” Smithtown West senior forward John Barone said. “We can always work harder. It’s just the beginning of the season; we need to work out the kinks.”

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Ward Melville fencers pose for a group photo. Photo from Jeff Salmon

By Clayton Collier

Ward Melville fencing, long-established as the powerhouse program of Long Island, is evidently a fast track to some of the nation’s best colleges as well.

Five members of the Patriots’ fencing programs will continue their playing careers at the collegiate level this fall.

Angela Zhang, Carly Weber-Levine, Michael Skolnick, Ilana Solomon and Michael Antipas will attend Cornell University, Stanford University, Vassar College, Columbia University and the University of Notre Dame, respectively, as members of their schools’ fencing programs.

Ward Melville head coach Jeff Salmon, who has brought the program to eight-straight undefeated seasons, County and Long Island Championships, said the five were the most he’s had recruited in an individual year since he started the program in 1999.

“Athletes come in waves and we happened to have a number of stars graduate this year,” he said. “But I am very proud of how the program has developed and extremely proud of the commitment we’ve seen from our athletes.”

Solomon, who will join the 2015 NCAA Champion Columbia fencing squad, said the winning culture of Ward Melville has prepared her for the challenge ahead, come this winter at Columbia.

“The fencing team provides a unique athletic experience, as it is an individual sport, but we need to win as a team,” said Solomon, a two-time All Long Island sabreuse. “This fosters great support from our peers on the fencing team who get to know how each athlete works under pressure, and the best way to help each individual person do the best she or he can in order to win as a team.”

Antipas, a two-time County Champion foiler, who sports a career 117-1 record, said Salmon, as well as his wife Jennie, who recently retired from coaching, have been instrumental in helping him reach this point.

“They’ve pushed me every step of the way, and made sure at practice I made myself better and gave me advice whenever I wanted it and needed it,” he said. “We have worked on technique together and strategies together and even mental toughness and sharpness.”

Saying goodbye to this bunch will be no easy task for Salmon or girl’s coach Alyssa Lombardi. In addition to Antipas and Solomon. Skolnick, Zhang and Weber-Levine also had plenty on their high-school résumés worth writing home about. Zhang, a foiler, sported a career 128-14 record — a program record — while picking up four First Team All-Long Island selections. Weber-Levine, a saber competitor, was 94-4 in her high school career, a two-time All-County selectee and a 2014 Division 1A National Champion. Skolnick, a foiler, described by Salmon as “clutch” and “strategic,” was All-County his senior year and sported a 27-25 record.

Moving forward without these five will be tough for Salmon, but he said there is still plenty of talent left to fill in the gaps.

“I have a few stars, but they’re younger — some of my best fencers aren’t even my seniors,” he said. “I wouldn’t call it a rebuilding year next year because we’re prepared, but we’re definitely young next year.”

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Kristen Fraas leaps over the hurdle for Ward Melville. Photo from Fraas

Athletes use different things for motivation. Some are fueled by a desire to be the best. Some are highly competitive. Some are driven by the fear of letting down their teammates. In a sport like track and field, where the main competitor is the clock as much as the opponent, it can be difficult to maintain a competitive edge. But Kirsten Fraas never had an issue with staying intrinsically motivated during her outstanding career with the Ward Melville track and field team.

“What got me out of my bed was the fear of disappointing my coaches,” Fraas said. “I always wanted to do my best because what’s the point of me going to practice if I wasn’t going to put my whole heart into it? I also wanted to be there for my team. I didn’t want to let any of them down, either. I got myself out of bed to be the best I could be and to be consistent for my team.”

Fraas’ former and future coaches said the track and field competitor has a relentless work ethic.

“She has an amazing work ethic,” Ward Melville junior varsity head coach J.P. Dion said. “She came to practice every day ready to work and gave 100 percent every day.”

Fraas was a key member of a team that won back-to-back League 1 championships. She was highly decorated in her four-year varsity career, winning awards for being a scholar athlete and a tri-sport athlete, and she also won the Gold Key award, which is given to athletes who letter in at least eight of the nine seasons between grades 10 and 12.

“Kirsten is highly motivated and she’s a hard worker,” Stony Brook track and field assistant coach Howard Powell said of Fraas, shedding light on what made her an attractive recruit for their program. “I’m hoping that she can bring some of her strong work ethic to our team. I’m looking forward to working with her over the next couple of years.”

Fraas competed in multiple events during high school, including 100 and 400-meter hurdles, the 400 run, and the 4×4 relay. Fraas said the 4×4 was her favorite event. Powell mentioned plans to use Fraas in a variety of different events during her time at Stony Brook.

“I think that the thing I’ll miss most is my team,” Fraas said, reflecting on her time at Ward Melville. “We’re all very close knit and we’ve spent so much time together that we’ve become a family, so it’s [going to] be difficult leaving that part of my life behind.”

Dion reflected on the mark his now former runner left on the highly successful program.

She is a great kid,” he said. “Thanks to her leadership skills, she helped make our jobs as coaches easy. She is a very talented athlete and I wish her the best at Stony Brook.”

Fraas credited her family as being a strong support system.

“It means a lot to me that they’ve invested so much of their time into my success,” she said. “I honestly wouldn’t be where I am without them.”

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Young runners race around the track. Photo by Alex Petroski

The Ward Melville girls’ track and field team has found a way to raise money for its season while also providing families with young children from the district with a fun night to get out and exercise.

This is the third summer that the girls, lead by varsity coach Tom Youngs and junior varsity coach J.P. Deon, have organized races on six nights to host about 150 kids, though as many as 175 showed up on one night, from the community at the high school track.

“It [has] been really successful,” Youngs said of the three-year run of race nights, which took a hiatus last summer to allow for a new track to be put in at the high school. “We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from the community.”

Nicole Murphy, a senior on the track team, also enjoys seeing the support the team gets during race nights.

“It’s nice to see everyone get together to participate in something,” Murphy said.

A little girl crosses the finish line in a 55-meter run. Photo by Alex Petroski
A little girl crosses the finish line in a 55-meter run. Photo by Alex Petroski

“It’s a great thing for the kids,” Tracy Seedorf, a community member and a parent of one of the runners, said. “My kid doesn’t play soccer. She’s not a ‘contact sport’ girl, so this is great. This makes it easier, especially when there’s a lot of kids here. It’s more fun for them.”

The race nights feature six events of various distances, with heats in each event for age group ranges.

“It’s a good opportunity for community members and their children, keeping them active and healthy throughout the summer months when they have that time to sit on the couch or just lay on the beach,” Youngs said. “It gives them something to look forward to every Thursday night.”

At the end of each race, members of the varsity track team wait at the finish line to write down the kid’s times on stickers that are stuck to runners shirts. The kids and their parents are encouraged to track their times in the various events to see their progress over the course of the summer.

“It’s nice to tie in the community,” Deon said. He added that a great deal of parents, and even grandparents’ involvement, is as a huge part of why the event has been successful. Ages of the runners span from 2 years old up to 12 or 13.

“I think they should start at an early age,” a parent, Marty Johnson, said of the importance of getting kids active, and also allowing them to socialize with their peers. Johnson said it was easy getting his kids enthusiastic about events like these. “My kids love being outside.”

Registration costs $5 a night per child, and three more race night events remain this year, including tonight. The registration period ends at 5:30 p.m. each Thursday, and races begin at 6 p.m. All of the funds raised go to the girls’ track team to be used for meets, invitationals, overnight trips and transportation.

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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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