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.
“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.
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.”
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.”