The Three Village Pirates 18U Wood Bat Division baseball team ended the regular season on a hot streak and used that momentum to best the No. 1-ranked team, Elite, 2-1, in the championship game on Aug. 10.
“I’m really proud of all of these guys,” co-coach Chris Gordon said. “This was a great season for our seniors to finish with before going off to college. Many have been playing together since they were 8 or 9 years old. They couldn’t have written a better ending to our season.”
After finishing the regular season 12-8, and ending on a three-game winning streak, the Pirates topped the Patchogue-Medford Raiders, 3-1, in the second round of playoffs after earning the first-round bye as the No. 2 seed.
In a tightly contested matchup, the Three Village team edged out the New York Nationals Central Select team, 2-1, to earn a spot in the championship game.
The Pirates had lost to Elite twice during the regular season, 5-4 and 6-1, and came into the matchup as the underdog, being a local team made up of 16- to 18-year-old Three Village athletes and one player from Port Jefferson Station, while Elite was a travel team made up of players from around the Island.
The Pirates’ No. 1 pitcher, Zach Restucci, had pitched just a few days earlier and was only able to give the team a couple of innings if needed, so the team elected to start Sean Gordon, who gave up just one run over 5 2/3 innings and struck out four while his strong pitching also led to nine ground-ball outs. Four of those groundouts went to shortstop Steven Lydon, four went to second baseman Liam Gordon and the final rolled back to the mound.
The team was also without one of its top players in Liam Stamm-Walsh, who had foot surgery midway through the season but was on the sidelines of every playoff game in a walking boot to cheer on his team.
Neither team showed much offensively through the first three innings, and Elite threatened in the bottom of the fourth with two outs and the go-ahead run on second base.
With a high-flying ball coming his way, centerfielder Matt Peterson dove to catch what would have been a run scoring, extra-base hit, to end the inning and give the Pirates a much-needed momentum booster heading into the top of the fifth.
In that inning, Derek Sager hit a double and moved the third on a wild pitch. Sean Gordon hit a single up the middle, just out of the reach of the second baseman, to score Sager, and after the side was retired, Elite went down quietly in the bottom of the fifth, to leave the Pirates with the 1-0 lead.
The ball was flying again for Three Village in the top of the sixth, when Mackenzie Gordon lined a single to right field with one out and moved to second base when the pitcher threw a wild pick-off attempt to first base.
Up to bat next, Restucci hit a bouncer up the middle that the second baseman was unable to keep a hold of, and as the ball deflected off his glove into short center, Mackenzie Gordon hustled around third and scored the would-be game-winning run.
Elite rallied in the bottom of the sixth to load the bases and score a run after Sean Gordon struck out the first two batters. The Pirates brought out Restucci to end the threat, and a ground ball to Lydon ended the inning.
The Pirates went down one-two-three in the top of the seventh, and Restucci returned to the mound, striking out the final two batters he faced to earn the save.
“This was a great team win,”co- coach Fred Musumeci said. “The guys got on a roll to end the regular season and we kept that momentum right through the championship game. This is a great feeling to win against this team. It’s very sweet.”