By Bill Landon & Desirée Keegan
John Rosman was ready and eager to take home Rocky Point baseball’s first Suffolk County title.
The senior, who hit an RBI-double in the bottom of the second inning to start off the scoring, took a big lead off third two innings later on a grounder, and hesitated, freezing Shoreham-Wading River’s second baseman before darting home.
He squeezed his head-first slide in just in time to avoid the tag to give No. 2-seeded Rocky Point an early 4-1 lead in its 7-3 home win over No. 1 Shoreham-Wading River in game 2 of a best-of-three series Class A baseball championship May 29.
With his aggressive base running Rosman helped Rocky Point rake in its first ever county crown. The Eagles had topped the Wildcats 10-1 the day before, where the senior went 2-for-3 with two doubles.
“I’ve been running the bases aggressively all series — I had the confidence that I could get there and just let it happen,” said Rosman, who finished the day 1-for-2 with two runs, a walk and a stolen base. “You can’t make the game bigger than what it is. It’s just a baseball game; you’ve got to stay focused.”
Junior Rob Milopsky pitched a complete game, allowed six hits, one walk, two earned runs and struck out six to earn the win. The starter remained composed even with danger lurking, like when Shoreham-Wading River juniors Michael Smith and Mason Kelly crushed back-to-back home runs in the top of the sixth to bring the Wildcats within two. Milopsky fanned the next two batters to retire the side.
“It was everything I thought it was going to be,” the starting pitcher said of the game. “But I trusted my defense and threw my pitches. Just commanded the zone, gave it everything I had.”
“[You’ve got to give] credit to Shoreham, they can break out at any moment; they’re a dangerous team,” Rocky Point assistant coach Eric Strovink said. “You can’t be too comfortable.”
The offense backed up their starter in the bottom of that sixth inning with two more runs to re-extend the lead. Joe Grillo hit the ball through a gap to bring home Dillon Cassidy and Mike Gunning’s ground-rule double sent Grillo across the plate.
“Words can’t even describe [this], it feels great,” Grillo said. “I’ve been here a few times and never won, and now, we’re champions.”
Ryan Callahan also contributed an RBI-double in the first, and Ryan Maciaszek laid down a bunt that brought home Alex Bonacci for a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
Bonacci said he trusted Milopsky to get the job done even when the Wildcats (18-5) closed in.
“I knew he had it in him to go all the way — he looked great from the start,” the senior said. “I honestly had no worries. I knew we were going to get it done, and when it happened, it was awesome.”
The Eagles (20-5) will face Wantagh in the Long Island Class A championship Saturday, June 2, at 4 p.m. at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.
“They work harder than anybody out there — they deserved this, they’re an extraordinary group of kids and I’m so happy for them,” said Rocky Point Head Coach Andrew Aschettino. “It’s special.”