While growing up in Wantagh and becoming a lacrosse star in high school, Ryan Walsh said he never even picked up a baseball.
So the idea of excelling on any baseball field, let alone an MLB venue, would have been far-fetched, but not if it had been transformed for a lacrosse game.
The Wantagh High alumnus and sophomore attacker had three goals to help Colgate (6-2) to a 10-7 win over Michigan (0-8) in the second game of the inaugural Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic doubleheader Sunday at Citi Field.
"It was something special,'' said Walsh, who said he was a Yankees fan who had never been to the home of the Mets. "I don't play in front of my hometown very often, so I circled this one on my calendar. This was an awesome experience.''
The doubleheader featured nearly 40 Long Islanders on the four teams. None had a bigger impact than Walsh, whose second goal tied the score early and extended his goal-scoring streak to 24 games.
Colgate captain Jimmy Ryan, a Ward Melville graduate, scored twice in front of about 40 family members and friends. "I had two or three that I think I should have had,'' Ryan said, "but I always feel that way after a game. But to score those two was just a great experience.''
Colgate surprised few by scoring early and often against the Wolverines, a second-year Division I program. The opener of the doubleheader, however, went a bit differently than what many anticipated. Navy coach Rick Sowell's return to the area -- he led Stony Brook to regular-season titles in 2010 and 2011 -- was spoiled by an explosion from Holy Cross' star midfielder.
Terry McKenna said he hung up his baseball cleats for good as a sixth-grader in New Jersey and thought he'd never play again on a diamond. The sophomore scored four goals to lead Holy Cross (4-3, 1-1) to a 7-5 victory over Navy (3-5, 1-2).
"It's a huge win for our school because it's our first win ever over a military school,'' McKenna said. "We're pretty pumped about that.''
Holy Cross won pivotal faceoffs and played well on defense to frustrate Navy.
"I saw some people I haven't seen in a few years, so it was neat to be back up here again,'' Sowell said. "But we came here to get a win, and unfortunately we didn't get what we came for.''
Coaches and players had some gripes about Citi Field's lacrosse setup, but not many, with most glad to be showcased there. Mets executives have said future scheduling likely will include elite matchups, similar to the more established Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium.
"It was a little different, but the dirt lines didn't have a huge impact,'' Holy Cross coach Jim Morrissey said. "The dimensions aren't ideal because the field is set up kind of crooked and it's tough to get your bearings at times. The grass was good, though, and it was a great facility.''