Adam Aponte leads Wantagh to Nassau A-I title
There was no questioning the resume of either Wantagh or Garden City as the top two teams in Nassau Conference A-I began a showdown series Saturday at Wantagh.
The starting pitchers -- Adam Aponte of Wantagh and Kyle Ritchie of Garden City -- were equally imposing.
Both pitchers delivered as Wantagh (15-0) played a nearly flawless game and rode the arm of Aponte and a strong defensive effort to a 2-0 win over the Trojans.
"We knew we were facing a good pitcher and I was just going to do my best to try and limit their approach at the plate and to try and shut them down," Aponte said.
The senior righthander allowed only one hit -- a single in the fifth by Tom Zwicke -- and walked two with two strikeouts to shut down Garden City (12-3) and clinch the A-I championship for the Warriors.
"He handles [the pressure] amazing," Wantagh coach Keith Sachs said. "He's extremely mature and nothing rattles him. If anything looks like it's going wrong he keeps his composure and he's always in control of what he wants to do."
The Warriors struck in the third inning after Mike Davanzo drew a leadoff walk and advanced on a single by Joey Smith that skipped through the vacant spot left after the second basemen went to cover the bag.
Mike Stack then came through with the biggest hit of the game. "I got jammed a little bit and it was on the inside of the bat," he said. "It was an inside fastball and I just did the best I could with it."
He did enough to fight it off toward short leftfield past the shortstop and past the charging leftfielder for an RBI double. Gehrig Montoro followed with an RBI groundout to provide the final margin.
"With Adam pitching, one or two runs is all we need but we wanted to tack on a few more," Stack said. "Two runs are kind of iffy because the tying run can come to the plate at any point so we wanted more but two was enough."
Garden City's Ritchie was impressive as well. The senior allowed only three hits and two walks in six innings and retired the last 12 batters he faced in order. But it was the three-batter stretch in the third that did him in.
"We knew it would be a 2-0, 2-1 game from the beginning," Sachs said. "The game is important -- every at-bat is important and every play you make is important. It's fun baseball to be involved in."