Chris Cepeda throws three-hitter as Ward Melville wins first LI title
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Ward Melville has leaned on its 1-2 pitching tandem of senior Anthony Kay and junior Chris Cepeda all season long.
On Tuesday, it was Cepeda's turn to shine.
The righthander threw a three-hitter as Ward Melville beat Massapequa, 1-0, in the Class AA championship at Dowling Sports Complex for its first Long Island title in baseball.
"In the bullpen before the game I felt really good," said Cepeda, who struck out three, walked one and hit three batters. "I felt loose and like I had a little extra on my fastball and the curveball and changeup were really good today. Out of the bullpen I felt amazing."
Ward Melville coach Lou Petrucci wasn't surprised. "He's a great pitcher and nobody realizes how good he is and now today the whole Long Island baseball world knows Chris Cepeda can deal," he said.
Massapequa's Alex Cosenza could deal, too, and was the tough-luck loser after allowing only one run and eight hits in a complete game.
Ward Melville (20-5) scratched across its run in the first inning. Kay, who played centerfield Tuesday, reached on a bunt single and advanced to third on a double by Greg Coman. Kyle Pedroli drove in Kay on a groundout.
"I was just trying to get on and score a run," said Kay, who pitched Ward Melville to its first county title last week. "I saw the third baseman back and I tried to get it down."
Ward Melville was able to put a runner in scoring position in three other innings but never advanced a man past second base. Massapequa (20-6) threatened by putting two runners on in the fifth and had the tying run at second in the seventh but Cepeda never allowed Massapequa to string together hits.
The Patriots defense turned two double plays and tracked down every ball in the outfield.
"The defense was amazing and I don't know what I'd do without these guys," said Cepeda, who started a double play himself and fielded two other comebackers, including one for the final out of the game.
Ward Melville now travels to Binghamton University for a state semifinal on Saturday.
"The best thing now is we have Anthony Kay going on full rest," Petrucci said.
But was there ever a thought in his mind to have Kay relieve Cepeda in the later innings?
"Nope, nope, nope. We have good players and we have a team. Anthony Kay did his job and he got us here and Chris Cepeda brought the bacon home, he brought the bacon home," said an excited Petrucci. "Momma's gonna have some bacon tomorrow!"