A little Diesel fuel carried Massapequa to the Nassau Class AA baseball championship Thursday night, but it took a running catch by leftfielder Phil Michel on the last play of the game to make sure the Chiefs didn't run out of gas at the end.
Senior Matt Diesel delivered a two-run double down the rightfield line in the third to jump-start the Chiefs, who outlasted Oceanside, 5-3, to take their second straight game in the best-of-three championship series at Farmingdale State.
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But after the Sailors put two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, Chris Hood belted a long drive to left-center that would have tied the score. Michel, however, raced to his left and made a sparkling catch to set up the obligatory pileup on the infield.
"When he hit it, I was looking for my centerfielder,'' Massapequa coach Tom Sheedy said. "But he wasn't going to catch it. Phil is fast, too. He made a big-time play right there. That ball was scorched.''
No. 6 Massapequa (17-7-1) will face West Islip on June 7 at Farmingdale State for the Long Island Class AA crown. No. 10 Oceanside finished 14-10-1.
After Diesel's double, Nick Garland scorched a triple to left for a 3-0 lead. "He's our No. 3 hitter,'' Sheedy said, "and that's what we expect out of him.''
Kyle Martin got Oceanside back in the game with a two-out, two-run single in the third. Garland delivered another run-scoring hit in the fourth, singling home Diesel, but the Sailors answered again when Hood drove in a run with a fifth-inning single.
Bobby Honeyman's sacrifice fly in the sixth made it 5-3, setting up the action-packed home seventh. Nick Vlahakis led off with a single and Sheedy brought in closer Zach Zimardo. He walked Tom Pallatto and both runners moved into scoring position on a groundout.
But Zimardo earned the save because Michel still had fuel in his tank.