Teams often like to say the playoffs are a new season. For Plainedge, it sure was.
The Red Devils, seeded 16th, certainly were better than that for those who followed the team. They lost six games by two runs or fewer in the regular season after going undefeated before losing in the county semifinals last season.
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This postseason certainly was a fresh start for the Red Devils. Plainedge capped a dominant run with a 9-2 win over No. 8 Island Trees on Friday in the deciding Game 3 of the Nassau Class A baseball championship series at Farmingdale State.
It's the first county baseball title for Plainedge since 1992, when it won the Class B championship. Plainedge (18-11) will play Shoreham-Wading River in the Long Island Class A championship/Southeast Regional finals Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Dowling Sports Complex.
Anthony Pensato threw his first complete game of the season for Plainedge. He allowed seven hits, walked two, struck out one and went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Joe Hauer went 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs and two stolen bases; Steve Miller went 2-for-5 with two runs, and Tom Whitenack went 2-for-4 with two runs, two stolen bases and an RBI for Plainedge. Kyle Nigro went 3-for-4 and was a homer short of the cycle for Island Trees (18-9-2).
"We started losing and people doubted us," Pensato said. "We fought to get into the playoffs and won a big series against [No. 1 seed] Clarke. This is a great feeling."
Plainedge outscored opponents 83-19 while going 8-2 in the playoffs.
"We went through a difficult time in our season," Plainedge coach Tom Pisani said. "To come in with the odds stacked against us and the guys to perform like they did is amazing. Deep down, we knew we could play like this and I'm glad they got the opportunity to show it."
Plainedge had another big first inning. In Game 2, the Red Devils scored four runs in the first. This time, they put up six runs in the inning on five hits and three errors.
Michael Miller and Whitenack had run-scoring singles in the inning for Plainedge, which is averaging 8.3 runs in the playoffs.
"It has been hits after hits," Steve Miller said. "I hope we never stop hitting and it keeps going to our last game."