When Spencer Pokorny stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs and the winning run on second base, the Plainview JFK cleanup hitter had a very specific vision. "I wanted to hit a single up the middle," he said.
You might want to ask Pokorny to pick your lottery numbers. On an 0-and-2 fastball from MacArthur ace Adam Heidenfelder, Pokorny drilled -- yes, indeed! -- a single to centerfield that sent speedy Dominic Palumbo racing home and gave Plainview JFK a 2-1 victory in Monday's crucial Nassau AA-II baseball game.
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"He was throwing me fastballs all game, so that's all I was looking for," Pokorny said. "He's a great pitcher. His fastball was great today. He throws 90 -- major-league stuff. My hat's off to him."
Palumbo, who scored both runs for Plainview JFK (11-2), led off the seventh with his second hit, a single to left. He advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw and scored easily when Pokorny's vision became a reality.
"I knew Dom would score. He's one of the fastest guys on the team," Pokorny said. "It was a great feeling when I rounded first."
The Hawks need only one more victory in the next two games against the Generals (10-3) to clinch the league title and earn a first-round bye in next week's playoffs.
"A bye is huge. It gives us a chance to rest," Pokorny said. "It felt like a playoff game and I'm sure it will feel like that the whole series."
Plainview JFK's Charles Basedow, a lefty who has not lost a game this season, matched the hard-throwing Heidenfelder (nine strikeouts, six hits) pitch for pitch through the first six innings. Basedow, who left after throwing 94 pitches, struck out six and allowed six hits.
First-year coach John Givargidze said he would have sent Basedow out for the top of the seventh, "but he came to me and said, 'Coach, I don't know if I've got enough left.' He's been our horse. He's our ace. He was honest with us."
Winning pitcher Jeremy Lambert pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, though there was some drama when Rob Andreoli hit a long fly ball just short of the centerfield fence for the third out. That set the stage for Pokorny's clutch hit off Heidenfelder.
"I just wanted us to put good swings on him," Givargidze said. "Just go up there and battle and battle."