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Long Island cornhole league starts at Mulcahy’s in Wantagh

Play the beanbags-tossing game in competitive Tuesday night sessions for adults.

Players vie in a new league dedicated to the backyard game cornhole at Mulcahy's in Wantagh, Feb. 20, 2018.  (Credit: Newsday / David J. Criblez)

Cornhole is getting a league of its own. The classic lawn game involving two boards and a handful of beanbags has become enough of a pastime that leagues have formed to play formally.

“Anyone can do it at any ability,” says Sal Farruggia, owner of LI-Kick, a social sports network hosting cornhole leagues at Mulcahy’s Pub in Wantagh and 89 North Music Venue in Patchogue. “If you haven’t tried, it’s not difficult to pick up. In 10 minutes, you can know everything you need to start playing.”

HOW IT WORKS

Two rectangular boards, which are angled on a slant and have one hole, are separated 27 feet apart. Teams of two take turns tossing beanbags across the room, trying to get them in the hole (3 points) or simply on the board (1 point). The first team to 21 points captures a round. To win the game, a team must take two out of three rounds.

“Cornhole is getting very popular. We figured, why not start a league?” says Rich von Rauchhaupt, Farruggia’s partner. “It gives you an opportunity to go out, meet other people, grab a drink and have a good time.”

Teams play four to six games a night, with each game taking about 10 minutes. The season is seven weeks long with the final week done as a March Madness-style bracket tournament. The winning team gets a prize like a bar tab at Blue Point Brewery.

TOSSIN’ TIPS

At a recent Tuesday night at Mulcahy’s, players are working through game strategies.

“You need to throw it lightly, nice and loose,” says Vinny Roszkowski, 27, of Franklin Square, who plays for team Dilly Dilly. “If you try too hard, you are going to overthrow it every time. It’s important to let it fly!”

Anthony Fasano, 32, of Deer Park, from the Toss Me Slowly team, adds, “Generally, I try to lob it up pretty high with a lot of force on it.”

Over on court three, the Cornstars are having a moment. The team of Melissa Haapanen, 40, of Brentwood and Kathryn Andreolli, 40, of Lindenhurst may be first-timers, but they are getting the hang of it.

“Come on, Kat. Show them how it’s done, girl!,” shouts Haapanen in support. The toss is up, the bag lands on the board, then has enough juice to slide a few inches and drop in the hole. The duo shares a celebratory high-five.

“That felt amazing,” Andreolli says. “I didn’t even think about it. I just tossed it.”

SOCIAL OUTLET

LI-Kick promotes playing sports in a social atmosphere, whether it be cornhole, kickball or coed soccer. While there’s lots of action and competition, that’s not the sole focus.

“Social sports aren’t about winning and losing games,” Farruggia says. “It’s more of a way to have fun on a weekly basis with your friends plus meet new people in a fun and active environment.”

When Rosemary Bair, 24, of Bellmore came home after graduating from SUNY New Paltz she had to start over in the social department.

“All my friends are all over the place, so this was a great way to meet people in my county,” she says. “Everybody here is nice and personable.

Toniann Lordi, 31, of Centereach attributes her current thriving social life to LI-Kick.

“This is like family to me,” she says. “I have made nine amazing girlfriends here. I don’t know what I’d do without them.”

BAR GAMES

In addition to cornhole, Farruggia holds different bar challenges each week while teams are waiting to get on a court. On this night he’s doing “Face the Cookie,” in which a cookie is placed on your forehead and you have to use facial muscles only to move it down into your mouth.

Pointing to his head, Farruggia smiles and says, “I got a million ideas up here!”

CORNHOLE LEAGUES

WHEN|WHERE 7 p.m. Tuesdays through April 3 at Mulcahy’s Pub in Wantagh and 7 p.m. Mondays (new season starts March 19) at 89 North Music Venue in Patchogue. 21 and over.

INFO 516-500-1386, li-kick.com

ADMISSION $120 per team

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