This Plainedge baseball team certainly enjoys the challenge of an undefeated opponent.
The Red Devils strolled onto the Levittown Division baseball field well aware of the Blue Dragons’ unblemished early season mark. But behind the combination of a strong first inning and quality pitching performances by Matt Schock and Justin Lubitz, Plainedge headed back home with a 5-1 Nassau A-III victory.
“You know what you’re getting from Division,” Plainedge coach Colin Fratrik said. “You’re getting a really good team that knows how to play the game the right way.”
Plainedge (5-2) also ended Wantagh’s early undefeated campaign with a 10-2 win on April 13. The Warriors (4-1) are the defending state champions.
Plainedge catcher Robert Paul opened the scoring in the first inning with an RBI single up the middle off Brandon O’Brien to give the Red Devils a 1-0 lead.
“I was just trying to find a fastball,” Paul said. “That’s always the approach.”
First baseman Nick DeMicco followed with a walk and outfielder Joe Cottone extended the advantage to 3-0 with a line single to left.
Third baseman Bobby Hefferon’s single past first base gave Plainedge a commanding four-run lead.
Schock, who struck out four and allowed four hits over five innings, was overjoyed with the early run support.
“That was great,” he said. “I love when the bats get nice and hot early on.”
Division (6-1) responded with a run in the bottom of the first to cut the deficit to 4-1. In the ensuing inning Schock worked out of a crucial bases-loaded jam to keep the Blue Dragons at bay. With one out, DeMicco snagged a liner off the bat of O’Brien and stepped on first to end the Division rally.
“My fastball was really working,” Schock said. “I felt that I was hitting a lot of spots in and outside of the zone.”
Centerfielder Lucas Sauer was another sparkplug for Plainedge. He went 3-for-3 with a run and a walk.
“O’Brien’s a good pitcher,” he said. “It was important to get to him early on.”
Paul provided some insurance in the seventh with an RBI single to the right side that made it 5-1. He finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Lubitz entered in relief and struck out two over two scoreless innings to end Division’s six-game winning streak.
“It feels good to beat an undefeated team,” Sauer said. “We did it last week, we did it here again. We feel we can beat anybody, anywhere. We have all the confidence in the world in everybody on this team.”