Kings Park High School designated hitter #25 Henry Baker hits...

Kings Park High School designated hitter #25 Henry Baker hits a two-run single into right field with two out in the bottom 7th inning to give his team a dramatic 4-3 walkoff victory over Hauppauge. (June 2, 2010) Credit: Freelance/Photo by James A. Escher

Neither Henry Baker, the guy who hit the pop-up that would hit the grass, nor Mike Prisco, the coach who sent the runners who would score the runs, dared to look.

Down one run with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh against Hauppauge, Kings Park knew that the little flare to right would end it one way or another. When the ball nestled in the no man's land between the last-ditch dives by the second baseman and rightfielder, the crowd told Prisco all he needed to know.

"I put my head down and waved my arm," Prisco said. "I didn't want to look. I let the crowd answer for me."

The Kings Park home crowd - a rare sight for a No. 6 seed that had played its previous postseason games on the road - went appropriately nuts.

With the 4-3 win, Kings Park, (17-7), which is unbeaten in the playoffs, clinched the Suffolk Class A title. Chris Pyz came in to relieve after a rocky two-run first inning and allowed one run and four hits over six innings.

Hauppauge, meanwhile, remained on the field during part of the revelry - shell- shocked and spent after more than six innings of spectacular defense and gutsy pitching by Derek Labarbera.

"This is the best bunch of kids I've ever worked with," coach Kevin Giachetti said. "In my eyes, this is a team I'll never match."

The Eagles (18-7) certainly came close to forcing a second game in the double-elimination format. With a runner on first and one out in the seventh, shortstop Bobby Vitulano made a backhanded stop deep in the hole and gunned down Brandon Haney with a strong throw to first.

Labarbera, though, loaded the bases on a walk and a hit batsman. Baker's blooper drove in the tying and winning runs.

Kings Park will play Wantagh Sunday in the Class A regional championship.

"I didn't know what happened," Baker said. "I saw the two runs cross the plate and the next thing I knew coach [Mike] Luzim tackled me."

It was a break - not something the Kingsmen had seen a lot of up until then. With the score tied at 2 and runners on first and second with one out in the fifth, Joe Auliano singled to right. Nick Venier tried to score, but a strong throw from Tyler Scanlon and a pinpoint relay by Vitulano cut down the run at the plate. Catcher Matt Reistetter held on to apply the tag, though he injured his knee on the slide and had to be taken out.

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