Thanks to tight deadlines, excellent pitching, and the do-or-die nature of Tuesday's Carey-MacArthur Nassau Class AA final, I had about three versions of the same article written in my Word document. This one had more storylines than General Hospital, y'all.
Of course, by now you know that No. 4 Carey defeated No. 2 MacArthur, 3-0, to advance to the Long Island Championship. You know, also, that Jesse Montalto was an absolute stud on the mound for the Seahawks (again).
Here's some stuff you may not know:
Joe Chiaramonte was phenomenal for the Generals. MacArthur didn't lose this game because of him. They stayed in this game because of him.
Here's what I wrote about him after the first three-plus innings of play. Chiaramonte had a no-hitter going at the time and MacArthur looked very solid.
The scouting report on Joe Chiaramonte is hardly eye-opening: solid lefty pitcher, throws strikes, decent fastball, curveball, changeup. The scouting report on MacArthur baseball is somewhat similar: solid team, has made 12 of the last 18 county finals, only won one.
They’re dependable – stalwarts but not quite superstars. After an anemic 10-1 drubbing by Carey in Game 1 of the Class AA final Monday, it looked as if yet another year was destined to end on the field at Farmingdale State.
It seemed that way. But not yesterday. Not with Chiaramonte on the mound: stalwart, season-saver.
Chiaramonte was anything but ordinary...
He allowed seven hits, but talking to coach Steve Costello after the game, he said what we were all thinking: "What a great game that guy pitched. I cannot stress that enough."
MacArthur, though, played some shoddy defense; two of the runs were unearned. That isn't to say that this wasn't an excellent, gritty team. Costello said that the Generals often defied expectations - played to their maximum potential during the season - which is why they sometimes have trouble sealing the deal during the finals.
"They're really tough kids doing a great job," he said. "I look at [making 12 of 18 county championships] as a positive. It's a hell of an accomplishment."
On to Carey:
Coach Marc Hedquist said that the turning point for his team came about three weeks ago, with the reemergence of John Daddino. Daddino, the team ace, has battled injury (including a torn labrum two years ago) for most of his high school career.
"He's become one of the vocal leaders," Hedquist said. "They guys respect him. And it's because he finally feels really healthy."
It wasn't the only momentum shift for the Seahawks this season. One of their biggest turning points was also one of their biggest losses. It was April 29 and they were facing Valley Stream Central, looking to close out the three-game sweep.
"I think we thought we could just show up," Hedquist said. VSC finished the season second to last in the conference, but beat Carey that game, 2-1. "It was a wide eye-opener he said. After that, me and my assistant coach teed off on them. The paint was coming off the walls."
It seems to have worked. Hedquist said his team is just mentally tougher than it was last year, when it lost to Calhoun in the semifinals, and the year before, when it lost to Massapequa in the finals. This is its first county championship, and one that Hedquist said was a tribute to the entire community of Frankin Square.
"There are good people in that town," he said. "This is for them."