In video game slang, you'd call it being owned -- a defeat at the hands of a skilled adversary.
On Sunday,that skilled adversary was John Cruz.
"I must've had my lucky shoes on," the Division centerfielder said after his amazing catch helped beat Shoreham-Wading River, 7-1, in the Long Island Class A championship game. "I saw it off the bat. It was like, 'Press the X button and move.' "
He pressed the X button (that is, he ran). And he mashed the triangle (the jump button) too.
With a runner on first in the fifth inning and Division leading 4-1, Shoreham-Wading River's Ryan McAlary put a charge into a pitch from Sean Abbate, sending it deep into the left-centerfield gap. Cruz took off and left his feet, making a fully extended catch with the ball behind him to end the inning.
Now Division (21-7) is on to the state tournament in Binghamton next week. SWR finishes 19-6.
"That was one of the greatest catches I've ever seen," Division coach Tom Tuttle said. "It seems more special because it's in the Long Island championship."
Cruz's catch was the highlight of the game, but things didn't start out great for Division. McAlary led off the game with a home run, hitting the ball so hard that it left a dent in the Farmingdale State scoreboard and sent it into electronic fits well into the next at-bat.
"I knew he hit it pretty well," Abbate said. "I took a couple deep breaths. I trust the guys around me."
Abbate's teammates and coach trust their ace right back. After the first inning, Abbate was nearly untouchable, allowing no runner past first base in improving to 5-0 in the playoffs. He allowed one run and five hits, striking out six.
Division scored four runs in the third on a walk, four singles, a sacrifice bunt and a squeeze play. With the bases loaded and one out, J.J. Kissane (3-for-3) smacked a liner off pitcher McAlary's glove to tie the score at 1. The next batter, Matt Santorufo, lined a single to right for a 3-1 Division lead.
Cleanup hitter Santorufo went 2-for-4 with a run and three RBIs after entering the game hitting .095 in the postseason.
"I just don't want to go home," the senior said. "It'll be a bunt and a hit and a hit after that and a walk. We play as a unit."
Division entered this postseason seeded seventh, and the Blue Dragons have been classified as a surprise team making an unexpected run. Cruz, though, takes it in stride.
"We've been down before. We don't get rattled," he said. "Seven seed or nothing, we still have to play seven innings."
In other words, press the X button and mash the triangle. Game over.