If the Lindenhurst Middle School had lights, Lindenhurst and Connetquot might still be playing as you read this. In a game that Lindenhurst appeared to have in hand, Connetquot produced a nine-run sixth inning to take a three-run lead.
Lindenhurst didn't go quietly, scoring a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to tie it. Each team went scoreless in the eighth and ninth, resulting in a 10-10 tie in a Suffolk League II baseball that was suspended Monday because of darkness.
The game will be continued at 4 p.m. Tuesday preceding the scheduled Game 2 of the series at Connetquot. Lindenhurst, which won the state Class AA championship last season, has a 21-game winning streak, with its last loss against Connetquot last season.
Lindenhurst's Steve Skon went 2-for-2 with three walks and three runs. Ryan Manning went 1-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs, and senior Joe Catania, making his varsity debut, went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and four RBIs.
For Connetquot, Casey Baker went 2-for-5 with an RBI, Brian McKean went 2-for-5 with three RBIs, and James Guiliano went 2-for-5.
"Connetquot is never out of a game,'' Lindenhurst coach Mike Canobbio said. "They never quit. They always come back, and true to form, they did.''
The T-Birds trailed 7-1 going into the sixth, when five of their first six batters reached on hits to centerfield. They had four run-scoring hits with two outs. Baker tied the score with an RBI double, and Guiliano (2-for-2 in the inning) gave Connetquot an 8-7 lead with a single. McKean hit a two-run single to make it 10-7. Connetquot sent 14 batters to the plate and had nine hits.
"We're solid top to bottom,'' McKean said. "Everybody chipped in with a hit. It's a big test for us. They're a great team.''
Said Connetquot coach Bob Ambrosini: "When you're down 7-1, you can easily give up. We have a young team and this is a character builder for us. We showed we can hang with them. It's going to be a tough series.''
Catania hit an RBI double in the sixth to bring Lindenhurst within 10-8. Vin Valela scored on an error and Skon scored on a double play in the seventh to tie the score at 10.
Nick Bianco relieved Lindenhurst starter Rich Vrana in the sixth and allowed two hits with two outs before an error kept the inning alive. Bianco allowed a walk and a hit before retiring the next 10 hitters. Andrew Jaccino allowed two hits and a walk in two scoreless innings and stranded runners at second and third in the eighth.
"We didn't feel like losing,'' Catania said. "We went out with a fight.''