Longwood's Thomas Scala (3), left, scores a run in the...

Longwood's Thomas Scala (3), left, scores a run in the first inning against Half Hollow Hills West. (May 29, 2010) Credit: John Dunn

Thomas Scala has experienced enough tense moments in the final innings of the playoffs this season. His Longwood Lions had two walk-off wins this week and it appeared they might be headed for another drama-filled ending Saturday.

But Scala ensured that wouldn't be the case. After No. 3 Half Hollow Hills West trimmed a five-run deficit to one in the top of the sixth, Scala hit a two-run homer over the leftfield fence in the bottom of the inning to give host Longwood the insurance it needed in a 7-4 win in a Suffolk Class AA losers' bracket baseball final.

"If we don't score and they score a run, we have to come back again like we have the past few games," Scala said. "We needed a big hit. I was looking to drive a ball to get something going. It was a little low, but I put a good swing on it. Anything can happen in a one-run game. Once we got the lead to three, we had some more breathing room."

Second-seeded Longwood (20-4) will play No. 1 Lindenhurst at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Lindenhurst Middle School. Lindenhurst would be the champion with a win. If Longwood wins, the teams meet again at 4 p.m. Wednesday to determine the champion.

Longwood, which lost in the finals last season, led 5-0 going into the sixth inning. Matt Cabezon and T.J. Pecoraro (3-for-4) singled and James Barone was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. After a 1-2 fielder's choice, Mike Kaufman hit a grand slam for Hills West (20-6) to trim the Lions' lead to 5-4.

In the bottom of the inning, Nick Leggio walked before Scala's homer.

"The walk was big, too," Longwood coach John Davide Jr. said. "Leggio did a nice job working the count and getting the walk to get us back to the top of the lineup. Scala is dangerous. He hits the ball hard every time up. It gave us comfort going out there. There's a big difference between a one-run lead and a three-run lead."

Scala (2-for-4) started the first inning with a double off the fence and scored on a single by Bobby Gazzola (2-for-4), who later scored on a double play to make it 2-0. J.J. Bessell (2-for-3) hit a two-run homer in the fourth for a 4-0 lead.

"It seemed like he was focusing on the runner at first base," Bessell said, "so I thought he might leave one over the plate. It was a 3-and-1 count and I was ready for it. I think the wind helped a lot, but I put a good swing on it and luckily, it went over the fence."

Beekman threw a six-hitter, walked none and struck out five and also hit a homer.

"My two-seamer had good tail on it and my changeup felt really good," Beekman said. "I was able to mix in my curve and the defense played good behind me."

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