Anthony Alicki kept Bridgeport’s championship hopes alive not once, but twice over separate Long Island baseball teams in ECC postseason play Saturday.
Alicki recorded the final five outs in Bridgeport’s 14-12 victory over Molloy in the ECC semifinal at Dowling College in a noon start. Thirty minutes after finishing the game and recording the win, Alicki started and recorded 13 strikeouts in six innings in the Knights’ 6-4 victory in the first game of the ECC championship round.
“In playoff baseball and college baseball, nothing ever surprises you,” said Dowling coach Tom Caputo. “It doesn’t surprise you that you could have your No. 1 and he gets beat and then you bring a guy back who was in relief the game before, nothing surprises you at this level of ball.”
Bridgeport (27-21-1) and Dowling play Sunday at noon at Dowling College in a winner-take-all ECC final.
Dowling’s John Parisi, a St. Anthony’s graduate who entered the game 5-4 with a team-leading 2.41 ERA, allowed nine hits and four runs (three earned) with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings for the no-decision.
The Golden Lions (26-23) tied the game at 4 in the eighth on Mike Rizzitello’s two-run home run off Alicki. But in the bottom of the inning, Bridgeport manufactured two runs off Andrew Sesto, first capitalizing on an errant throw by Rizzitello into the outfield as a runner from third scored to take a 5-4 lead. Daren Grabowski’s RBI single gave the Knights a 6-4 advantage.
“We tied the score up then we didn’t play so well defensively,” Caputo said. “That’s how you end up on the wrong end of the game.”
The well-rested Golden Lions jumped on Bridgeport early, scoring two runs in the top of the first. After Rizzitello’s two-out infield single, Kenneth Fils-Aime (North Babylon) scored on a wild pitch for the game’s first run and Rizzitello (Connetquot) scored one batter later on another wild pitch.
The Knights’ Alnaydo Rodriguez hit his third home run in as many games in the fourth to tie the contest at 2. Following an error later in the inning, Tyler Gambardella scored from first on Justin Carey’s RBI double to give Bridgeport a 3-2 lead.
The Golden Lions are looking for their first championship since 2012. Caputo said he believes they have enough pitchers to give him options throughout the game.
“Fortunately for us, we still have a number of guys who can go,” he said. “It’s all hands on deck, it’s do-or-die so everybody’s available.”