That winning feeling: Amityville baseball's 122-game losing streak is over
The ball took a wicked hop off the infield grass and shortstop Elijah Jabouin managed to corral it. His ensuing throw across the diamond was right on the money. It was all so smooth.
One ground ball after another, Amityville coach Jack Zider worked Jabouin to his forehand and then to his backhand. The senior worked on his footwork in an exhausting infield workout.
The Amityville practices are as tough as its schedule. The players love the game of baseball. And they come out and respect their opponents, umpires and each other and enjoy what is ultimately a kids’ game.
It’s the passion for the game that continues to bring the players back, even though Amityville had the longest baseball losing streak in Long Island history.
Every spring there was hope that this would be the year. And it was.
Amityville won a ballgame. And that is big news. The 122-game losing streak from 2015-2023 is over.
“I love playing baseball, it’s fun,” Jabouin said. “We play together as a team and support each other. We knew we’d end the streak.”
In the 9-1 road win over Southold on April 10, junior second baseman Welmy Almonte lined a two-run double in the fifth inning to give Amityville a 3-0 lead. Freshman pitcher Aidan McCullough threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and striking out eight.
“At first it didn’t seem real,” Jabouin said. “But once we got on the bus it just kicked in. There were a lot of emotions after we won. I was very proud of the team effort. This was a long time coming and exciting.”
Amityville (2-9) enjoyed that win so much it did it again, beating Southold, 4-3, five days later. This one was more dramatic, as junior Mason Rosario recorded a strikeout on a full-count pitch with two outs and the bases loaded to earn the save.
“I walked off the back of the mound and took a deep breath,” Rosario said. “I hit the outside corner with a fastball for the strikeout. My parents were recording the game and I wanted to make it happen. We went right into celebration, hugging it out all over the field. What a great feeling.”
Zider said he thought that winning feeling was coming.
“We always felt good about our players and program,” said Zider, in his fifth year at the helm. “We could see we were getting closer to that first win. Our players were doing all the little things that put us in a position to win. We still have a way to go but we’re connecting with our younger players in the community and the Little League. Our older guys are playing travel ball. We hold winter workouts. Our players recognize this game is even more fun when you compete.”
During the losing streak, Zider said Amityville games were only in the fifth inning as the sun was going down.
“We’re playing meaningful baseball for seven innings now,” said Zider, voted Suffolk League V Coach of the Year in 2021. “We’ve been complimented by opposing coaches because we never give up. We know the hill we’re climbing.”
In the last 40 seasons (from 1981-2022) Amityville has had 38 losing seasons, including 23 straight from 1998-2022. They have a record of 5-204 since 2011.
So after ending the streak, how did Zider feel?
“Best bus ride ever,” he said. “They were pretty loud.”
Winning will do that.
With Andy Slawson