Anthony Cinquemani took a quick peek.
The West Islip righthanded batter glanced at the outfield to see how the Eastport-South Manor defense was aligned.
“I saw a huge hole in right-centerfield,” Cinquemani said. “I was looking for a fastball, outer-half, that I could drive in the gap.” He got his fastball but instead drove a low liner to centerfield that got past a diving outfielder for a two-run triple. “I was little off,” Cinquemani said, “but I’m not complaining.”
Neither is No. 2 West Islip. Cinquemani’s big hit sparked a four-run third inning as the Lions topped No. 4 Eastport-South Manor, 7-2, in Game 1 of the Suffolk Class AA best-of-three baseball final on Sunday at Massapequa High School’s turf field. (West Islip’s grass field was unplayable because of early morning rain.)
“Anthony’s been so solid at first base,” Lions coach Shawn Rush said. “He has great length, he can hit and he’s very athletic.”
Still, Rush had some fun after the game with his 6-4 junior.
“Halfway to third base I thought he was going to die,” said Rush, smiling. “But he got there.”
Bobby DiCapua took care of the rest for West Islip (24-3). The only time Eastport-South Manor got to the sophomore righthander was in the third when Kevin Shine’s two-run single gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead. Mike McCormack and Anthony Gambino each had two hits for ESM (20-6).
But DiCapua settled down and surrendered two hits the rest of the game. He allowed two earned runs and eight hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Mike LaDonna led the Lions with two hits and an RBI. Anthony Ippolito (1-for-2) got on base three times, and Jack Alteri walked three times for West Islip.
“We have to come out [Monday] ready to play,” said Cinquemani, who was 1-for-2 with two RBIs and a run. “ESM will be upbeat. We know we’re going against a great team.”
The Lions have been great in Suffolk AA recently. West Islip is in its third straight AA final (it won in 2016) and in search of its fifth Suffolk crown overall.
“We’re scrappy,” Cinquemani said. “We don’t have the big names like other teams, but we come to the field ready to play baseball.”