Anthony Fontana needed just one more out.
When the Wantagh senior southpaw used his deceptive curveball to record the final out in a 4-2 win over Rocky Point in the Long Island Class A / Southeast Regional baseball final on Saturday, there was nothing left but the celebration.
The 6-3 Fontana pumped his left fist and then emphatically threw his glove and hat to the ground at St. Joseph’s College Athletic Complex. His teammates ran toward him and splashed water from bottles, as Wantagh mobbed its ace. The group slowly moved toward the infield grass midway between second and third bases, and then, finally, nearly the entire group fell to the ground.
Wantagh has won three straight Long Island crowns. The Warriors won a state title in 2016, so they’ve have had a lot of practice at these moments of jubilation the last few seasons. Wantagh, which is 5-0 all-time in Long Island baseball finals, advances to the state semifinals on Friday in Binghamton.
“He’s been working his whole life for times like these,” Wantagh coach Keith Sachs said about Fontana. “He’s just amazing.”
Fontana was pretty amazing against a gritty Rocky Point (20-6) team. The Furman University signee did not allow an earned run and scattered four hits with six strikeouts and three walks, two which were in the seventh inning.
“I’m just so excited,” Fontana said. “Rocky Point is a great team, but we worked so hard to get here.”
Wantagh (24-2) broke open a 2-all tie with two runs in the sixth on RBI singles by Ethan Rockitter and the No. 9 hitter Ryan Murphy to take a 4-2 lead.
Rocky Point, which last reached this round in 2016, scored an unearned run in the second and third innings against Fontana.
Patrick Willix had a hand in three of the Wantagh’s runs. The first baseman had an RBI groundout in the first inning, and a sacrifice fly in the third for both of Wantagh’s early runs off Rocky Point starter Joe Grillo, who pitched two batters into the sixth inning.
“It wasn’t his best day, but he grinded for us,” Rocky Point coach Andrew Aschettino said of Grillo. “I’m so proud of the kids . . . There was no quit in them at all.”
The same can be said of Wantagh and its ace Fontana. The Warriors are on a 14-game win streak and haven’t lost since April 26.
“There’s no moment too big,” Sachs said of Fontana, “and there’s no one else I’d want out there but him.”