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Pat Dalton, Bethpage baseball even Nassau IV series with win over Plainedge

Bethpage's Pat Dalton was staked to an early

Bethpage's Pat Dalton was staked to an early lead and went on to hold Plainedge to one hit over six innings.   Credit: Pablo Garcia Corradi/Photo: Pablo Garcia Corradi

Bethpage’s Pat Dalton didn’t really need his team to score nine runs in the top of the first inning of a win-or-go-home playoff game Thursday, but he wasn’t going to decline their genorosity, either.

Nine runs sure was fine, but one would have worked too. Dalton pitched a one-hit shutout and struck out 13 in top-seeded Bethpage’s 10-0, six-inning victory over host and second-seeded Plainedge in Game 2 of the best-of-3 Nassau League IV Championship Series.

The series is tied at 1 and will return to Bethpage 4:30 p.m. Friday for the deciding game.

"Before the game, the nerves were obviously there," Dalton said. "But, when your team puts a nine-spot up in the first inning, that’s every pitcher’s dream…It was a lot less pressure on the mound and our team was rolling."

It started fast – as most nine-run first innings do. Dalton walked to lead off the game, went to second on a single from Coner Burns, and came home on Phil D’Aguanno’s three-run home run to right field.

"I was just looking for an outside pitch to take the other way, and that’s exactly what I did," D’Aguanno said of the swing that put his team ahead 3-0.

Bethpage took a 5-0 lead on a two-RBI double down the third-base line by Nick Schimmel; a 7-0 lead on a two-RBI double off the left field wall by Chris Downes; and a 9-0 lead on a two-RBI single by Burns. Bethpage (18-2) sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning.

D’Aguanno tripled and scored on an RBI single by Zach Schnabel in the sixth inning, assuring that a seventh would not be played.

"I knew we needed one more run to save Pat’s arm so we could run-rule them and not pitch anybody in the seventh," D’Aguanno said. "I knew I had to get on some way, I saw that pitch (an inside fastball) and ran all around."

Dalton thwarted thoughts of a thriller early, striking out six in the first two innings and tossing a no-hitter through 4 1/3 innings.

"I was feeling my fastball, hitting my spots. But, my curveball was dropping for a strike today, so that worked out well and (Downes) had a great day calling (pitches)," Dalton said.

Now, the scene shifts back to Bethpage, the site of Wednesday’s 8-2 Plainedge win in the opening game of the series, for an old-fashioned winner-take-all championship game.

"The mindset is just to keep it rolling at our place," Dalton said.

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