Bobby Conlon knows Massapequa baseball’s recent history because he is a part of it. The Chiefs have a way of shaking early adversity off. Last season they opened 5-6 and reeled off 17 straight wins to capture the state Class AA championship. And Conlon was the starting pitcher in that title game.
So when Massapequa found a rough patch by allowing a pair of first-inning runs to Syosset in the teams’ Nassau AA-I matchup, the rigthhanded Conlon knew it was time to keep it there and wait for the late surge. He retired nine straight and the Chiefs scored eight unanswered runs as they came on late for an 11-3 win at Syosset.
“I had the confidence and faith in my teammates that if we could stop things there, we could come from behind,” said Conlon, a junior who allowed just the two runs on a Jacob Lee two-run double and fanned six in five innings. “We’re a team that doesn’t get discouraged.”
Chris DeSousa had two doubles and two RBIs, Nick Schwartz drove in three runs and Alex Rende had three hits, an RBI and reached base four times for Massapequa (7-3, 6-1). Rende’s early struggles dropped him from second to ninth in the batting order, but he may be “finding his stride,” Chiefs coach Tom Sheedy said.
Lee and PJ Daniels each had two hits for the Braves (7-4, 5-2), whose every miscue Massapequa seemed to seize.
The Chiefs scored five unearned runs on three Braves errors and were crafty enough to use a Wade Kelly safety squeeze for a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning. Massapequa scored eight of its runs with two out.
“We got some breaks and we took advantage of them, but that doesn’t mean we’re going home happy,” Sheedy said. “The record is good — and we’d rather win than lose — but we aren’t playing our brand of baseball yet. We’re making mistakes. We’re missing signs, stealing bases when we shouldn’t, watching outfielders make plays instead of running on the bases.
“These are things we are going to have to clean up.”
Massapequa evened the score in the second on a Dan Sohn run-scoring single and a Rende RBI double. It took the lead for good when Travis Honeyman was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Dan Wolf’s single and the ensuing Syosset throwing error.
After Lee’s two-run double in the first, the only baserunners against Conlon came on an error, a walk and an infield hit. “Bobby got really tough on them,” Sheedy said. "He pitched well.”
“We may not be playing our best baseball, but there’s a way to go,” DeSousa said. “We know we can play better and we’re confident we will.”