Sometimes baseball is as simple as which team makes the least amount of big mistakes. That was the case Saturday at Farmingdale State College.
Second-seeded MacArthur defeated fifth-seeded Oceanside, 7-4, in Game 1 of the best-of-three Nassau Class AA finals. MacArthur is one win from its first county title since 1994. Game 2 is Monday at 4 p.m. at Farmingdale State.
Trailing 4-0 in the fifth inning, Brian Cunningham one-hopped the leftfield fence for a three-run double to bring the Generals within 4-3.
"I honestly thought it was out , I'm not fast enough for three [bases]," Cunningham said, "so I was happy with two."
MacArthur (19-6) had another bases-loaded opportunity in the next inning. And the result was nearly identical. Jared Wolfe got a 2-and-0 pitch "in his zone" -- he strategically wouldn't name where "his zone" was -- and drove the ball over the centerfielder's head for another three-run double and the eventual game-winning hit.
"I got into a good hitter's count, 2-0, so I looked for my spot to hit the ball," Wolfe said. "I let my hands do the work."
Jack Wall, who allowed four runs and nine hits with five strikeouts in a complete game, was nearly perfect in six of his seven innings. The fourth was when he made his mistake.
With an 0-and-2 count, Wall left a fastball up in the zone to Oceanside's Brian DiDominica. The result: a three-run double to give Oceanside (18-8) a 3-0 lead. DiDominica scored on Nick Vlahakis' infield single in the next at-bat.
"Thank God my teammates were there to pick me up and score a bunch of runs for me the last few innings," Wall said.
Coach Steve Costello called Wall's changeup his best pitch of the game, even though he's predominantly a fastball and curveball pitcher. Wall took that changeup into the final inning in which he told himself "just to stay composed and not to try to do too much."
Oceanside's John Condon, who went 4-for-4, doubled in the seventh but the Sailors were unable to get the tying run to the plate.
MacArthur is ready to build off the victory to try to close the series.
"It's huge," Wall said. "Momentum going into Game 2 is everything and we are very confident going into that second game."