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Center Moriches gets jump on Wheatley to win Long Island Class B baseball title

Center Moriches celebrates after defeating Wheatley in the

Center Moriches celebrates after defeating Wheatley in the Long Island Class B final at SUNY-Old Westbury on Thursday. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Starting pitcher Liam Pulsipher’s message to his team was simple — score early and I’ll do the rest.

“On the bus, I told my teammates, ‘It could be a nice, easy game if we get on them early,’ ” Pulsipher said.

Then they did just that. Center Moriches scored three runs in the first inning and five in the second, handing Pulsipher an eight-run lead. He did the rest, overcoming a steady rain and pitching six masterful innings in the Red Devils’ 11-1 win over Wheatley in the Long Island Class B baseball championship game on Thursday at SUNY-Old Westbury.

Center Moriches (20-4) will face upstate Marlboro Central in the Class B Southeast Regional final at noon Saturday at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue with a trip to the state semifinals in Binghamton on the line.

Pulsipher was untouchable for most of the soggy afternoon. He allowed one run and four hits in six innings, walked two and struck out seven.

After a double by Wheatley’s Will Feil in the first inning, Pulsipher retired eight batters in a row and 11 of the next 12. He had a one-hitter through 5 2⁄3 innings.

“I just tried to attack the zone, attack batters and force them to try and put the ball in play,” said Pulsipher, whose father, Bill, pitched for the Mets for three seasons. “That’s been my main goal this year — throw strikes, keep the ball over the plate, move it around, change eye levels and get the hitters off balance. It seemed to work today.”

“He always brings his stuff for us,” said David Falco, whose two-run single highlighted the five-run second. “Every time he comes out, he has a good outing. It’s great.”

David Franchi reached on an error to lead off the first inning and scored on Alec Maag’s single. Pulsipher scored on a wild pitch and Maag scored on an error for a 3-0 lead.

“We came out swinging in the first inning and really got on them,” Maag said. “That’s what our goal was, to get on them from the start. We did great and the rain really didn’t get to us . . . We kept putting the ball hard on the ground and forced the defense to make a play. It’s hard to make a play with these conditions. We were just trying to put the pressure on them, and it worked.”

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