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Connetquot beats Hills West in Class AA loser's bracket final

Connetquot's Brian McKean is congratulated as the winning

Connetquot's Brian McKean is congratulated as the winning pitcher during the Suffolk High School baseball Class AA loser's bracket final. (May 30, 2013) Credit: Alan J Schaefer

Justin Scala and his Connetquot teammates trailed by a run entering the bottom of the seventh Thursday against No. 9 Half Hollow Hills West during its Suffolk Class AA losers'-bracket final.

They refused to lose.

Starting with Scala's leadoff walk, the No. 8 Thunderbirds also refused to give in. They drew four walks in the inning, capped by Joe Silverstein's free pass to come away with a 5-4, walk-off victory.

The win sends Connetquot (17-9) into the county final against No. 2 Ward Melville (18-5) at 4 p.m. Friday at Ward Melville. The Patriots need one win to clinch the title; Connetquot needs a win Friday and a win Saturday to take it.

"Our team is built on never saying die," said Scala, who scored the tying run with the bases loaded and nobody out by sliding safely on a close play at the plate on Steven Schmitt's fielder's choice. "Someone had to come out of the loser's bracket. Why not us?"

Schmitt wasn't looking to do too much in his crucial at-bat.

"Right from the start, I was looking to hit it, get a single" said Schmitt, who finished 1-for-3, with an RBI and two runs.

After allowing three earned runs on seven hits in seven innings, with four walks and five strikeouts, Brian McKean helped his own cause by drawing a walk after Scala got on. McKean later scored the winning run on Silverstein's walk.

"Going in, I didn't have any doubt my team would put up a fight," said McKean, who went 2-for-3. "We had great eyes at the plate. It was a team effort."

The same could be said for the Colts (18-7), led by Luke Stampfl's two solo homers and starter Sal Lovaglio's two-run homer. Stampfl had one in the third to tie the score at 1 and another in the fourth to give Half Hollow Hills West a 4-1 lead to cap the inning.

Lovaglio and Stampfl went back-to-back in the fourth.

"We gave them second chances with walks," said Colts coach Tom Migliozzi, who replaced Lovaglio with reliever T.J. Montalbano, who started at second base, with two on in the seventh. Half Hollow Hills West allowed seven walks in all. "That's it in a nutshell," the coach said.

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