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Connetquot's Travis Bruinsma to pitch in Grand Slam Challenge -- two days after starting state semifinal

Connetquot starting pitcher Travis Bruinsma throws during Game

Connetquot starting pitcher Travis Bruinsma throws during Game 1 of the Suffolk Class AA finals on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at Connetquot. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Travis Bruinsma learned Tuesday night that he was selected to pitch for the Suffolk senior all-stars in the 11th Blue Chip Prospects Grand Slam Challenge at Farmingdale State College on Monday night at 7 p.m. It'll be his second big game in three days.

The workhorse righthander won a school-record 13 games for Connetquot this season and is no stranger to pitching on one or two days' rest.

Bruinsma is tabbed to start Saturday when the Thunderbirds meet Mamaroneck in the semifinals of the Class AA state tournament at Union-Endicott High School in Binghamton.

Bruinsma laughed and said, "I'll have to keep my pitch count down at the state tournament so I'm ready for Monday."

Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $10 with most of the proceeds to benefit Ed Randall's Bat for the Cure in the fight against prostate cancer.

"We have an incredible lineup for this year's game," said Jim Clark of Blue Chip Prospects. "It's scheduled after the state playoffs, so everyone is available. And it gives Long Island a last look at the top seniors before they head off to college."

The game has played host to Long Island's professional baseball talent. Here's a sampling: Holy Trinity lefty Alex Robinson, who earned the Nassau MVP in the Rawlings Grand Slam Challenge in 2012, was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the fifth round with the 140th overall pick in yesterday's MLB Draft. Chris Pike of Southampton, now with the Tampa Bay Rays, was the Suffolk MVP in 2010. The Toronto Blue Jays' Marcus Stroman of Patchogue-Medford was the Suffolk MVP in 2009 and Connecticut's Anthony Kay of Ward Melville was selected to play for Team USA this summer.

"There's always great pitching in this game," Clark said.

Bruinsma (13-2), who logged 811/3 innings and struck out 91, is joined by top lefthanders in Nick Fanti of Hauppauge and P.J. Weeks of Bayport-Blue Point. Both set school records for shutouts in a season. Weeks threw seven and Fanti had five.

"You get one inning to air it out and have some fun," said Fanti, who struck out 87 in 52 innings. "And everyone wants a shot at the Rawlings pitching awards."

Suffolk's big hitters, third baseman Joe Flynn of Ward Melville, who hit 16 career home runs, and outfielder Aaron Gagliano of Connetquot, who batted .565. also will see top-notch pitching.

Nassau has an outstanding staff led by Chaminade's Sal Fradella, the CHSAA Pitcher of the Year, and St. Dominic's Reiss Knehr, the CHSAA Player of the Year. Those two battled for nine scoreless innings in the CHSAA final before Knehr exited before the 10th inning for a reliever and Chaminade pulled out a 1-0 win.

The Nassau staff also features Carle Place righty Mike Delio, who threw a perfect game with 21 straight strikeouts as a junior last season.

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