ENDWELL, N.Y. — Massapequa catcher Andrew Primm felt the weight of McQuaid Jesuit’s only run on his shoulders.
It was his high throw in the fourth inning of a state Class AA baseball semifinal that drew Luke O’Mahony off first base, leading to the run that tied the score.
“I knew I had to make it up somehow,” he said.
He did — and then some.
Primm made a run-saving scoop at the plate in the fifth, turned an inning-ending double play a batter later and broke open Massapequa’s 7-1 win with a three-run triple in the sixth inning Friday night at Maine-Endwell High School.
Dan Gdanski struck out six and allowed seven hits in a complete game. O’Mahony, Adam Mosca, Michael Moreno and Nicholas Fossari each had two hits.
The Chiefs (23-6) will face Liverpool at 10 a.m. Saturday in their first championship appearance since 2008. Massapequa last won a state title in 2006.
“I’m just really happy that we got the win,” Gdanski said. “Our team has worked so hard this whole season to get to this point.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Gdanski loaded the bases with none out and a 2-1 lead. The righthander induced a slow grounder to third and John Castagnozzi fired home on the run. With the runner sliding as the throw arrived, Primm dug the ball out of the artificial turf just in time for the forceout.
Thomas Manno then ripped a one-hopper back to Gdanski, who threw home for the force. Primm caught the ball cleanly, stepped into fair territory to create a better angle and threw a strike to O’Mahony to complete the inning-ending double play.
“That was the turning point of the game,” coach Tom Sheedy said.
With one out in the sixth, Mosca tripled, Chris Wasson walked and Michael Cottone was hit by a pitch, setting up Primm’s three-run triple.
“[McQuaid Jesuit starter Erik Johnson] was pitching me outside the whole game,” said Primm, whose drive nearly cleared the rightfield wall. “I saw a couple of curveballs. I was trying to piece one the other way. I got a nice [outside fastball] and just pushed it out.”
That 5-1 lead felt insurmountable, but O’Mahony and Philip Cottone tacked on RBI singles just in case.
“With Dan on the mound, as soon as you get even a one-run lead, we’re confident,” Mosca said. “When it was 7-1, we had no doubt in our minds that Dan was going to go out there and throw strikes and we would make the plays behind him.”
And that is exactly what Gdanski did. The senior retired six of the seven batters he faced after the four-run sixth, ending the game with a strikeout. But the Chiefs hope that is not the final exclamation point to their season.
Said Gdanski, “We just want to get one more and be state champions.”