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Rizzo brothers lead East Islip to Conference IV baseball title

East Islip players celebrate after winning the Long

East Islip players celebrate after winning the Long Island Conference V championship on Sunday at St. Joseph's Athletic Complex. Credit: Dawn McCormick

John Rizzo Jr. and Nick Rizzo didn’t have to do any shopping for Father’s Day. Instead, they joined their dad, John, in exclusive company: Long Island champions at East Islip High School.

John Rizzo Jr. recorded 13 strikeouts and allowed two runs, five hits and two walks in a complete game and Nick Rizzo went 2-for-4 with a triple and five RBIs as East Islip defeated Bethpage, 14-2, in the Long Island Conference IV championship game at Mitchel Field on Sunday afternoon.

It was East Islip’s first Long Island title since 1991. John Rizzo Sr. was on that team.

"I wanted to do it for him, especially on Father’s Day," said John Jr., who struck out the final hitter of the game. "It’s definitely special. I saw his face light up after that last out. He was the first person I looked at back there."

John, a senior, said he felt strong coming out of his pregame warm-up. And no one knows better than Nick that when John is feeling strong, hitters had better watch out.

"Once he gets in the zone, no one can stop him," Nick said. "I wouldn’t want to be in the box against him. I’m glad I’m on his side and in the field behind him."

Nick, a sophomore, tripled home three runs to give East Islip a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

"I was looking for something over the plate to drive," he said. "I knew I hit the barrel. I thought it was just going to be a sacrifice fly, but when I saw it go over his head, I was off to the races."

Even though John was proud of Nick’s performance, he couldn’t help but throw in an older brother jab.

"Playing with my brother has been a pleasure," John said. "He’s going to be really good in a couple of years.

"Maybe not as good as me," he added with a laugh, "but it’s a special moment and I’ll never forget that."

East Islip (16-5) added four runs in the sixth as Anthony Rigogliosi, Anthony DeSane, Ryan Ferremi and Derek Burrell crossed home plate. Bethpage (19-3) scored both of its runs in the bottom of the sixth.

East Islip sent 11 batters to the plate in a seven-run seventh. Ryan Wills had a single and a sacrifice fly, Ferremi had a two-run double and Ryan Thompson had a two-run triple in the inning.

"Up and down the lineup for the last few weeks, everyone has been locked in," Nick said. "Everybody’s been seeing the ball well, and if it’s as simple as getting a bunt down, it’s done. Everyone knows what to do."

"Once we started to score runs, we felt we were the best team on Long Island," coach Sal J. Ciampi said. "And that kind of played itself out over the last three weeks."

After the 2020 Long Island high school baseball season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, East Islip was determined to make up for lost time.

"We said at the beginning of the season, for all these seniors that missed out on last year, any championship would make up for last year and we got two," John said. "It was just a great feeling doing it together."

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