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Nick Rizzo regroups after rough start to lead East Islip to Conference IV baseball title

East Islip sophomore Nick Rizzo wanted the called third strike on Matt Torres to close out the first inning. The young pitcher didn’t get it. The borderline strike was called a ball.

And the next pitch was crushed to dead-central. Torres' massive solo home run to centerfield to give Harborfields an early lead.

But Rizzo didn’t flinch.

He belied his age and gathered himself to shut down a potent Tornadoes offense and yield just two hits and two runs over the final six innings as East Islip went on to a 14-3 win and claim the Suffolk Conference IV baseball championship in Islip Terrace on Friday.

East Islip (15-5) will meet Bethpage (17-2) at Mitchel Athletic Complex at 2 p.m. Sunday for the Long Island Conference IV title.

East Islip, which is on an eight-game win streak, captured its 11th Suffolk title, the last one coming in 2006.

Rizzo struck out eight and hit two batters to improve to 5-1 with an ERA of 0.67. The lefthander leads a staff that has allowed only 22 earned runs in 20 games.

"He’s so composed for such a young pitcher," East Islip coach Sal J. Ciampi said. "I knew he’d settle down after the home run. I also knew when he didn’t get the strikeout he’d rebound and be fine."

East Islip took the lead with a four-run second inning. Nick Parrillo drew a walk and Jason Torres singled before Nick Rigugliosi moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt.

Anthony DeSane had an RBI single to tie it and Ryan Ferremi lifted a one-out sac fly to score Torres for a 2-1 lead. With two outs, Derek Burrell lined a run-scoring single and a fourth run scored on an outfield error for a 4-1 lead.

"Our offense has really come together and started to hit," said Ferremi, who added a home run and a double. "We put together a great inning there."

Harborfields took advantage of an infield error and Evan Ackerman drilled a two-out RBI triple to make it 4-2. He scored when Ryan Shih singled up the middle to get within one.

"It wasn’t my best outing, but I battled, and the run support was more than enough," Rizzo said. "I started to hit my spots and settle down."

East Islip blew the game open with a six-run fourth inning. The big blast came from Rizzo’s older brother and team leader, senior John Rizzo, who crushed a one-out, three-run triple off the base of the rightfield fence to make it 9-3.

Ferremi hit his sixth home run for one of two runs in the fifth and Burrell added a two-run single in the sixth for the final margin.

"We knew we were good but with no preseason we got off to a slow start losing five games by a total of six runs," Ciampi said. "It’s been a great run with an excellent group of players."

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