When East Meadow's Brian Kavanagh is on the mound, opponents had best beware of the bulldog.
That was true again Tuesday. There was bite on Kavanagh's curve and a bark in his retort when his coach came to the mound to check on the righthander's fatigue in the seventh inning.
"I told Coach, 'I got this.' I wanted the complete game," Kavanagh said. He got what he wanted, for the fourth time this season, as East Meadow defeated host Massapequa, 5-0, in a Nassau AA-I / II crossover game. "He's our bulldog. It all starts and ends with Brian," Jets coach John Marciante said. "He's the heart and soul of our team. He's our centerfielder when he doesn't pitch and our No. 2 hitter. But we have to protect him, too. It's a long season."
That's why Marciante strode to the mound after a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh. "He had 109 pitches to that point," Marciante said. "I was going to give him that batter and one more."
Kavanagh got Andrew Ditzel to line into a double play and Kyle McLernon to hit a hard grounder to short to end it as the AA-II Jets improved to 7-0 while the AA-I Chiefs fell to 4-3. Kavanagh struck out eight and allowed only five hits.
"I wasn't off to a good start, so I just stayed with the fastball and trusted my defense," Kavanagh said. He escaped a jam in the first with a double-play ball. In a ragged second, he was aided by two well-executed pickoff plays. In the third, Massapequa loaded the bases with one out but Kavanagh helped himself, bouncing off the mound to field two swinging bunts and make alert flips to his catcher for forceouts.
Then in the fourth, he unleashed his curveball, which helped him produce six strikeouts over the next three innings. "I started aiming it at the front hip and it worked," Kavanagh said. "He has two different breaking balls but he couldn't find his cutter, and that's usually his best pitch," Marciante said. "So he went to his curve and it was dynamite."