Joe Tagliavia #31 of Farmingdale reacts after crossing home plate...

Joe Tagliavia #31 of Farmingdale reacts after crossing home plate in the top of the seventh inning in Game 2 of the Nassau County AAA baseball final against Port Washington at at Farmingdale State College on Sunday, May 26, 2024. Credit: James Escher

Joe Tagliavia and Jordan Welch started to feel the moment they’d waited for was upon them on the bus ride to the baseball stadium. The Farmingdale seniors looked at their teammates and saw a group intent on grabbing the ring that is the Nassau Class AAA championship.

“There was energy and excitement in there,” Welch said. “Like everyone couldn’t wait to play.”

“It was completely focused,” Tagliavia said. “Everyone wanted to finish what we started.”

And finish they did.

Welch got things started with an RBI triple in the top of the first inning, Tagliavia pitched solidly into the fifth and delivered a key two-run double and James Sebber put down a perfect suicide-squeeze bunt in the seventh with the lead down to a single run as Farmingdale beat Port Washington, 7-3, on Sunday and completed a two-game sweep in the best-of-three championship series at Farmingdale State.

A forceout at second base set off a raucous celebration around closer John Franco. It was a celebration two years in the making for Tagliavia and Welch and 34 years in the making for Farmingdale.

The Dalers (19-7-1) are county champions for the third time overall and first time since 1990. They will face Commack in the Long Island Class AAA championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Middle Country Athletic Complex.

“After we won the first game [Saturday], I could tell there was no stopping these guys,” Farmingdale coach Frank Tassielli said. “These guys have been so single-minded about winning a championship.”

Tagliavia and Welch were the two sophomores who earned starting spots on the 2022 Farmingdale team that was swept by Massapequa in the championship series. Tagliavia called this “a full-circle moment’’ for them.

“This was the one thing we felt we had to do,” Welch said. “To win the championship with this team, for this coach and for our school is so big.”

Port Washington (15-11-2) was in a familiar place after winning its quarterfinal and semifinal series despite Game 1 losses and had ace Hunter Trenamen pitching.

The Dalers came out swinging early and scored a pair of first-inning runs. After Welch hit a triple to the wall in right-centerfield, he scored on Angel Cartagena’s sacrifice fly.

The Vikings opened their first with three straight hits to cut the margin in half, but aggressiveness on the bases snuffed the chance of a big inning when a flare to second resulted in an inning-ending double play.

Tagliavia came up with two runners in scoring position and none out in the third and delivered a ground-rule double for a 4-1 edge. But in the bottom of that frame, Port Washington got two runs back on a freak play.

Tagliavia walked the bases full with two out and Max Spiryda hit a weak pop fly into short rightfield that second baseman Michael Kwas, outfielder Dean Pasolini and first baseman Welch converged on. In the same moment that Kwas got a glove on it, he was leveled by Pasolini. It came with such force that the ball ricocheted to the shortstop side of second base. Two Vikings scored, but Farmingdale cut down the runner trying to go from first to third.

With the score 4-3 to start the seventh, Franco hit a ground-rule double and took third on an errant pickoff throw. Sebber’s perfect bunt plated the first insurance run and started a three-run rally.

“When the season started, I believed this could happen,” Tassielli said. “It’s the best top-to-bottom pitching staff I’ve seen us have and we hit through the entire order. With Joe and Jordan to lead us, we had enough of everything.”


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