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Suffolk wins Grand Slam Challenge in bizarre fashion

Josh McGee, Connetquot catcher, left, and pitcher Brian

Josh McGee, Connetquot catcher, left, and pitcher Brian Primm of North Babylon shake hands after Suffolk County's 4-3 win over Nassau in the Grand Slam Challenge at Hofstra on Thursday, June 27, 2019. Photo Credit: James Escher

The final high school baseball game of the year on Long Island had a conclusion you won’t see very often.

With the score tied at 2 after the eighth inning, the Grand Slam executive committee invoked a new tiebreaker rule — “The Grand Slam Challenge tiebreaking rule.” The rule, based off the California tiebreaker rule, started the ninth inning with the bases loaded and one out.

Suffolk emerged with a 4-3 win over Nassau in the 15th Annual Rawlings Grand Slam Challenge Thursday at Hofstra, which has traditionally played nine-inning games and has never ended in a tie. The All-Star Game features Nassau’s top senior players against Suffolk’s best and benefits St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

“It was pretty fun playing different rules from California down here,” said Christian Amoruso of Smithtown West, who had two hits and was awarded the game’s MVP. “No pressure because it’s just a fun game between Suffolk and Nassau, so yeah, just trying to have some fun out here.”

Suffolk scored two runs in the top of the ninth, taking a 4-2 lead on RBI singles by Brian Primm (North Babylon) and Josh McGee (Connetquot).

“I was just looking fastball and he gave me first-pitch fastball and I just drove it,” Primm said. “The situation was weird, but it worked out.”

Joe Braskey (Kellenberg) had a leadoff sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to cut Suffolk’s lead to 4-3.

Primm also tossed the final two innings for Suffolk, including having to deal with the bases loaded and one-out situation from the pitcher’s point of view.

“It was stressful out there,” said Primm, who will play at Pace University. “But it was fun to close out the game. It felt good.”

In a game that is traditionally a pitcher-dominated affair, Thursday was no different. Neither team recorded an extra-base hit. There’s only been two triples and no home runs in the game's history.

Jose Matos (Longwood) had a sacrifice fly to drive in Michael Draskin (Half Hollow Hills West) to give Suffolk a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

Aidan Tornquist (Hills West) scored the second run on a first-and-third situation, taking home on a stolen base attempt by Amoruso, for a 2-0 advantage in the third inning.

Aidan Larkin (Chaminade) stole home on the pitch, after also stealing second base,a for Nassau’s first run, cutting Suffolk’s lead to 2-1 in the third inning. Luke Napolitano (Kellenberg) had a single to drive in Nick Schwartz (Massapequa) as Nassau tied the score at 2 in the fourth inning.

Max Nielsen (Ward Melville), Doug Goodwin (Smithtown East) and Mike Gunning (Rocky Point) each tossed a scoreless frame for Suffolk. Will Kennedy (Smithtown West) tossed two scoreless innings for Suffolk.

Brendan Turton (Clarke), Charlie Cucchiara (East Meadow), Cameron Mayer (Syosset) and Rich Gennaro (Bethpage) each tossed a scoreless frame for Nassau.

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