Hauppauge celebrates after advancing to the state Class AA baseball...

Hauppauge celebrates after advancing to the state Class AA baseball final at Binghamton University on June 7, 2024. Credit: Jorge Marcano

BINGHAMTON — When things fall apart, the Hauppauge baseball team finds a way to put them  back together.

The Eagles are a resilient group. And that showed Friday night in a state Class AA semifinal  at Binghamton University.

After watching his team fall behind by a run in the top of the sixth inning, freshman Kyle Magill drilled a two-out single to rightfield  in the bottom of the eighth to give Hauppauge a walk-off 4-3 win over Victor (Rochester)  on a rainy night in the Southern Tier of New York.

The sweet-swinging 14-year-old lefthanded hitter — who also had a tying  RBI single in the sixth —  was mobbed in a dogpile at first base after sending the Eagles (22-4) into the state Class AA  championship game against Bethlehem (18-5) on Saturday afternoon at Mirabito Stadium in Binghamton.

“We always find a way,” Hauppauge coach Josh Gutes said. “This is what we do. We get the job done one through nine in our batting order. Kyle went up there with a plan and drove his pitch.”

Magill swung at an 0-and-1 curveball and lined a clean single to rightfield.

“I had to get it done,” said Magill, the seventh hitter in the lineup, who had three hits and three RBIs. “I bunted for a hit earlier and the coach called time and made a mound visit. I noticed the third baseman was no longer playing back — he’d moved up. So I was swinging for a hit.”

The top three hitters in the Hauppauge lineup went a combined 1-for-12. That usually would spell doom for any team, but not these Eagles. The rest of the lineup, led by Magill, pounded eight hits.

“Kyle has been super-clutch in the playoffs,” said starting pitcher Matt Neglia, who scored the winning run. “He’s young but he doesn’t flinch. He’s so confident and gets up in big spots and comes through.”

Neglia’s no-hit bid ended in the sixth when Andrew Stagnitto grounded a single between third and short, and he then was called for his second balk. It all temporarily unraveled there for the Eagles.

With one out, Neglia walked leadoff man Mitchell Schalberg and Nick Kriegelstein drilled a run-scoring single to make it 2-1.  “He had total command and then lost his rhythm in the inning,” Gutes said. “He had been almost perfect.”

Victor starting pitcher Weston Elkovitch popped out for the second out, but John Swartz drove a 2-and-2 pitch off the rightfield wall for a two-run double and a 3-2 lead. 

Gutes removed Neglia, who allowed three hits, two walks and three earned runs with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, and handed the ball to third baseman John Margolies, the team's closer, who  induced an inning-ending pop-up.

“That’s been my job for four years on the varsity,” said Margolies, who retired all seven batters he faced. “I didn’t think it was any different than any other pressure situation in any other game that I’ve been in. It’s what I do. I come in and shut it down.”

 Margolies threw 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief for Hauppauge, which captured its first Long Island title this season after winning a Suffolk championship for the first time since 2000.  

In the bottom of the sixth, Neglia was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cole Wood that was misplayed. Kevin Walker popped up a bunt for the first out before Magill’s single to center tied the score at 3.

Hauppauge was in control through the first five innings. Neglia mowed down Victor (20-6), retiring 15 of 16 batters and allowing one baserunner, a third-inning walk to Stagnitto.

The Eagles broke through against  Elkovich in the fourth. Neglia led off with a sharp single to left, Wood followed with a single to right and  Walker laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. With one out, Magill sliced a fly ball to leftfield that drifted into foul territory as Jameson Ricigliano tracked the ball and made the catch. Neglia outraced the throw home for a sacrifice fly and a 1-0 lead, and Alex Ofgang's single to center made it 2-0.

Vincent Crafa then smoked a double that one-hopped the right-centerfield wall. Ofgang came around to score but was ruled out for missing third base, nullifying the third run.

“That was a big call,” Gutes said. “But it was the right call.”

The game was quite reminiscent of a Suffolk playoff game in which Hauppauge fell behind Comsewogue in the top of the eighth, only to win on Mike Oliveto's walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the inning . . .  not to mention a regular-season game in which Oliveto's walk-off grand slam in the seventh gave the Eagles a 10-7 victory over East Islip in a game the Eagles had trailed 7-2 in the sixth. 

“Just amazing,” Gutes said. “Now we need one more win in this incredible season.”

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