Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK’s Jake Gruttadauria rounds second after his homer in...

Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK’s Jake Gruttadauria rounds second after his homer in the sixth inning on Thursday, May 16, 2024. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

The Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK baseball team that was such a force all season finally regained its form on Thursday and not a moment too soon.

The powerhouse offense that was the Hawks’ trademark for so many weeks awakened in the late going of the deciding Game 3 of their Nassau AAA quarterfinal series against Oceanside and powered it to an 11-5 victory in the cold mist at Hicksville’s Bob Hilsky Memorial Field.

Matt Maier came off the bench and delivered a pinch-hit single that broke a tie at 3 and opened the floodgates on a five-run rally in the fifth inning that was the driving force in the win that gave second-seeded Plainview the 2-1 series win and propels it into a semifinal series against third-seeded Farmingdale. Game 1 is scheduled for Sunday at Plainview.

Ryan Kurre had a two-run inside the park homer, Jake Gruttadauria hit a mammoth solo shot that landed on the far side of the roof of the equipment warehouse in centerfield and Michael D’Ambrosio had three RBIs for the Hawks (17-6).

“Today we finally played the way we’re capable of,” Plainview coach John Givargidze said. “We were in a spot where we really had to bear down against a good team and bounce back from losing (Game 2 Tuesday). We got the good at-bats and big hits. That’s this team’s personality.”

“There is this point this team can reach where we’re playing our best and we tapped into that today,” Gruttadauria said. “When we play like that, we’re almost unstoppable.”

Oceanside (11-12) made three errors in the first inning that led to a run before Dylan Beirne escaped a bases-loaded situation and Kurre’s blast over the head of the rightfielder made it 3-0 in the second. However, the Sailors can hit a little too and scored three in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Pat Pallentino and a two-run single by Nick Blette to knot the score.

“(Oceanside) is a scrappy team and this is the playoffs,” Kurre said. “Even though they tied it, we were confident. After we lost Game 2, we walked out of there with no doubt that we were going to win today.”

Maier came off the bench in the fifth with two on and two out and ripped a single to rightfield to score Logan McGrath from second with the go-ahead run. Two batters later, Sebastian Lippman drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 5-3. D’Ambrosio would follow with a two-run single to right and Peter Bounougias added an RBI groundout before it was over.

“Maier came off the bench cold and delivered such an important hit,” Givargidze said. “We always talk about the importance of being ready.”

“I know that when my spot is called, I have to do damage,” Maier said. “It was great to do that for this team in this spot.”

Gruttadauria’s bomb opened a three-run sixth and was, surprisingly, his first homer of the year.

“Today was our lineup playing to its potential,” he said, “and we have plenty left in the tank.”


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months