Gabe Beschloss stood out in the intense heat of the day and the moment for Garden City, desperately trying to nail down the final out in the Long Island Conference II championship game. But the freshman reliever was in a fight with his command and his nerves.
Back-to-back bases-loaded walks with two outs had shaved Garden City’s lead to two against a Huntington team that had claimed a Suffolk title for the first time since 1960, had won 12 straight and was refusing to give up Sunday at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
"I was definitely nervous," Beschloss said. "I’m playing for my seniors, and I’m trying to get the ball over the plate."
The lefty got the ball over to the next batter, Alex Gonzalez, who hit a line drive to center. Pete Halloran squeezed it. The Nassau champion Trojans owned a 5-3 win, good for the program’s second Long Island title and first since 2000.
Might as well give Beschloss the victory and the save after stranding seven in three innings.
"I’m so proud of the boys for winning the LIC," Beschloss said.
So was coach Dave Izzo.
"It’s incredible for this group of seniors especially that lost a year of baseball due to the pandemic," he said. "So to end it in this fashion, I can’t be happier for these boys."
Joe Infante delivered two hits, including an RBI single that made it 5-1 in the fourth. The senior catcher also had to try to get his young pitcher to the finish line in the sweaty seventh.
"I just tried to relax him," Infante said. "We knew he had the velocity to get out of the inning, and it worked."
In the first, Huntington (17-4) went ahead 1-0 on an RBI double by Kyle Colleluori off Frank Santeramo and Garden City (16-6) scored three unearned runs off Palmer O’Beirne, thanks to two infield errors. Joe Frandina lifted a sacrifice fly in the second for a 4-1 advantage.
Santeramo departed after three innings because of a thumb issue. Aidan Magnotta then escaped a bases-loaded problem in the fourth.
Beschloss entered with runners at first and second and none out in the fifth. He fanned three that inning and five overall.
The Blue Devils, who set the program record for wins, left 12 on base.
"Historic; great season," coach Bill Harris said. "The best baseball team in Huntington history."