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Jake Gargiulo’s triple helps Calhoun rally in playoff opener

Calhoun boys baseball starting pitcher Rob Bachus (12),

Calhoun boys baseball starting pitcher Rob Bachus (12), during the Nassau County High School Class AA second round playoff game against Mepham, held at Calhoun High School, Merrick, New York, on Monday May 16, 2016. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

The hits just kept on coming . . . and coming . . . and coming.

“Unbelievable. Crazy. That just doesn’t happen,” Calhoun’s Jake Gargiulo said.

But it did. Eight straight hits. Eight straight runs. A big crooked number to complete a big comeback.

Gargiulo, the Colts’ leadoff batter, was the caboose in the hit train, belting a two-run tie-breaking triple high off the fence in rightfield in the bottom of the sixth, in No. 2 Calhoun’s a 10-7 victory over No. 7 Mepham Monday in the opener of a Nassau AA three-game playoff series.

“I was looking for a curve away,” said the lefty-swinging Gargiulo, who scored three times. “He threw me an inside fastball and I was able to get around on it. It got up in the stream.”

That was the wind-driven jet stream that made outfield play hazardous, though Gargiulo’s ball was well struck, as were most of the others in the stunning rally. Calhoun (14-6) trailed 7-2 when winning pitcher Rob Backus led off the home sixth with a ringing double to left. He scored on a single to center by Dylan Hughes, the cleanup-hitter who started at shortstop and got the save when he relieved Backus with two on and none out in the seventh and escaped the jam.

Anthony D’Andrea singled and Jack Pugliano doubled home a run to make it 7-4 with runners on second and third. That’s when the 7-8-9 hitters kept the line moving with line drives of their own. Mike Losak tripled home a pair, Mike Porkorny singled home Losak and Matt Pelcher’s base hit tied the game. Mepham (13-8), which hosts the second game of the series today, changed pitchers for Gargiulo, but it did not change its fortunes.

“That was so huge. The bottom of the order really came through,” said Hughes, who had two hits. So did Connor Hannon, whose ground ball scored Gargiulo with the final run, Backus and Pugliano. Tom Rullo was three-for-three with two RBIs for Mepham.

Rullo was waiting on deck, with the bases loaded, when Hughes got the final out on a groundball. “I usually pitch the third game of a series, but I’ve closed games before,” Hughes said.

It didn’t look like he’d be needed in that role when the Pirates grabbed a 7-2 lead on a misplayed fly ball that scored two runs in the top of the sixth.

“We hadn’t had an inning like that all year,” Calhoun coach Art Canestro said. “The playoffs was the perfect time to do it.”

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