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Jake Saltzman helps Plainview JFK improve to 11-0

Plainview JFK shortstop Dom Palumbo, right, and leftfielder

Plainview JFK shortstop Dom Palumbo, right, and leftfielder Mike O'Brien celebrate after scoring on a two-run single by centerfielder Jake Saltzman (not pictured) in the top of the fifth inning in a Nassau AA-II baseball game against East Meadow on April 21, 2014. Credit: James Escher

East Meadow loaded the bases when Charlie Basedow had third-inning control issues, but a first-pitch grounder ended the threat.

The Jets intentionally walked Plainview JFK's Dom Palumbo in the fifth to get to Jake Saltzman and set up a force, but Saltzman hit a bounding two-run single for the lead.

A sixth-inning error opened the door for a comeback by East Meadow, but Corey Cohen came in and shut that door with a big old slam.

It seems the harder a team tries to beat Plainview, the more ways the Hawks find to win.

"We have confidence in everyone we bring in,'' Plainview coach John Givargidze said Monday after his team's 8-2 win at East Meadow. "We have 10 seniors and we count on them to carry the weight . . . They've done everything we've asked them to.''

Including take League AA-II by surprise. Plainview, 5-12 last year, remained the only unbeaten team in Nassau -- 11-0 overall, 7-0 in league play -- thanks to a three-run fifth inning and a four-run seventh.

With Plainview trailing 2-1, two on and two outs in the fifth, Saltzman smacked Joe Minucci's fastball off the lip of the infield dirt and into rightfield for a 3-2 lead. Chris Tracz lined a single to right to make it 4-2.

"I just thought I had to step it up then,'' Saltzman said. "Even when the bats aren't working so well, we have pitching and defense . . . But this was a big game for us, a big win.''

Plainview was helped by three walks and two errors in a four-run seventh. "I actually thought it was going to be a closer game, but we just kept on piling on the runs,'' Tracz said. "It was contagious.''

It was just the pick-me-up Basedow needed. The lefty, who gave up two hits in four innings, moved to 5-0 despite allowing six walks in the third and fourth to East Meadow (8-3, 5-2).

Despite Basedow's struggles, Givargidze intended to leave his starter in for as long as he could, especially given that an unforgiving divot on the mound could have made command an issue for any pitcher he tossed out there. "And he's our horse,'' he said. "He's been unbelievable.''

But he had thrown a lot of pitches, and Givargidze went to the bullpen.

David Glass then pitched 12/3 scoreless innings, with two walks, a single and a strikeout. Cohen intentionally walked a batter and went on to retire the last four in order.

"This is big because we're right near them'' in the standings, Basedow said. "I won't make excuses [for the walks], but even when I walked those kids, I knew I had to battle through. After that, I trust Glass and I trust all my relievers. They throw strikes and get outs.''

But that's the Hawks for you this year. If they can't beat you one way, they'll find another.

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