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James Kory leads West Islip to Suffolk Class AA title by beating Hills West

West Islip starting pitcher James Kory, right, gets

West Islip starting pitcher James Kory, right, gets a hug from teammate Sam Ilario, left, who drove in the game's first run in the Suffolk Class AA baseball final on Thursday, May 29, 2014. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Sophomore James Kory did something special twice.

When he beat Half Hollow Hills West on May 21, he left West Islip as the only remaining team in the Suffolk Class AA winners' bracket -- in position to win the double-elimination tournament with one more win.

Then he gave the Lions an even better performance in Thursday's championship game.

Kory (8-0) pitched a five-hitter in a 5-0 win over second-seeded Hills West as eighth-seeded West Islip earned its first title since 2008. Kory, who pitched a three-hitter in last week's 2-1 victory over Hills West -- both wins were on the road -- picked up 11 groundouts Thursday.

Hills West emerged from the losers' bracket and beat host West Islip, 6-5, on Wednesday to give each team one loss in the tournament and force Thursday's winner-take-all championship game. West Islip (20-5) will meet Massapequa (17-7-1) in the Long Island Class AA championship game on June 7.

Kory perplexed the Colts with his fastball, curveball and changeup. "I pound the zone and trust my defense,'' he said. "I make my pitches and try to get ground balls.''

Said coach Shawn Rush: "It was another outstanding performance typical of him. He's been solid all season. And it seems we like to play on the road.''

The Colts (21-5) needed to beat West Islip twice to accomplish what no Suffolk team has ever done in Class AA -- come through the losers' bracket to win the crown. "The conditions to win today meant throwing strikes and playing defense,'' Hills West coach Tom Migliozzi said. "And that's exactly what West Islip did.''

Lou Antos led off the fourth with a single and scored on Sam Ilario's two-out single for a 1-0 lead. Matt Klein's RBI single made it 2-0. When the excited Klein emerged from the postgame dogpile, he said, "It starts with Sam and I do whatever it takes to win. When I lined the single, it was the single greatest moment in my life.''

"They've been a great 1-2 punch all season,'' Rush said. "They are both clutch performers. Sammy carried us all season and Matt has been consistent through the playoffs.''

West Islip added to its 3-0 lead in the fifth when Antos lifted a sacrifice fly and Travis Schindler added a run-scoring single.

"Our 2008 championship had guys who went on to play pro baseball,'' Rush said. "This team may not have pros, but it is loaded with a lot of good players who play as a team. I'm happy for them.''


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