When describing teammate Jason Coules, George Savas did not use the words “sophomore” or “pitcher.”
Those words would have been accurate. They just would not have told the whole story.
“We’ve got this stud on the mound,” Savas said, pointing at Coules. “There’s not a lot better in the game than him.”
There was no one better Friday. Coules allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, leading No. 11 Bellmore JFK to a 5-2 road win over No. 3 Seaford in a Nassau Class A baseball elimination game. The Cougars (14-8-1) will visit No. 1 Carey on Monday for Game 1 of a best-of-three semifinal series.
“I can’t say enough about Jason Coules,” Cougars coach Eric Passman said. “This is the longest he’s gone all year.”
In his first season on varsity, Coules has served as a starter and reliever. He threw three relief innings Monday against Seaford and earned the win, his fourth. In the double-elimination playoff format, Friday was different. Seaford, which finished 18-6, raised the stakes by defeating Bellmore on Thursday and forcing the loser-go-home game.
“He’s starting an elimination game and he came through with six great innings against a very good team,” Passman said. “It makes you proud that a 10th-grader has that ability.”
Coules mixed his fastball and slider effectively but struck out only three Vikings. That allowed his defense to flash its leather.
With Seaford’s Anthony Pristera on second and Bellmore leading 2-1 in the first inning, shortstop Greg Goeller slowed a hard-hit grounder into the 5-6 hole. As the ball trickled into the outfield, Pristera raced toward home, but Goeller scrambled to pick it up and threw a strike to catcher Reid Oreste, who tagged out Pristera.
Needing a run to tie the score at 3, Seaford loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth. Coules induced a bouncer to third baseman Tyler Griffith, who managed to gather the ball and tag A.J. Cain in one fluid motion.
“They stepped up,” Coules said of the defense. “They do it all the time.”