Joe Cottone got jammed and wanted nothing more than for his blooper to fall in.
The shortstop, third baseman and left fielder converged as the ball continued its descent, but no one got there in time.
Cottone’s single with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the ninth scored Lucas Sauer from third, giving visiting Plainedge a one-run advantage and the eventual 7-6 win over Bethpage in an extra-inning Nassau A-III baseball game Thursday night.
Plainedge trailed 5-2 entering the top of the seventh but managed four runs. Bethpage scored a run in the bottom half to force extra innings.
“I was down in the count,” Cottone said. “I swung at a bad pitch over my head. I knew he was going to have to come right at me. I got jammed; I still just got it out there, muscled it out to leftfield.”
Sauer reached base to start the inning on an error in the infield and promptly stole second base. He advanced to third when Rob Paul singled to center.
Then Nick DeMicco walked, setting up Cottone’s single for Plainedge (13-2).
Cottone was put in position for the go-ahead hit thanks to a four-run rally in the top of the seventh.
Plainedge had runners on second and third with one out when Paul’s chopper in the infield was mishandled and thrown away, allowing both Jason Bottari and Jake Esposito to score.
DeMicco then singled home Paul, tying the game at 6. After Cottone singled to center, Brian Bornkamp’s grounder in the infield allowed DeMicco to score the go-ahead run.
Bethpage answered in the bottom half on Alex Ludewig’s bases-loaded single, scoring Gannon Kenney-McGowan from third.
When it came time for extras, Plainedge turned to crafty lefthander Rob Pinto on the mound. He struck out the side in the eighth, and after Cottone gave him the lead in the top of the ninth, he retired the side in order for the win.
But it didn’t go without a scare.
Golden Eagles cleanup hitter Mark Rossini, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI, ripped the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth within feet of the fence in left. But Bornkamp made the catch, much to the relief of Pinto.
“I got really nervous when that ball was in the air,” Pinto said. “I shook his hand when he was running in. I said, ‘Good hit, you scared the hell out of me.’ ”
It didn’t affect Pinto, as a groundout and a strikeout put a close on the comeback victory.