Before the season started, Mount Sinai coach Eric Reichenbach thought JT Caruso was going to be part of the Mustangs’ stable of talented pitchers. Instead, Caruso was one of Mount Sinai’s big bats.
The sophomore rightfielder was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the Mustangs’ 8-6 win over Island Trees in the Long Island Conference Class V championship game.
"That kid has been in the middle of everything from day one," Reichenbach said. "This kid has lit it up all year long and in every spot.
"It’s down runs, up runs, it’s ahead in the count, behind in the count. He gets fastballs, he hits them, he gets breaking balls and he hits them, and he’s always the gamer. He always comes up and succeeds in the big spots."
Caruso singled to left to give his team a 2-1 lead as part of a four-run third inning.
"I think my biggest slump of the year was 0-for-5," said Caruso, who entered hitting .428 for the season. "I’ve just been seeing the ball and hitting it where I want it to go."
Caruso is part of a young core that helped Mount Sinai throughout the season. "Our goal the whole year," he said, "was to win a county." The Mustangs did one better — they won the school’s first Long Island title.
Ryan Ferremi didn’t want to talk about his individual performance, but that performance deserved to be discussed.
The senior went 2-for-4 with a walk, three runs scored and a two-run double during a seven-run sixth inning as East Islip defeated Bethpage, 14-2, in the Long Island Conference IV championship game.
"That felt great to have that last at-bat and barrel one over the centerfielder’s head," Ferremi said. "But it’s really just about the win. I’ll look at individual stats later. The win is all that matters."
It was East Islip’s first Long Island title since 1991.
"We’ve been waiting for this for a long time," Ferremi said.
Junior TJ Maher was an incredibly physical linebacker for South Side. He showed the same grit in Sunday’s Long Island Conference III championship game as the Cyclones’ starting pitcher, shutting
the door on Newfield’s scoring opportunities in the third, fourth and fifth innings. He threw five scoreless innings before he was undone in a three-run sixth, with all of the runs unearned.
"He’s just a bulldog," South Side coach Tom Smith said. "He wants the ball in the big spots and he carried into the sixth and gave us a chance."
Newfield had runners on first and third in the third with one out and didn’t score. In the fourth, the Wolverines had a one-out triple and Maher buzzed Josh Jacob with an inside fastball on a suicide squeeze. Catcher Jack Temple nailed the runner at the plate. In the fifth, Newfield had second and third with one out and Maher got pinch hitter Stephen Lumme on a soft grounder to short and Joe Hackal on a long drive to right that was run down by Sean Britt for the third out.
"He made the key pitches," Smith said. "We couldn’t have asked for more from him."
John Boell, Owen O’Brien
and Gregg Sarra