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Lindenhurst tops Longwood for AA baseball title

Lindenhurst players celebrates their 5-4 victory over Longwood.

Lindenhurst players celebrates their 5-4 victory over Longwood. (June 2, 2010) Credit: Photo by George A. Faella

This was an altogether different feeling. It was euphoric. The last time the Lindenhurst baseball rushed to the mound - was to aid pitching ace Tom Bammann - who was felled by a line drive to the face on April 12.

Wednesday, the Bulldogs rushed the mound in a whole different mode. They were there to congratulate Bammann and celebrate Lindenhurst's first county baseball championship since 1963. Bammann struck out five batters in three innings of relief as Lindenhurst held on for a 5-4 win over Longwood in the completion of a game suspended on Tuesday.

With a runner on first base, Mario Parisi flew out to rightfielder Dan DiBlasi for the final out as Lindenhurst claimed the Suffolk Class AA title.

"I wanted that last out to come to me," said DiBlasi, who ignited the decisive five-run inning with a single and a bases loaded walk. "It seemed like the ball floated forever before I caught it. I just sprinted toward the mound and threw the glove and ball in the air."

With the out secured, Lindenhurst coach Mike Canobbio hugged long time assistant Rich Rogers and joined DiBlasi and the team at the mound.

"I didn't think I'd play the rest of the season," Bammann said. "I'm lucky to be here. And here we are winning the county championship. It's all pretty amazing. When coach told me I was getting the ball to continue the suspended game I was so pumped."

Longwood did not go quietly in yesterday's three at-bats. In the fifth inning, Tom Scala ripped a line drive off the leftfield fence and Bobby Gazzola followed by drilling a long two-run home run to cut a 5-2 deficit to one run.

"We came back here to win this thing," Gazzola said. "We brought it back to one. We just couldn't push that tying run across."

Longwood reliever Brandon McClain shut down the vaunted Lindenhurst offense to give the Lions a chance to come back. He threw 21/3 innings of scoreless relief.

"We never hit McClain," Lindenhurst coach Mike Canobbio said. "He just shuts us down and Longwood always comes back."

The Lions threatened again in the sixth. J.J. Bessel walked and moved to third when Steve Fitzpatrick lined a one-out double down the rightfield line putting runners at second and third. Bammann induced a pop out for the second out and struck out Nick Leggio with a 2-2 fastball to end the threat.

"This feels great for everyone," Canobbio said. "We share this achievement with our team, our school and our community."

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