Massapequa’s Luke O’Mahoney drilled a seventh-inning line drive to centerfield that looked like a game-winner. But Commack centerfielder Tim McHugh got a great jump on the low liner as the ball carried toward him.
McHugh dived headlong in an attempt to make a game-saving catch, but the ball landed just out of the sophomore’s reach. Mike Cottone raced home from second base to break a tie at 4 and send Massapequa to an 8-4 win over Commack on Saturday night in the Long Island Class AA baseball championship game at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.
Cottone led off the top of the seventh with a hard single to rightfield and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Primm to set up O’Mahoney’s go-ahead hit.
“It was a 2-1 curveball and I hit it well, but I saw the centerfielder break hard on it and I was terrified that he was going to make a great catch,” O’Mahoney said. “What a great feeling winning the title.”
Massapequa (22-6) tacked on three more runs, including Nick Fossari’s two-run single. The Chiefs advanced to the state Class AA semifinals at Maine-Endwell High School on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s good to be back,” Massapequa coach Tom Sheedy said. “We’ve lost some tough games in the Long Island championships. But this team had a resolve and we would always come back. Cottone had a rough game and then he led off the seventh inning with the big hit to get us going.”
Massapequa won four straight Long Island Class AA titles from 2006-09 but was denied in recent years in heartbreaking fashion, losing 1-0 to Ward Melville and 2-1 to West Islip.
Nick Collins, whose brother Chris was part of the 2009 championship team, threw three innings of one-run relief for the win. The junior lefty struck out five. “He came back to the program this year,” Sheedy said. “We had him in camp as a 5-year-old and then we didn’t see him again until this year.”
“It’s an amazing feeling to win with these guys,” O’Mahoney said. “Commack kept battling back and we just wouldn’t give in.”
Massapequa took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Freshman Johnny Castagnozzi reached on a forceout and moved to second on a two-out walk to Matt Pinto. Nick Fossari followed with an RBI single.
Commack (22-4) answered in the bottom of the inning. McHugh launched a leadoff double off the 353-foot sign, and with one out, Cole Sass lifted a high pop to center that fell for a run-scoring single to tie the score at 1.
Massapequa scored three times in the third to take a 4-1 lead. Mike Moreno drilled a run-scoring double and Castagnozzi added an RBI single.
Commack rallied for three runs in the fifth to tie the score at 4. Jake Krzemienski lined a two-out, bases-loaded single into the leftfield gap, and when the ball was misplayed, all three runners scored.
“They’ll remember the last inning for the rest of their lives,” Sheedy said. “Cottone and O’Mahoney will be remembered for what they did in that final inning that brought home the win.”