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Massapequa's title hopes end in state semifinal

Massapequa's Bobby Conlon pitches against Shenendehowa during a

Massapequa's Bobby Conlon pitches against Shenendehowa during a state Class AA state baseball semifinal at Binghamton University on Friday, June 14, 2019.  Credit: Thomas La Barbera

BINGHAMTON, N.Y.— The Massapequa baseball team had met every challenge thrown at them this season. The Chiefs rolled to the Nassau and Long Island Class AA titles. They erased a fifth-inning, five-run deficit to come back for a stirring one-run win over Suffolk powerhouse Connetquot in the Long Island title game

However, the one challenge the defending state champions couldn’t solve came in the form of a soft throwing righthanded pitcher from Shenendehowa.

Brendan Disonell kept the Chiefs hitters completely off balance with a barrage of off-speed pitches and a curveball that continually found the corners in and around the plate. Disonell struck out 14 and allowed three hits as Shenendehowa eliminated Massapequa, 4-1, in a state Class AA semifinal at Binghamton University.

“He threw an effective game and had a rhythm that was intentionally quick to keep us off balance,” Massapequa coach Tim Sheedy said. “He kept finding that outside quadrant with his curveball and it’s the one thing that we don’t do well as an offense is hit the ball the other way. He had the right stuff and that was our one weakness.”

Shenendehowa (18-7) will meet McQuaid in the final 10 a.m. Saturday at Binghamton University. Massapequa finished its season at 22-5.

“We didn’t have the right approach against him,” Massapequa catcher Nick Schwartz said. “He wasn’t overpowering at all. We swung at so many bad pitches and got behind in counts. It’s still a great season just not the way we thought it would end.”

The teams battled through three scoreless innings. The combination of perfect execution by the Plainsmen offense and bad defense from Massapequa ignited a four-run fourth inning.

Shenendehowa’s Jake Reinisch singled up the middle on a 3-and-2 pitch to lead off the fourth. It was the first hit off Massapequa starter Bobby Conlon, who had dominated to that point. Ben Lavery walked and Thomas Krill blooped a single to left to score Reinisch for a 1-0 lead. Nick Lemire followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved the runners to second and third.

Sheedy came out and removed Conlon for righthander Chris Prystupa. The next batter, Disonell, somehow managed to bunt a pitch unintentionally thrown right at his face, to score Lavery. On the ensuing throwing error to first, Krill continued around third to score and make it 3-0. Evan Bean’s RBI groundout capped the four-run inning.

Massapequa attempted a rally in the fifth but came up empty. Wade Kelly lined a two-out double to the leftfield fence and Schwartz reached on a throwing error, putting runners at the corners. Travis Honeyman stepped in and after fouling off two pitches, struck out looking on an outside pitch, Disonell’s ninth strikeout of the game. Honeyman took exception to the call and after arguing vehemently with the plate umpire was ejected.

“We don’t lose our composure,” Sheedy said. “The strike zone was somewhat inconsistent, and [the ump] liked the higher curveball. But we can’t do that.”

The Chiefs scored a run with two outs in the sixth. Chris DeSousa struck out but reached on the catcher’s throwing error. He scored when Dan Sohn lifted a long fly ball to centerfield that was misplayed for an unearned run to make it 4-1.

Disonell struck out five of the final seven hitters, getting Schwartz for the third time to end it.

“His stuff was real good,” Sheedy said. “He was the difference.”

Shenendehowa 4........................Massapequa 1

WP — Disonell. LP — Conlon.

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