Matthew Homan of Massapequa stands ready at the plate during...

Matthew Homan of Massapequa stands ready at the plate during a Nassau baseball game against Farmingdale on Tuesday, April 29, 2024 in Farmingdale. Credit: Dawn McCormick

As he moved from the on-deck circle toward home plate, Matt Homan gazed down toward the third base coaching box and coach Tom Sheedy anticipating a move. By the last day of April, Massapequa baseball players know their roles and the senior’s is being an exceptional and smart outfielder. For big moments in the batter’s box, Sheedy has often gone for a pinch-hitter – sometimes twice in a game, as high school rules allow.

Massapequa and host Farmingdale were tied in the sixth inning of their critical Nassau AAA-1 game with two out and two runners in scoring position. It was nothing short of a high-stakes moment.

“I saw him take a step toward me and then he did a double-take – he let me hit,” Homan said of Sheedy. “I knew I had to do something. I couldn’t let the moment go by.”

Homan planted a two-run single onto the grass in short left field off Dalers ace Jordan Welch to put ’Pequa ahead by two runs and put it on course for Tuesday’s 5-2 victory. Paul Dulanto hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and Tom Harding pitched two innings of scoreless relief for a save behind ace George Adams to take Massapequa (12-3, 10-3) across the finish line.

“I had a great pinch hitter to go to, but I figured they’d walk him with first base open,” Sheedy said, referring to Jason Romance, who often starts and bats cleanup, “Homan is a senior, we needed him to come through and he did it.”

Massapequa’s victory puts it in position to garner the top postseason seeding in Nassau AAA, where it seems like the best four or five teams are only degrees apart. It’s won the first two in the three-game regular season series with Farmingdale (10-4-1, 9-3-1) and owns wins over the top two AAA-2 teams, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK and Port Washington. The playoffs start the week after next.

“We’re the team to beat now because we find ways to win,” Harding said.

This is a different version of Massapequa than the perennial powerhouse most think of. The pitching and defense are there as always but, as Sheedy explained, “every run we get we have to work for – there are a lot of teams in the county playing at the same level and we’ve just been one run better than them.”

“We grind and earn everything we get,” Homan said.

Farmingdale led 1-0 on an Ive (CQ) Mills run-scoring single in the second. Massapequa knotted the score on another pinch-hit, a two-out run-scoring single by Ryan Downey in the fourth inning. Downey was late fouling off the first two pitches from Welch and then singled to left. Vincenzo Della Porta slid home just ahead of the tag.

“I’ve pinch-hit a lot and it was hard at first,” Downey said. “Now I know to stay ready. I was swinging a bat before (Sheedy) put me in.”

Adams, the Stony Brook commit, had allowed one run and struck out five through five innings. He gave up a leadoff homer in the sixth to Welch that made it 3-2 and a single to Angel Cartagena before Harding was summoned to get the last six outs. Four came on strikeouts.

“He did a good job finishing,” Adams said. “We make for a good 1-2 punch.”


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