This is Tom Sheedy’s favorite time of the season. The longtime Massapequa coach who has led the Chiefs to two Class AA state championships relishes the postseason.
The defending state champions always seem to peak at just the right time for the playoffs.
Nick Schwartz’s two-run double keyed a six-run second inning and Massapequa went on to beat East Meadow, 8-4, to sweep the Nassau Class AA semifinal best-of-three series Saturday on the road. It was the 10th straight win for the Chiefs.
Most impressive about the six-run rally put together by the two-time defending Long Island Class AA champions was that it all came about with two outs.
“We’re a team that loves to compete and two-out rallies are special,” Sheedy said. “Our guys pull it all together at this time of year. We know what we have and who can fill what roles for the team to be successful. We’re playing really good baseball right now.”
And that’s dangerous for any teams in the Chiefs’ path.
Massapequa (19-4) will meet the winner of Monday’s Game 3 between Port Washington and Oceanside for the Class AA crown. Oceanside, which handed Massapequa its last loss this season, 7-6, in extra innings, forced a Game 3 by beating Port Washington on Saturday.
Massapequa’s Wade Kelly opened the two-out scoring with an RBI single before Schwartz followed with a long two-run double to the gap in left-centerfield to make it 3-0. Travis Honeyman also added an RBI double and Dan Wolf hit an RBI single.
East Meadow starter Matt Fried was victimized by three errors in the inning and was tagged with six unearned runs.
“We put together a nice string of four hits and produced a big inning,” Sheedy said. “But the defense made a few mistakes and that hurt them.”
Massapequa scratched across a run in the fourth to make it 7-0.
East Meadow got on the board when Tyler Patterson hit a one-out double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout to make it 7-1. The Chiefs added another run in the fifth on pinch hitter Tom Fasano’s run-scoring single for an 8-1 lead.
Massapequa senior starter Derek Haag tired in the sixth and the Jets scored three more runs. Haag went 5 1/3 innings and allowed four hits, four walks and struck out one. He improved to 5-0 but was chased by a Sean Kennedy RBI double and a Charlie Cucchiara two-out, run-scoring single to make it 8-4.
Haag got help from sophomore lefty Liam Carroll, who came on in relief and closed it out with a neat 1 2/3 innings for the Chiefs.
“It really is about the journey and to compete for a county championship,” Sheedy said. “And what happens along the way determines how and who we play in the postseason. There are many ways to get to that end. And we’re not sure who’s going to contribute and how, but that’s for us to figure out.”