BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — In the moments after Massapequa lost to Liverpool, 4-1, in the state Class AA baseball final Saturday morning, Chris Wasson was reluctant to move on.
Getting so close to winning the second title in program history but falling short hurt, especially for Wasson and his senior classmates. That deep, talented group will never return to this stage as players.
“We were one game from winning the state championship,” the shortstop said. “Obviously that stings, but when it sinks in and we realize what we’ve done I think we’ll look back on this and say it was a hell of a ride.”
The Chiefs went 23-7. They won the program’s seventh Long Island championship, and they advanced to the final day of the season for the first time since 2008. As a reward, they got to play at NYSEG Stadium — the home of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, the Mets’ Double-A affiliate.
“It was just an incredible season,” senior first baseman Luke O’Mahony said. “Guys up and down the lineup, we were just tough to get out. I loved each and every one of these guys to death and I’d do anything for them, but I guess we just ran out of magic.”
The signs of that expiring magic appeared immediately. Liverpool’s Joe Zywicki reached on a two-base error leading off the game. The next batter, Jonah Harder, doubled to the warning track in left-center for a 1-0 lead.
The Chiefs allowed another unearned run in the second inning, putting starter Nick Collins in a 2-0 hole.
“Not being able to pick ourselves up after those errors was one of the main things, the issue,” O’Mahony said. “Other than that we played really well.”
After the second inning, the Chiefs limited damage in unfavorable situations, as they did in Friday’s 7-1 semifinal win over McQuaid Jesuit. Collins allowed just one run in the third after loading the bases with no outs, and Chris DeSousa relieved him with one out, two runners on and one run already allowed in the fifth but escaped further trouble with a foulout and a punch-out.
Even so, coach Tom Sheedy said, “The singles just start to add up and all of a sudden you look up and it’s 4-0 and you say wow now we’re down with three innings to go.”
The Chiefs finally broke through in the fifth, when Michael Moreno scored on a two-out error after leading off with a double. Other than that, they got just one hit against Nick Antonello. The senior righthander pitched to contact and relied on sound defense in an 81-pitch complete game.
“We just didn’t put enough pressure on him,” Sheedy said. “He’s a high-energy, high-tension guy. The [fifth] inning we did get a little pressure on him, you could see him start to change, his whole demeanor start to change. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do enough of it or often enough.”
The Chiefs, who graduate 13 seniors, will bring back a solid core in 2018, led by Collins, Moreno, Andrew Primm and John Castagnozzi.
“We’ll reload,” Sheedy said. “We have plenty of players in our program that are ready to come back and hopefully get to this stage again next year.”