Erik Paulsen of Massapequa crosses home plate after his second...

Erik Paulsen of Massapequa crosses home plate after his second home run of the game during the Nassau Class AA baseball finals on Monday, May 29, 2023 at Farmingdale State College. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Erik Paulsen was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat. He used it as motivation.

“It was a breaking ball that got away,” he said. “I just couldn’t wait to get back in the box.”

Paulsen exacted revenge in his next at-bat in the third inning. Down 0-and-2 in the count, the Massapequa senior turned around Sebastian Lippman’s 88- mph fastball and launched it well over the right-centerfield fence for a two-run home run that keyed a four-run rally.

“It was a fastball down the middle and a little up,” said Paulsen, who also hit a solo homer later in the game. “We needed a big hit to grab the momentum and get back in the series.”

Massapequa went on to an 8-4 win over Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK in the second game of the best-of-three Nassau Class AA baseball finals Monday afternoon at Farmingdale State College.

Massapequa (21-4) forced a deciding Game 3 Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Farmingdale State.

Massapequa’s Michael Vilardi accelerated the momentum created by Paulsen’s blast with a home run to leftfield. Vilardi drove a 1-and-2 fastball off a light stanchion for a 4-0 lead.

Lippman exited after four innings. He allowed three hits and four earned runs and struck out 10.

Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK (20-7) made a push in the bottom of the fourth. The Hawks loaded the bases with none out on a walk, a single and a hit batsman. Sean Farrell singled to drive in Michael D’Ambrosio and cut the deficit to 4-1, but Massapequa starter George Adams struck out two batters and caught a line drive to end the threat.

Adams picked up the win with 5 1⁄3 innings of three-hit ball.

Paulsen hit his second homer of the game and third in two games for a 5-1 lead in the fifth.

Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK rallied for three runs in the sixth, keyed by Andrew Lenski’s two-out, two-run double, to cut the lead to 5-4.

Massapequa then scored three runs in the seventh. They loaded the bases before Pat Mannino drilled a two-run double to leftfield and Jack Cohen dropped a perfect squeeze bunt to drive in Joe Swinarski.

“Paulsen is one of the best hitters we’ve had in a long time,” Massapequa coach Tom Sheedy said. “And I expected us to come out and play well today, and we did.”

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