For most of Long Island’s high school players, the condensed season of 2021 offered the first opportunity to play varsity baseball.
The canceled spring of 2020 left the junior class without a real recruitment season. And when you play in a program such as Massapequa's, one in which underclassmen rarely move up, you relish the chance to perform as a senior.
No hitter has embraced this spring like Vin Mallon. He launched a Long Island leading 11th home run in a five-run third inning Saturday as Massapequa jumped to a 10-run lead en route to a 17-7 win over Syosset in a Nassau Conference I baseball game.
Mallon’s three-run blast was part of a 3-for-4, four-RBI morning for the senior third baseman, who was the designated hitter Saturday.
"We watched him in our tryouts, and he just mashed," said Massapequa coach Tom Sheedy. "He’s fun to watch because he flat out hits with power to all fields. He’s one of those guys that can roll out of bed and just mash." Massapequa, the defending Long Island Class AA champion in 2019, is loaded with hitters throughout the lineup. Mallon leads the way with 29 RBIs and a .608 average.
Massapequa is in first place with a 12-2 record with two games to play. Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK and Syosset are both 11-3. Oceanside upset Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, 4-1, on Saturday.
"Vin didn’t play varsity as a sophomore because we were loaded with Division I college players like Johnny Castagnozzi, Bobby Honeyman and Wade Kelly," Sheedy said. "And we didn’t play last year. He’s a perfect example of a player who continued to work hard and improve and is emerging as one of the better players around."
Lefthanded starter Liam Carroll improved to 4-0 with three innings of three-hit ball, two-run ball. He struck out six but was removed after Massapequa opened a 14-2 fourth inning lead.
"Once we had the big lead, I knew they’d pull me out and give other guys some work," Carroll said. "I was fine with it. Save the arm for the bigger games. Syosset had a few good swings on me in the third, but I battled through it."
Massapequa got big contributions from leadoff man Jordan DeStefano, who went 2-for-2 with three runs scored, John Reece who had two hits, was hit by a pitch and drove in two runs and freshman Paul Dulanto, who added two hits and an RBI.
"We are hitting well top to bottom in the lineup," said Mallon, who will attend UNC Pembroke. "I’m personally seeing the ball very well. I look for the fastball and adjust for the curveball. I’m trying not to think too much."
Sheedy said he enjoys watching a pure hitter like Mallon.
"His home runs go out all over the park," Sheedy said. "He uses the entire field and he’s not a dead pull hitter."