BINGHAMTON — Exactly 3 1/2 hours after the scheduled start time of the second state Class AAA baseball semifinal Friday night, Commack and Section V champion Fairport finally took the field.

Commack, in search of its first state title, scored first, but it would be an uphill battle from there. Senior ace and program cornerstone Evan Kay struggled to get in a groove in his two innings, and the Cougars trailed by four runs after two innings and by seven after five in an eventual 9-5 loss that ended early Saturday morning at Mirabito Stadium.

Commack (18-9) ended its season in Binghamton for the second straight year after losing to Roy C. Ketcham in the 2023 state final. The Cougars have won four straight Suffolk titles and three Long Island crowns in the last four seasons.

“They have so much to be proud of, man,” Commack coach Matt Salmon said. “Getting off Long Island in the AAA division is not easy; I mean, it’s a struggle. Even getting out of Suffolk County is a struggle. I reminded them that they’re all Suffolk County champions. Some of them are back-to-back, some of them are back-to-back-to-back. Some of them are back-to-back Long Island champions, some of them won it for the first time.

“I just reminded them how proud they should be of themselves and the friendships they’ve made along the way, and how important that is.”

Friday’s long layoff was caused by multiple weather delays. The first Class AAA semifinal between Shenendehowa and Ketcham started right before 6 p.m., nearly two hours after its scheduled 4 p.m. start. Ketcham won, 4-3, in 10 innings at 8:52 p.m. to set up a scheduled 9:45 p.m. start for Commack, but another rain delay pushed it to a 10:30 p.m. official start.

Fairport (20-4) and Ketcham will meet in the state championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday at Binghamton University.

Ryan Krzemienski tripled with one out in the top of the first inning and scored on Dean Vincent’s sacrifice fly to leftfield to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

Kay, the owner of a Long Island-record streak of 60 consecutive scoreless innings, threw 34 pitches and allowed a two-run single by Will Stanek in the first inning. He threw 19 second-inning pitches, surrendering a three-run  triple by Fairport pitcher Sam Miller that gave the Red Raiders a 5-1 lead.

Kay wound up allowing five earned runs and five hits in two innings, walking two and hitting a batter. He struck out three and threw 53 pitches.

 “In three years, he’s never struggled with his command, but he’s a human being,” Salmon said. “He’s an 18-year-old kid who is going to be a phenomenal talent. He already is a phenomenal talent.”

Kay will play collegiately at Stony Brook.

“All three of my years here, no matter who’s on the team, they’re a brother to me and forever will be,” an emotional Kay said. “If I ever need anything, if they ever need anything — we’re always there for each other . . .  The constant bonding with them every day, that’s just what’s gonna stick with me the most.”

Stanek’s second RBI single and Pat Lindquist’s RBI double gave Fairport a 7-1 fourth-inning lead, and Sam Roselli’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly made it 8-1.

Commack threatened in the sixth, batting around. Max Horowitz’s RBI groundout and Brady Cascone’s RBI single brought the Cougars within  8-3, and two more runs scored when Ryan Bush reached on an infield error.

Miller allowed five hits and five runs (three earned) in 5 ⅔ innings. Roselli relieved him with men on first and second in the sixth, picked up a strikeout and pitched a perfect seventh  for the save.

Said Kay: “Obviously, tonight didn’t go our way, but this team is special.”


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