Mike Schwartz was brilliant on the mound, allowing only two hits, but his moment came at the plate.
The Bellmore JFK pitcher singled with one out in the bottom of the seventh, and Greg Goeller brought him home two batters later with a line single to shallow rightfield that lifted his 11th-seeded team to a 1-0 walk-off win over No. 7 Wantagh Tuesday at Farmingdale State. The win tied the best-of-three Nassau A finals at one game apiece. Game three will be played at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
“It was huge, especially losing to them the other day in another close game,” Schwartz said, referring to a Game 1 loss. He added that his team showed resiliency against a strong pitching performance by Bobby Hegarty, who allowed only one hit through the first three innings.
“There were basically no hits during the game today,” Schwartz said. “It’s a little frustrating knowing I’m pitching well and we don’t have the lead, but knowing my teammates, I knew we would win eventually.”
But that outcome wasn’t always apparent.
Wantagh (21-5) had runners on first and third with no outs in the top of the seventh after Joe Murphy bunted up the right side and the throw to first went high. George Savas, who replaced Schwartz in the seventh inning, kept the game scoreless when he got John Fitzgerald to fly out to end the inning with the bases loaded.
Bellmore JFK (18-9-1) also had a chance to take the lead when Reid Oreste stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth, but his hard-hit ball was stopped by third baseman Jimmy Joyce, who dove to his left and threw to first to end the inning.
“I think the win was an amazing win,” Bellmore JFK coach Eric Passman said. “Two great teams battling it out; we just got one more run than they did. They had their opportunity in the top of the seventh. It was touch-and-go there, but that’s baseball. Pressure changes everything.”
Added Goeller: “It was a team effort. It feels great as a senior and we’re here to do business.”