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Nick Collins’ pitching propels Massapequa to Nassau Class AA crown

Nick Collins, Massapequa pitcher, right, and catcher Andrew

Nick Collins, Massapequa pitcher, right, and catcher Andrew Primm celebrate after their team's 4-0 win over Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK in Game 3 of the Nassau Class AA baseball final at SUNY-Old Westbury on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. Credit: James Escher

Nick Collins began this season for Massapequa’s baseball team in the bullpen, but still, he thought he could be the pitcher to deliver a county championship.

After a short-term injury to Massapequa’s ace Daniel Gdanski in the middle of the season, Collins joined the rotation and never gave up his spot. He took the ball in Game 3 of the Nassau AA championship not allowing an earned run in two postseason starts and Tuesday night, he made that three starts.

Collins tossed a six-hitter with one walk, two hits batsmen and six strikeouts as No. 3 Massapequa defeated No. 1 Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, 4-0, to win the Nassau Class AA championship at SUNY-Old Westbury. It’s Massapequa’s first county championship since 2014, coach Tom Sheedy said.

“It’s just the greatest feeling in the world,” Collins said. “Last year, we lost to a really good East Meadow team in Game 3 and I wanted to come out here and make that different.”

Massapequa (21-6) struck first when Johnny Castagnozzi scored on a wild pitch in the second inning. Adam Mosca followed in the same at-bat with a two-run double to drive in Matt Pinto and Nick Fossari to take a 3-0 advantage.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play and hit it hard somewhere and hope that it fell in,” Mosca said. “It felt really good when it came off the bat and I was just really happy I could help the team out.”

Collins also had some help from his defense, including Fossari making a terrific read from second base in the third inning to cut down a Hawks (22-5) runner breaking to the plate for a double play to keep the score at 3-0 after the third

“Once I caught it, out of the corner of my eye I saw him going home and I thought I had a better chance at home,” Fossari said. “I just threw it as hard as I could and it was right there and we got him.”

The Chiefs added their final run on Andy Primm’s RBI single to drive in Chris Wasson in the seventh inning.

“That extra run in the top of the seventh was huge,” Sheedy said. “I think everybody relaxed then kind of felt ‘All right, now we’re going to finish this thing off.’”

Massapequa will play the winner of the Suffolk AA championship series between Commack and West Islip Saturday at St. Joseph’s College at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the state semifinals in Binghamton.

And as Collins pictured this moment for himself earlier in the season, his teammates were right there with him yesterday.

“He’s just been unreal this season,” Wasson said. “He’s surmounted any expectations we’ve had of him. He’s been awesome. We expected nothing less from him, a complete game shutout. It’s almost become the usual for him, which is scary.”

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