Stony Brook School pitcher Johan Franco throws during the NYSAIS...

Stony Brook School pitcher Johan Franco throws during the NYSAIS baseball state championship against Poly Prep, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, in Tarrytown. Credit: Corey Sipkin

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- The Stony Brook School’s first trip to the state private school baseball championship game ended with a bad case of sunburn.

Poly Prep High School from Brooklyn got a pair of hits in a three-run third inning rally when Bears outfielders lost routine fly balls in the sun and the Blue Devils went on to a 6-2 victory in the New York State Association of Independent School title game at Hackley’s Ron Del Moro Memorial Field.

“It's not good enough to be honest – we came here to win,” Bears first-year coach Jon Brewer said. “We didn’t get the job done. . . . We just want to be the best version of ourselves and, - the scoreboard is what it is – I don’t feel like we were that today.”

Poly (23-4) is NYSAIS champ for the eighth time in 10 seasons and 11th time overall.

The Stony Brook School (17-5-1) is seeking to build a recognized private school power – akin to what Long Island Lutheran built in boys and girls basketball – and this trip to the NYSAIS championship game with a team that has no senior starters represents a major step. The last state tournament was held in 2019 when the Bears lost to Poly Prep in a quarterfinal (the last two were canceled because of  the coronavirus pandemic).

“Losing is the worst,” New Hyde Park product Tyler Jones said. “We try to work harder than anyone else and to get to the final and to lose is as disappointing as it gets.”

Starter Johan Franco worked 4 2/3 innings for Stony Brook and used a curveball with a huge 12-to-6 break to record seven strikeouts and had a run-scoring single. Jones had two of the Bears’ four hits and scored a run.

The sun wasn’t the only thing that burned Stony Brook. Bears pitchers played with fire all game by issuing 11 walks, three of them intentional passes, and hitting a batter.

“We didn’t want certain hitters of theirs to beat us and that was part of the number of walks,” Brewer said. “The errors we made were committed by freshmen and sophomores and its something we need to work on.”

Poly’s Devan Kodali reached on a sun-aided single and scored on a sun-aided double for the first run of the game.

“It’s tough when the ball goes right into the center of the sun,” outfielder Sebastian Perez said, “but tough as it is, it’s still unacceptable.”

The Devils pushed their lead to 6-1 in a three-run fifth inning that included a run-scoring double by Malachi Costello. The Bears scored a run in the sixth on Franco’s single and got the tying run to the plate but Poly righty Matt Queen got a bases-loaded strikeout.

“Next season for us holds a lot,” Franco said. “We really beat the odds as a young team to get here but we have to make the last step.”

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