Alex Larson #21, Syosset pitcher, reacts after his team's 8-3...

Alex Larson #21, Syosset pitcher, reacts after his team's 8-3 victory over host Farmingdale High School in Game 1 of the best-of-three Nassau County Class AA quarterfinals on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.  Credit: James Escher

Syosset starting pitcher Alex Larson had nine days to ponder the results of his final regular-season outing, which he remained unpleased with entering Wednesday afternoon.

So when he took the mound in a rematch against Farmingdale while facing far higher stakes, he was determined to will his team to victory this time around.

Larson gave them exactly the effort they needed, allowing just three runs in a complete game and sparking No. 5 Syosset in Game 1 of the Nassau Class AA baseball quarterfinals at No. 4 Farmingdale, 8-3.

“That was a tough loss last week,” Larson said. “I had to work around a couple of jams, but they ended up coming up with the one. And I really brought that into this week. I wasn’t going to let that happen again. I came into this game confident, knowing that I was going to shut them down.”

Syosset coach Tom Morritt commended Larson for his rebound performance – particularly with a greater sense of pressure at play.

“They’re a really good team,” Morritt said. “So you don’t expect great type of performances like this every week. You hope for them, but Alex has shown this before and he works so hard at his craft. We know that’s inside of him, and these are the big moments. He stepped up and performed when we needed him to.”

An RBI single from Marco Clara extended Syosset’s early lead to 4-1 in the fourth before Farmingdale (13-5) scored a run in the bottom half of the inning.

Syosset (9-9) tacked on two more runs in the fifth with back-to-back RBI singles from Alex Rubin and Jacob Lee, stretching its advantage to 6-2. Larson found himself facing jams in the fifth and sixth as well, but allowed just one run despite the scoring threats.

Clara then launched a two-run double off the base of the wall in left-center in the seventh, pushing Syosset ahead 8-3.

“First pitch fastball, just wanted to hit it hard,” Clara said. “I got a little under it, but I’ll take the result.”

Larson, who said his sharp slider was the key to his success from the second inning on, proceeded to retire the side in order to clinch Game 1. The series now shifts to Syosset for Game 2 on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Clara said taking the opener was crucial for Syosset with their ace towing the rubber on the road.

“This is one win, but we have to win tomorrow too,” Clara said. “That’s the main goal. This isn’t over yet. It was very important for us to win this with our ace on the mound.”

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