Ryan Wallstedt was near flawless for East Meadow over the first six innings. But that success was almost erased in the seventh inning of the Jets’ playoff victory over Massapequa on Saturday.
“I lost it for a few batters there but I found it toward the end and I don’t know what to say,” Wallstedt said. “It’s just a speechless inning. I gave up a few runs but was able to get the win.”
Wallstedt retired the first batter before allowing four runs as five of the next six Massapequa batters reached base as the Chiefs pulled the game to within a run. But Wallstedt remained composed and let out a huge yell in relief after getting the final batter to ground out in East Meadow’s 6-5 victory in Game 1 of a best-of-three Nassau AA baseball championship yesterday at Farmingdale State College. Game 2 is Monday at 11 a.m. at Farmingdale College.
“That’s everyday baseball for East Meadow,” said coach John Marciante after the Jets moved to 5-0 in the postseason on their third one-run decision. “Everything’s a one-run game, whether we’re up a lot or down a lot, it ends up one run it seems like.”
East Meadow (20-4) was held in check the first time through the order as Massapequa’s Paul Sirakowski retired the first nine batters in order. The Jets’ offense came alive with a four-run fourth inning, highlighted by Joe Minucci’s two-run triple that one-hopped the right-centerfield fence.
“The kid wasn’t making any mistakes,” Minucci said about Sirakowski, “so I said ‘I’m going to capitalize on his first mistake.’He threw me a pitch right down the middle and I capitalized.”
Minucci’s triple to drive in Joe Gangi and Frank Ippolito gave East Meadow a 2-0 advantage. Sal D’Onofrio followed on the following pitch with an RBI single to drive in Minucci to take a 3-0 lead and Matt Mascia brought in D’Onofrio with a single for the fourth run.
“That one inning hitting just took off and that’s it,” Mascia said. “Ryan’s pitching just held great.”
Wallstedt, a crafty left-hander who throws mostly curveballs and changeups, tossed a complete game, allowing seven hits, one walk and one run in the first six innings before his near disastrous seventh inning. Justin Schirmacher’s two-out, two-run double to drive in Luke O’Mahony and Brandon Fanizza pulled the game to 6-5.
“I wanted him to finish it and we were giving him that one more batter,” Marciante said. … “He just pitches really big games all the time since he’s little and he’s the guy we’ve had out there since Day One and we’re sticking with it and it’s worked pretty well.”
After coming through with the bat yesterday, Minucci hopes to finish the series with him arm on the mound Monday.
“I’m ready to go,” Minucci said. “I can’t wait. After watching (Wallstedt’s) performance I got to see how some of them hit, what to throw to them so I’m ready to go.”