Jack Tate, Wantagh pitcher, delivers to the plate in the...

Jack Tate, Wantagh pitcher, delivers to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning of a Nassau Conference AA crossover baseball game against host Garden City on Monday. Credit: James Escher

Jack Tate was not going to be denied. He stood in against Garden City ace Gabe Beschloss, fouled off pitch after pitch and worked the count full.

At the time, Wantagh trailed by a run and Beschloss had struck out 10 in four-plus innings. With two outs and runners on second and third in the fifth, Tate delivered a two-out, two-run single to the opposite field to ignite a five-run rally in Wantagh’s 8-4 win in a Class A non-league baseball game at Garden City. The line drive came on a 3-and-2 slider after Tate fouled off three tough pitches.

“It was a good battle and he was consistently in the zone,” Tate said. “I just kept getting a piece of every pitch. But I hit the last one well.”

Tate also struck out nine in five innings of three-hit ball to earn the win. He walked one and allowed a run in the third inning on Evan Cabral’s run-scoring double. He allowed another run in the sixth.

Perhaps the pivotal point in the game came in the second inning. Garden City loaded the bases and Tate fell behind in the count 3-and-0 to leadoff man Jack Fanning. Tate battled back, striking out Fanning looking to end the threat.

“No moment is too big for Tate,” Wantagh coach Keith Sachs said. “He’s a three-sport athlete that can handle the pressure. He’s been in the Nassau football championship, basketball playoffs and has pitched in big games on the mound. He struck out one of Nassau’s best hitters in the biggest spot.”

The Wantagh rally started with two outs and nobody on. Wantagh’s leadoff batter A.J. Bardi lined a single to rightfield and promptly stole second and third. Tom Wunderlich then walked and stole second before Tate’s hit gave Wantagh a 2-1 lead. Paul Fontana was then hit by a pitch and an infield error allowed Tate to score. Beschloss was removed and Lou DeLuca greeted Xander Palmer with a two-run single to make it 5-1.

“We needed a big hit because Beschloss was dominating,” Sachs said. “He was making us swing and miss quite a bit. That two-out hit took the air out of them and turned into a big inning for us.”

Beschloss, who struck out the side in the first, second and fourth innings, was disappointed with the final result.

“They have a good team and were aggressive up at the plate,” Beschloss said. “We’ll learn from the loss.”

Wantagh (2-0) added to its lead when Bardi drilled a solo home run to centerfield in the sixth. Shane Russo added a two-out, two-run single in the seventh to make it 8-2.

Garden City (0-1) showed some late life with two runs in the seventh. Fanning doubled and scored on a one-out single by Cabral, who later scored on a Matt Liberopoulos single to cut the deficit to 8-4.

“We’ll take the win,” Sachs said, “and build off it.”

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