Connor Quinn of Wheatley reacts after his team's 3-1 win over...

Connor Quinn of Wheatley reacts after his team's 3-1 win over Babylon in the Long Island Class B baseball final at Farmingdale State College on Thursday, May 30, 2024. Credit: James Escher

If Wheatley strikes first with senior ace Connor Quinn on the mound, Wildcats coach Dave Burke knows it will be a tall task for the opposition to come back. Quinn gleams with the same confidence.

Said Quinn: “I try telling them, ‘Get me two, three runs and I’ll try my best to keep it like that, shutout.’ ”

Wheatley’s offense did its job against Babylon on Thursday, putting up three third-inning runs. The righty Quinn held his end of the bargain too, hurling a two-hitter with eight strikeouts, one walk and two hit batsmen. Quinn worked with tremendous poise and retired the final six batters as Wheatley won, 3-1, in the Long Island Class B baseball title game at Farmingdale State.

“He’s a kid that has the nerves of steel,” Burke said. “He wants the ball. He wants it in big moments, and he comes through in big moments. It was easy for me to just sit there, and I knew that he would be able to throw the pitches when he needed to make the pitches. Even if he did get into any trouble, he has a way of figuring it out and just getting the job done.”

“I try not to look at the scoreboard or the pitch count or the stats or anything,” Quinn said. “I try to do my thing and take deep breaths and focus on getting fastballs early, strikes, command and get ahead of hitters.”

Wheatley (19-5) claimed its fifth Long Island crown and first since 2021. Three wins away from the program's first state title, the Wildcats play Section IX winner Spackenkill in the Southeast Regional final at Cantine Field in Saugerties on Saturday. The winner advances to the state semifinals on June  7.

Babylon starting pitcher Aidan Kistner, who threw a complete game against Port Jefferson last Thursday to win the county title, lasted just 1 ⅔ innings against Wheatley because of an arm injury. 

Wheatley almost broke through in the second inning, but Noah Fiorillo was caught stealing home on Kistner’s last pitch.

Casey Quinn, Connor’s brother, hit an infield single to start the third inning. He reached third after a two-base error on the throw to first, then scored on a balk for a 1-0 lead. Daniel Gillette added an RBI single to plate Connor Quinn, and Anthony Saulino hit a sac fly to left to score Andrew Asaro.

In the sixth inning, Gio Rodriguez hit a sac fly to center to drive in John Harkins for the Panthers’ only run. Gavin McDonnell pitched three scoreless relief innings to keep Babylon alive heading into the seventh.

Babylon (15-9), last year’s Long Island Class B winner, ends its season as back-to-back county champions.

“We graduated seven of nine starters, five out of six pitchers [from last year], and these guys as underclassmen came ready to work in December,” Babylon coach Michael Birnbaum said. “We fell a little short, but you can’t take away the Suffolk County championship from them.”

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