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Just like old times for Ben Hamilton, Eric Amaya in Suffolk ‘B’ final

Center Moriches's Ben Hamilton #10 moves the ball

Center Moriches's Ben Hamilton #10 moves the ball up field while defended by Mattituck's Justin Lake #8 and Bryce Grathwol #24 during the class B finals at Islip High School Islip on Oct 28, 2017. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Center Moriches’ Eric Amaya and Ben Hamilton have played soccer together since they were 5-year-olds.

Amaya was a defender and Hamilton — now the leading scorer in boys soccer on Long Island — was (of all things) a goalkeeper. (Incidentally, Hamilton’s father was the coach.)

The positions they play has changed, but the Red Devils’ duo are closer than ever. Hamilton, who plays forward, took a feed from Amaya at midfield and scored the game’s first goal in the 13th minute to begin a five-goal, first-half barrage. Top-seeded Center Moriches was dominant and rolled to its second straight Suffolk Class B crown after a 6-0 win over No. 2 Mattituck at Islip on Saturday.

“There’s something to be said for continuity,” Center Moriches coach Chris O’Brien said, “and keeping kids together is a bigger focus of what we try to do as a program.”

Center Moriches (17-0) meets Nassau B champ Wheatley (11-1-4) at Diamond in the Pines in Coram at 2 p.m. Tuesday for the Long Island Class B championship. The Red Devils are the only remaining undefeated public school boys soccer team on Long Island.

“We keep talking about it: the big picture. The big picture,” O’Brien said. “Mattituck played hard, and we give credit to them, but we wanted to show that we are the better team and there’s a reason why we’ve now won 17 straight.”

The Red Devils were a little rushed in the opening minutes, but once Center Moriches settled down — beginning with Hamilton’s goal in the 13th minute — it was just a matter of time.

Hamilton had two goals and one assist, and Amaya added one goal and one assist. Liam Pulsipher, freshman Michael Luongo, and John DeBatto also scored. John Rocco added two assists, and goalkeeper Curtis Copenhaver made four saves for the shutout. James Jacobs was impressive with seven saves for Mattituck (6-12).

“It’s no problem for him to find me,” Hamilton said of Amaya. (Hamilton now leads Long Island with 36 goals and 53 points.) “We don’t even have to look for each other.”

Amaya added: “Ben is a hard worker for all 80 minutes. He doesn’t stop and he finishes everything. He’s just the golden child.”

This could very well be a golden season for Center Moriches according to those around the program. “It’s great to win Suffolk, and it’s an honor to win Suffolk,” O’Brien said. “But we realize it’s one step in what we want to accomplish. This is a special group.”

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