Tyler DeLucia doesn't really identify himself as a soccer player. Baseball, he said, is his "better sport."
You wouldn't have known that during Tuesday's game.
DeLucia made a game-saving stop when he ranged to his left and deflected the ball out of bounds on a shot from close range as time expired in the second overtime. The senior goalie's save preserved a 2-2 tie for host Half Hollow Hills West against North Babylon in League III.
"I actually feel kind of honored that I'm doing an interview after a soccer game," DeLucia said. "Baseball is my better sport, by far."
North Babylon (1-0-1) aggressively moved the ball during the final minute, but DeLucia said he wasn't nervous. That's because, he explained, he's used to being in pressure situations in baseball.
"Soccer is just a fun senior thing for me," said DeLucia, a middle infielder who added he has received interest from a few Division I colleges for baseball. "I always played keeper growing up. I never get nervous."
Jordan Stummer tied it at 2 for Hills West (0-1-1), when he cashed in during a scramble with 8:39 left in regulation.
"This says a lot about the resiliency of our team," Hills West coach Doug Gannon said. "For us, I'd call it a good tie."
The Bulldogs, however, were left unsatisfied.
"Anytime you don't get a win, you're disappointed," North Babylon forward Ryan Innes said. "But we can't have it affect us and we're not going to sulk about it."
Innes scored from 15 yards into an empty net to give North Babylon a 2-1 lead with 26 minutes left in regulation.
"After that," DeLucia said, "I knew I was going to have to take control of this game."
DeLucia pretty much did, and finished with 10 saves. North Babylon goalie Chris Rodrigues also played well, recording six saves.
"[DeLucia] is the reason this ended like it did," Innes said. "I give him a lot of credit."
Not bad for a baseball player.