Members of the Massapequa Coast 12U baseball team head for...

Members of the Massapequa Coast 12U baseball team head for the Little League World Series Metro Region tournament in Bristol, Conn. Credit: Howard Schnapp

BRISTOL, Conn. — A year after advancing to the Little League World Series, Massapequa Coast’s attempt to return to Williamsport fell one win short.

Massapequa lost to Smithfield (Rhode Island), 7-1, in the Little League World Series Metro Regional championship game Friday night at Breen Field.

Massapequa faced a flame-throwing lefthander in Connor Curtis, who  struck out 14 in 5 2⁄3 innings, allowing three hits and a walk.

“He was a machine today,” Smithfield manager Eric Gibree said. “I’m comfortable in all of our pitchers in any spot, but he was lights out and there was no need to make a change until he hit 85 pitches.”

Massapequa found itself trailing by three runs after the top of the first inning.

Smithfield’s first three batters reached base on two singles and a walk, and Connor Queenan scored the first run of the game on a throwing error. It was Massapequa’s first error of the tournament.

Back-to-back RBI groundouts by Brady McShane and Mason Dionne gave Smithfield a 3-0 lead.

Brayden Castellone started a two-out rally in the third with a triple to rightfield and scored on a single by McShane, who scored on a bases-loaded walk by Franco Lema to give Smithfield a 5-0 lead.

Massapequa loaded the bases with none out in the bottom of the third as Tommy Tabone singled, James Steck walked and Andrew Cevallos was hit by a pitch. Tabone scored on a wild pitch, but Curtis picked up two strikeouts and got Ryan Land to line out to second.

“These kids are playing for the program and for the community at large,” said Craig Garland, the president of Massapequa Coast Little League. “It’s something that the town takes pride in and it’s something that they can reflect on in years to come on how they represented their town in such a prideful way.”

It was the end of a magical run for Massapequa, which won its second straight state championship and advanced to the regional championship game with 10-1 wins over Smithfield and East Hanover (New Jersey).

Said Garland, “Without the commitment of our players and our volunteer coaches that are working with these kids seven days a week, none of this is possible.”

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