Lynbrook and Valley Stream North both entered last week’s series undefeated against Nassau Conference A-IV baseball rivals, but neither came away from the three-game set unscathed.
“I don’t think anyone could expect to sweep a series like this and we’re happy to win two of three,” Lynbrook coach Al Marrazzo said after the Owls took the rubber game, 5-4, on April 13 on senior Nick Tuzzio’s run-scoring double in the top of the seventh. “It was a really fun series between two quality teams,” he added.
Senior Dom Sinopoli drew a one-out walk in the seventh and was in stride when Tuzzio found the gap for the game-winning RBI on a hit-and-run. The Owls led 4-0 after the top of the first courtesy of senior Paul Scibelli’s two-run single and run-scoring knocks by seniors Justin Baeyens and Tom Postiglione. The Spartans scored once in the third and three times in the fourth, including senior Anthony Collura’s game-tying two-run blast, and threatened to take the lead in the sixth but couldn’t cash in with runners on second and third and no outs.
“It was an exciting game,” North coach Phil Sanfilippo said. “It’s a tough loss that could hurt us down the road, but we still have a lot of baseball left. We feel we have the kind of pitching that gives us a chance every game.”
Baeyens, Lynbrook’s starting catcher, earned the win in relief after working out of the aforementioned jam in the sixth and allowing just one baserunner in the seventh. Junior Sean Sebazco cut down a runner at the plate in the sixth after fielding a hard grounder at second base. “The ball was hit right at him, but Sean still had to make a good throw home in a pressure situation,” Marrazzo said. “It was a huge play.”
The road team won each game in the series. The Owls (5-1), who swept Lawrence in a conference-opening series, had the bats going in a big way at North April 8 and pounded out a dozen hits on the way to a 13-2 win. Scibelli pitched a one-hit gem with seven strikeouts and the floodgates opened in the top of the fifth when Marrazzo called upon Shane Rivera to pinch hit with the bases loaded and the senior cracked a grand slam. Lynbrook’s hottest hitter in the early going, senior center fielder Tom Sullivan, went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, three RBIs and three runs.
Senior pitcher Jonathan Caluori gave the Spartans (3-2) exactly what they needed in the middle game of the series, firing 6 1/3 of shutout ball to lead a 3-0 win on April 12. He scattered five hits and struck out seven before being lifted with the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore Chris Manzi slammed the door on the Owls with strikeouts of their No. 2 and 3 batters.
“Caluori was tremendous and gave everything he had,” Sanfilippo said. “He got ahead of the hitters and never really got into any serious trouble.”
North scratched across single runs in the first, second and fifth innings. Caluori drove in the first with an infield groundout.