Solid pitching and timely hitting is a recipe for success for any baseball team and Valley Stream North had both in spades on Monday as the Spartans cruised past Valley Stream South, 17-2, in the first round of the Nassau County Class A playoffs.
The Spartans took advantage of the friendly confines of South and hit five home runs, all of which sailed over the right or right-center filed fence. Senior Anthony Martelli led the way for North’s offense, going 4-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs. Senior pitcher Glen Carey allowed two runs over seven innings and struck out four batters while walking none en route to the victory. In four of his seven innings, Carey sat the Falcons down in order.
“I was just looking for a win,” Carey said. “It came out great; we hit, we pitched, we played the field, we did everything.”
Coach Phil Sanfilippo was happy with his pitcher’s performance. “He pitched fantastic,” he said of Carey. “We had a lot of confidence in him going in.
“We knew he’d get it done today,” he added.
North took the early lead in the first inning when senior James Capoziello manufactured a run by himself after walking, stealing two bases and drawing a throwing error. Once senior James Celeberti launched a solo homer to put the Spartans up 2-0 in the second, South responded quickly.
With two outs and nobody on, South senior Frank Vasquez singled and stole second. Fellow senior Joey Reichert popped a double in the right-center filed gap to score Vasquez and cut the margin to 2-1. Vasquez had two hits on the day.
Martelli grew the Spartans’ lead to 4-1 with a third inning homer. South starting pitcher, junior Andrew Labeck, threw five innings and struck out five. He retired the Spartans in order in the fourth, but surrendered a three-run homerun to Martelli in the fifth, which put North ahead 7-1.
“Our game plan coming in was to put the ball in play,” Sanfilippo said. “We knew that if we made contact, made [Labeck] work, get him out early, we can get to their relief.”
After the Falcons scored their second run on an RBI single by sophomore shortstop Marino Sabara in the bottom of the fifth, North put the game out of reach in the sixth. On five hits and two walks, the Spartans sent 10 batters to hit in the inning and plated seven runs. Seniors Brandon Salem, Martelli, Capoziello and Jeff Lantigua each had RBI hits in the frame.
In the seventh, senior Pio Bonfitto hit a solo shot to right. Celeberti was then hit by a pitch and senior RJ Davila came off the bench to hit a two-run pinch-hit homer to cap the Spartans’ scoring.
Carey retired the last six South batters in order and ended the game with a strikeout to advance the Spartans to the second round.