East Meadow sweeps Baldwin

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Strong pitching and capitalizing on errors defined East Meadow’s 5-2 win over host Baldwin that completed a three-game sweep of their Conference AA2 baseball rival on April 18.

The Jets went up 3-0 after Matt Fried and Eric Bernstein drew walks to start the seventh inning and Dylan McDonnell bunted and beat an errant throw to first base that scored pinch runner Anthony Rigolli from second base.

Three batters later, with runners on first and second, starting pitcher Sean Kennedy grounded to third where another poorly thrown ball added two more runs to East Meadow’s lead.  

Baldwin flirted with a rally in the bottom of the inning after Michael Paray smacked a triple to left field and scored the Bruins’ first run when Jimmy Manzella hit a grounder to first but beat the toss to Kennedy.

With two outs, Kennedy apparently ended the game with his seventh strikeout on a whiff by Ryan Martin but the ball passed catcher Dylan Pohl and Martin reached first safely, sending Manzella to third. Anderson Moreno muscled a two-run single through the left-center gap, after which starting pitcher John Strategakos grounded into the final out.

Game three began as a pitchers’ dual with Kennedy collecting five strikeouts over the first three innings; Strategakos generated three Ks over innings one and two, while both pitched complete games.

“Sean pounded the strike zone today,” East Meadow coach John Marciante said. “He got a little bit tired at the end but he battled, escaped and did a great job.”

Baldwin squandered scoring opportunities when Paray flew out to center with two outs and men on second and third in the fourth, and Nick Scarduzio popped out in the same scenario in the sixth.

In the fourth, Strategakos hit back-to-back batters, after which Marciante called a double steal that led to errant throws sending Tyler Patterson home from second base for the game’s first run.

The Jets tacked on their second run when Fried walked to start the fifth, advanced to second on a Bernstein bunt and scored after Danny Majkowski, who went 2-for-3, hit a bloop single to right field.

“The game came down to our mistakes,” Baldwin coach Frank Esposito said. “Two hit batters. There’s their first run. Two errors in the seventh inning. Theirs three more runs right there. All mistakes.”

In game one, starter Charlie Cucchiara struck out 14 Bruins and walked one en route to a complete game four-hitter and 6-1 win. Cucchiara went 3-for-3 with two doubles and five RBIs; Kennedy had two hits and scored two runs. The Bruins returned home for game two and scored three runs in the first. The Jets tied the game at three in the third and went on to win 6-4. Bernstein generated three of the team’s five hits, while Fried earned the win with six strikeouts, six hits, three walks and one earned run over six innings.  

The Jets stand atop the conference at 6-0 and 9-0 overall.

“We try to talk constantly about the next game being the most important and just take it one day at a time,” Marciante said. “So far so good; they’re doing a great job.”