Oceanside preps for playoff grind


For the past decade, few baseball programs can tout success on the diamond like they can at Oceanside. The Sailors are winners of three consecutive league titles, have had countless players perform at the collegiate level, and are always among the teams to beat in Nassau Class AA come playoff time.

The Sailors have advanced to the finals multiple times during this period, but haven’t been able to capture a county championship since winning three in five years early in the 2000s. Could this be the year that the Sailors prevail?

If early results are a harbinger, Oceanside will again be in the hunt. The Sailors could not have had a better beginning to their conference schedule. They swept a talented Farmingdale nine and saw their starting pitchers toss a one-hitter and a no-hitter on consecutive days. In the latter of the two, Noah Eisel struck out 11 batters to lead the Sailors to a 10-0 road win.

Oceanside (7-2 overall, 5-1 in Conference AA-1) is taking things inning by inning. “I like the way things got started, but the important thing is to be playing our best baseball in the postseason,” coach Mike Postilio said. “We’re going to put guys in challenging situations so they’re ready for anything. We need to find out who will be able to move a runner up, put down a bunt, or grind out an AB. We want every player to be prepared.”

In the opener of the three-game set with the Dalers, the matchup between Jake Reyer and Farmingdale’s Justin Rosner, one of Long Island’s premier hurlers, was as good as it gets. The Sailors scored the go-ahead run in the fifth and Reyer shut the door to give the home team a 2-1 win. He struck out eight and didn’t allow an earned run, setting the stage for Eisel’s gem the following afternoon.

“Noah had command of all three of his pitches, Postilio said of Eisel. “He just had great rhythm and a terrific feel for things. He was getting ahead all game long, and they were being aggressive and chasing.”

In game three, the Sailors trailed by three runs going to the bottom of the seventh, but scored four times in the frame for a 9-8 win. Austin Vlahakis singled to bring home the winning run. Leo Alvarez was 4-for-4 with three RBI. Senior Frank Trotta had three hits.

As expected, Jake Lazzaro and Chris Siklas have been stellar. Each had three hits in the middle game of the Farmingdale series. Siklas has been an extra-base hit machine. Five seniors, Lazzaro, Siklas, Eisel, Vlahakis, and Alvarez, have played in every game for the past three seasons.

“Our seniors have been through the battles, but we need to see how deep we are,” Postilio said. “If that means we lose some regular-season games to get ready for the playoffs, it’s going to be worth it.”

The Sailors open up a three-game series with rival Massapequa at home on Monday at 4:30 p.m.