Massapequa Coast one win from the Little League World Series

Massapequa Coast one win from the Little League World Series

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In a promising season for New York baseball, even the kids are getting closer to the World Series.

11 and 12 year old boys from Massapequa Coast Little League continue. Magical summer 7-5 over Connecticut Fairfield American on Monday in Bristol, Conn. to advance to the Metro Region Championship.

Fairfield and Toms River East will play Wednesday night in the semifinals, and the winner will advance to Williamsport to take on the Nassau County team Friday night.

It took more than five hours to squeeze into six innings in a game that included two rain delays, but Massapequa, which won its first state championship in the league’s 72-year history, weathered the weather. Head coach Roland Clark’s team is one win away from the Little League World Series.

“It was an emotionally draining and physically exhausting day,” Clarke said by phone after a three-and-a-half-hour game. “For the 12-year-olds in both groups, how each group responded and what they experienced…it was amazing.

Massapequa was out 12 to 9, not out. A two-run home run from Joey Leonetti gave Massapequa their first lead of the first inning as their gloves caught every ball that hit them.

Massapequa didn’t make a mistake and made several diving plays as well as fundamentally sound plays.

“We’re not the biggest team,” Clark said. “We may not have a lot of pitchers, but we have 11 guys that can play any position, and defense is something that my coaches and I have been talking about with these kids for a long time.”

In the third inning, Fairfield had runners on the corners and tried to get in a race between first and second to score the runner on third. Catcher Ryan Huxluth, shortstop Christian Bequier and third baseman Michael Clarke perfected the classic Little League game.

In the fifth inning, every Massapequa outfielder made a play to record the outs of the frame, including spectacular dives from right fielder Brendan Hanley, who picked up an extra-base hit and left fielder Lucas Minnini, who got inside before stretching out.

“The defense was outstanding from start to finish,” Clark said.

Fairfield scored four runs in the sixth inning to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Massapequa’s Bequier scored the game-ending run.

“Anyway, when I looked at the behavior of my players, I thought they were thinking they were going to lose,” Clarke said.

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