You know what they say about Cinderella…if the shoe fits, wear it.
In upsetting No. 2 seeded MacArthur, No. 8 East Meadow not only advanced to the semifinal round of the Nassau County Class AA baseball playoffs but also helped push longtime coach Ken Sicoli into some rare territory — he became just the seventh baseball coach on Long Island to top 500 career victories.
Win No. 501 came last Saturday, a 4-0 decision in the final game of the best-of-three quarterfinal series against the Generals, thanks in large part to the pitching of Brian Kavanagh. The junior dominated MacArthur’s lineup, inducing 11 groundball outs and seven strikeouts, barely needing the help of his outfielders who tracked down just two flyballs. Sophomore Marcus Kabigting capped the Jets’ three-run outburst in the sixth inning with a two-out, two-run single that finally gave Kavanagh some breathing room. East Meadow advanced to face No. 6 Massapequa in the semis.
“When [Kavanagh] gets a lead he’s like a different kind of pitcher,” Sicoli said. “He throws harder and his breaking ball is better. And the days we’ve played clean defense we’ve beaten some very good teams.”
Kavanagh’s infielders made the plays look easy on groundballs, and senior right fielder Billy Thomas turned in the play of the game, throwing out MacArthur’s Tom Melendez at home plate to end the third inning, cutting off MacArthur’s only scoring threat of the game. With one out and runners on first and second, MacArthur’s No. 3 hitter, PJ Demartino, laced a single right. Thomas came up throwing and launched a one-hop laser to the plate. Senior catcher Jonny Keicher not only corralled the throw but also blocked the plate and tagged the wide-sliding Melendez to end the inning.