Seaford entered the Nassau County Class A baseball playoffs as one of the lower-seeded teams, but is now one of the final four competing for a championship.
The 13th-seeded Vikings (14-9) emerged from their double elimination bracket last Saturday with a 3-2 win against Bellmore-JFK. The victory against the fourth-seeded Cougars advanced Seaford into a best-of-three semifinal series versus top-seeded Division this week. The winner moves into the championship series beginning May 28.
The Vikings clinching win against JFK featured a pitching gem by senior Jake Williams, who tossed a five-hitter with eight strikeouts. Leading 1-0 in the top of the sixth, Anthony Gallo and Lucas Hall delivered back-to back RBI singles to give Seaford a 3-0, which proved the be necessary insurance runs when the Cougars rallied for two runs of their own before Williams secured the win.
“Jake Williams was what Jake Williams has been the last couple years, a big time pitcher,” Seaford head coach Mike Milano said. “He wants the ball.”
Williams and Hall have pitched Seaford to victory in four of their first five playoffs games following a 10-8 regular season. Hall got the Vikings playoff run off on the right foot with a four-hitter in a 4-1 win against JFK on May 10 and two days later Williams threw a complete game while also hitting a three-run homer in a 10-6 triumph against fifth-seeded Plainedge. Hall then delivered a two-hitter in a 2-1 loss to JFK on May 15 that set up Saturday’s deciding game.
A major key for Seaford’s playoff success has been Jake Doyle, who went 4-for-4 with a two-run home in the Vikings’ win against Plainedge. He also delivered a two-run single in the sixth inning in the first win against JFK.
“He is a big-time player,” said Milano of Doyle. “He is going to be playing baseball for a very long time.”
Seaford is now aiming to reach the county finals for the first time in Milano’s decade years leading the program. Last year Seaford was eliminated in the semis after dropping two close games to Plainedge.
To make history this week Seaford will have to get by Division, which is 20-2 and riding a 12-game winning streak. Seaford eliminated Division from the 2013 playoffs with a 4-3 win.
“The key is going to be how well our bats do against a very good pitching team,” said Milano, whose team did not play Division in the regular season but did scrimmage them. “We’re going to play pretty good baseball to win against a very talented and well-coached team.”
After the opening of the best-of-three semifinal series at Division Tuesday, Game 2 is scheduled at Seaford on Wednesday afternoon. If necessary, the third and deciding game would be played Friday in Levittown. The winner of the Seaford-Division series will play for the county championship versus either Clarke or North Shore.