Long Beach outlasts South Side

Magical season continues for Marines


Prior to May 11, Long Beach hadn’t hosted a Nassau County baseball playoff game in 30 years.

Now the Marines are one of the last four team standings in the Class AA tournament.

Seeded No. 5, they outlasted Jericho in the first round, 9-7, and took down fourth-seeded South Side in two airtight quarterfinal games, 1-0 at Barasch Field May 13 and 3-2 in nine innings at home the following afternoon.

“It’s a goal we’ve been pushing toward for three years,” said Long Beach senior Christian Parisa, who pitched eight innings and struck out 15 in the quarterfinal clincher. “South Side is a very strong team. Matty [Hayes] pitched his heart out yesterday and I did the same today. Our teammates had our backs.” 

Long Beach coach Jason Zizza said Parisa, who started the playoff opener, decided less than an hour before Game 2 against South Side he was ready to go. “I gave him the option of Game 2 or if we needed him for a Game 3,” Zizza said. “I wanted to make sure he was 100 percent. He understood that. He wanted the ball and went out and pitched the best game of his life.”

Parisa said he went to school on the Cyclones’ batters in the series opener when Hayes tossed a shutout. “I had a front row seat watching Matty pitch from shortstop,” Parisa said. “He dominated. Then Matty, myself and catcher Dan Defonte talked a lot about how I needed to attack those guys.”

The Marines, who won for the 17th time, took a 2-0 lead into the top of the seventh in Game 2 courtesy of senior Alonzo Espinet’s RBI and run in the second, but South Side wouldn’t go down without a fight. The Cyclones, who were kept close by freshman pitcher Stellan Zangari, got a game-tying, two-run double off the bat of senior Matt Arnott and shut Long Beach down in the bottom of the frame to force extra innings.

“It was a good series,” South Side coach Tom Smith said. “The unfortunate part for us is we left important runners on base in key situations in both games. We played well and tough. Kudos to Long Beach they played clean and beat us.”

After a scoreless eighth, senior Troy DeFrancesco relieved Parisa and pitched a clean top of the ninth, setting the stage for walk-off heroics. Long Beach loaded the bases in the bottom half with one out and won it in thrilling fashion when Senior Hunter Stadtman hit a slow dribbler to first that allowed junior Steven Misrok to race home with the series-clinching run.

“Misrok got a great lead and jump,” Zizza said. “After he scored, everyone chased him into center field

The only run in Game 1 came in the top of the fourth when senior Mike Rossi doubled home pinch-runner Joe Lordi, a sophomore JV call-up who replaced Hayes on the bases. On the bump, Hayes, a junior, allowed just three hits and a walk and fanned seven.

Arnott also pitched a gem, allowing six hits and struck out five.

Hayes also earned the win in relief against No. 12 Jericho as he worked the last two innings. Defonte drove in three runs, DeFrancesco had two RBIs, and Parisa and Espinet both scored twice. It marked the fourth time this season the Marines defeated the Jayhawks.

Long Beach will meet sixth-seeded Division in the semifinals beginning Sunday at home at 11 a.m. The Cyclones finished 10-10-1.