Kennedy nips South Side in showdown


Two of Nassau County’s top baseball teams this spring battled last week for the Conference AA3 driver’s seat with Kennedy taking two of three games over South Side, capped by a 6-5 victory in the series finale on May 2 at Barasch Field in Rockville Centre.

 The rubber match took a huge turn in the second inning when Kennedy was able to score three runs to take a 4-1 lead it would never relinquish. Sophomore Zach Adelstein and freshman Dylan Babek each had two hits, with the latter also driving in two runs to help the Cougars set the tone.

Junior Eli Lowenstein and sophomore Alex Demas each added a hit and an RBI in the contest. Kennedy’s pitching ace, freshman Derek Yormack, threw five innings and struck out six Cyclones.

“The offense was on and our fielders really locked down the whole game,” Yormack said. “Our coach told us to get on them early and honestly that’s just what we did. We put up a bunch of runs in the first few frames and then just locked it down from there.” 

 Said Kennedy coach Mike Gattus of Yormack: “He is unbelievable. He and his brother Ryan are once in a lifetime players. He was absolutely electric today just like he has been for the past two years.” 

Both teams share identical 9-2-1 conference records with Kennedy now holding the tiebreaker in case both teams win out. It will be a crucial final week for both teams as each has one series remaining. The Cougars face Bethpage this week; South Side takes on Manhasset.

“We had some defensive miscues in both losses that led to a couple runs here and there and ultimately it bit us in the rear,” South Side coach Thomas Smith said. 

Sophomore John Pericolosi had two hits and an RBI and junior Gavin Donoghue had two hits and RBIs in the series finale for the Cyclones.

South Side took the first game of the series April 29, 11-5, thanks to big plays from freshman AJ Magaraci, who like teammate senior Aidan Medeiros had two hits and three runs. Junior Scott Bernabeu pitched 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. 

Kennedy came out the victor of the second game May 2, 6-2, behind senior Jack Finkelstein’s stellar pitching performance striking out nine. Derek Yormack went 3-for-4 with a double, and RBI and two runs scored. 

   With the series tied at one win apiece, the finale could be the determining factor in which team captures the conference title. Gattus believed in his guys and never doubted that when it was time for his key players to make plays, they would be able to deliver. 

 “The biggest difference was the defense behind our pitchers,” Gattus said. “Our pitchers have thrown great all series but the defense in games two and three really backed them up behind some outstanding pitching performances.”

Kennedy needs to match South Side in the win column this week to claim its first conference crown since 2013.