For the better part of a decade, the North Shore Vikings have been a constant force in Nassau County baseball.
The aspirations of the team rarely fall below the lofty goal of a county championship, a feat North Shore has accomplished before. With the squad assembled this season, coach Scott Lineman made his goals public at the beginning of the season. “We want that county, championship,” Lineman said. “And I think we’re talented enough to get it.”
The Vikings’ season began with a number of non-league matchups to tantalize the pallet and prepare for league play. The northern Long Island program opened up with a Conference A-4 three- game series set against a familiar south shore foe, Wantagh. The Vikings won their opening series 2-1. They will meet Division Avenue High School in their next league series.
North Shore’s league schedule opened up on the road at Wantagh, where the Vikings were able to snag a 2-1 victory with both team’s aces on the mound. The away side’s David Aufiero pitched six full innings, striking out eight and allowing zero earned runs on four hits.
“He mixed up his pitches well,” Lineman said. “He was using his fastball to get ahead and kept hitters off balance with his curveball and split-finger fastball that has some really good downward movement on it.” Aufiero’s fastball, according to North Shore’s winter and spring records, tops out around 87 mph.
Wantagh’s ace Mason McLane earned the respect of the opposing coach. “He throws hard and had a really good breaking ball that kept us off-balance,” Lineman said. “Both pitchers pitched really well.”
In the top half of the second with one out, North Shore’s Michael Tedesco homered over the left field fence to push across the first run of the game. In the top of the fifth with two outs, Will Scarola doubled to deep left-center field to bring home another run.
David’s brother and reliever Marc Aufiero came in to close the game out. Despite Wantagh putting across a run in the bottom of the seventh, Aufiero was able to get out of the inning and gave North Shore the win.
North Shore dropped its home opener, 4-2, in the middle game of the set. The game was stopped in the middle of the sixth inning due to rain, however had reached past five innings, therefore making it an official game.
Robert Clarke took the mound for game two of the series at North Shore and, unlike his rotation-mate David Aufiero, got in trouble early. Clarke was able to get out of the inning unscathed. He finished with five Ks.
North Shore’s Matt Saltzman hit a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth. The next two batters got on base, but the Vikings couldn’t capitalize.
Speaking to Lineman ahead of the series finale, he was adamant that the Vikings had to score in the opening frames. “We have to put runs on the board early,” Lineman said.
In North Shore’s 7-2 series-winning victory, Wantagh scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the first. North Shore did not score until the fourth, when it exploded for seven runs. Tedesco drove in four on the day. Danny Livoti pitched a complete game, allowing only three hits.