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Calhoun reaches summer league baseball title game

Colts fall to Plainedge, 3-2, in extra innings

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Playing its fourth elimination game in three days, Calhoun fell just short of bringing home the title in the Nassau County High School baseball league, hosted by the Boys of Summer.

The Colts, who knocked out East Rockaway, Oceanside and Garden City, allowing a total of one run in the process, lost a 3-2 thriller in extra innings to Plainedge in the championship game on Aug. 12 at Plainedge High School.

The Red Devils scored the winning run in the top of the eighth inning on an RBI single off the bat of Matt Wildeman. Calhoun, which won the coin flip to be the home team, tied the game with two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Tim Mack singled down the first-base line past a diving Wildeman to score Pat Sanchez. Mike Schock pitched a complete game for Plainedge, which never trailed as Zach Zarra cracked a two-run homer in the top of the first.

“This really felt like a Nassau County playoff game,” Calhoun coach Art Canestro said. “It was intense and well-played by both teams. We came in swinging some hot bats, but their kid held us down. He pitched a great game, and all the guys we counted on today also pitched great.

“Brooks Montelbano started and gave us a solid four innings, Pete Rogers threw two strong innings and Tommy Walsh pitched well also,” Canastro added.

Walsh earned the win over Garden City in the semifinals on Aug. 11, pitching four innings of the 13-1 blowout. Earlier that same day, Drew Crowley tossed a complete game to beat Oceanside, 8-1. On Aug. 10, Adam Salcedo pitched four perfect innings, and Montelbano hit an inside-the-park grand slam to lead a 13-1 victory over East Rockaway.

But after scoring 34 runs in three playoff games, the Colts were held off the board in the championship until Zack Cohen homered in the bottom of the fifth to get them within 2-1. Plainedge was looking for insurance in the top of the seventh, but was denied on an incredible throw by center fielder Ryan Todd to catcher Dante DiMarco to cut down a runner at the plate.

Plainedge coach Colin Fratrik echoed Canestro’s thoughts on the matchup. “It was a really exciting game,” Fratrik said. “All of the coaches, kids and parents were really appreciative to have the opportunity to play.”

The league, which consisted of 13 teams, was an idea hatched by Clarke High School coach Tom Abruscato once high school spring sports throughout New York state were cancelled in late April due to Covid-19.

“We always have a few teams in the Boys of Summer every year,” said Abruscato, who in 2019 guided Clarke to its seventh county championship during his tenure. “This year it was more about the seniors than anything else. Most of them missed not only the baseball season, but prom and graduation.”