Wheatley Wildcats win ‘B’ baseball title

Gregory Giaconelli

The second-seeded Wheatley Wildcats varsity baseball team has won the Nassau Conference B Championship against top seed Oyster Bay Baymen 14-5 on Tuesday afternoon. The Wildcats pulled off the sweep in their best of three series and earned their third Nassau B title in four years.

Wildcats head coach Paul Paino said he is very proud of the team’s hard work and effort as they fought hard all year long to capture their next championship.

“It feels great to win another county title” said Paino. “It means that the program and feeder systems are all strong, which makes it fun and rewarding. I expect us to take a serious run at the State Championship.”

After coming off a 2-0 win in Game 1, the Wildcats knew that if they want to finish this series early, they need to score more runs. In Game 2, they would go on to score 14 runs to cap off a fantastic 2016 season. Most of the guys in the Wildcats lineup had a hit in the game and the boys’ defense once again played a major role in the title clincher.

Wildcats junior starting pitcher Antonio Deodato allowed four earned runs, seven hits, and struck out three Baymen batters in six solid innings of work. He also went 2-for-2 at the plate with a run batted in. Junior James McPhillips came in to pitch the seventh and only give up one run in relief.

Wildcats senior outfielder Evan Mattioli went 3-for-5 with five RBIs and senior infielder Brandon Rothstein went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a double to pace the offense.

Wheatley drew first blood in the first game of their three-game set against the Oyster Bay Baymen, winning 2-0 on Monday afternoon in Game 1 of the Nassau B Finals. 

All the offensive action took place in the top of the second with the Wildcats scoring two runs. Senior starter John Ryan turned in another dominating pitching performance and was aided by the stellar play of the defense behind him. 

“It’s always good to win Game 1” said Paino. “We knew it was going to be the two best pitchers in the league going at each other and it’s exactly what we expected. We scratched out a few runs and they held up.”

The Wildcats scored their runs on a sacrifice fly by senior first baseman Hunter Pomerantz, followed by an RBI single by senior third baseman Anthony Cutinella. They batted at the bottom of the order but it was all the offense the Wildcats needed to secure the victory. 

Paino said he was proud of these two boys for coming through and providing the runs in the first game of the championship series.

“Those guys have been really improving” said Paino. “They started out a little bit slow but they’ve been doing a lot towards the end by playing good defense and coming up with big hits. They have been doing a good job.”

Ryan tossed a complete game shutout and allowed no runs, two walks and four hits while striking out three Baymen batters. 

Paino stressed that Ryan, whose committing to Hofstra in the fall, looked like he was at home on the mound. A big factor in picking up the win was being able to locate his pitches and getting by with a little help from the defense.

“I knew I had to throw my pitches” said Ryan. “My fastball wasn’t there so I had to use my curveball and my changeup. My defense came up big for me.”

The Wildcats have now won three straight Nassau B titles, winning the crown in both 2013 and 2014. The team now has its sights set on winning a State Championship.

Their next scheduled game in the new tournament has yet to be announced.

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Gregory Giaconelli

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