The Braves are alive. Syosset topped the Massapequa Chiefs 7-2 Saturday in the first round of the Nassau County Class AA baseball playoffs.
Syosset starter Tommy Morris showed why he’s the ace of the staff, pitching a complete game, scattering eight hits and striking out five. He induced three double plays, effortlessly stopping every potential Massapequa rally.
Syosset scored three runs in the top of the first inning, capping the offensive outburst with a John Tsiolis 2-run inside-the-park home run. After chasing Chiefs starter Eric Amato after an inning and a third, the Braves bats cooled down. Thanks to Morris and a few outstanding plays in the field, Syosset entered the fifth inning leading by two. They would close the book in the fifth.
A James Cohan single led off the fifth inning innocently. But there would be nothing innocent about the rest of the inning. Eight batters, four hits, and four runs later, Syosset held a commanding 7-1 lead.
Massapequa finishes the season 10-6 in conference play.
Hero: Morris - Knowing how his team had struggled to score runs this season, Morris set out with a “shut ‘em down” mentality. He did just that after receiving some timely breathing room from his offense. Morris only walked four and held Massapequa to one run until the seventh, when the Chiefs were able to scratch out a meaningless tally.
Turning Point: Morris got out of two jams in the beginning of the game. Cohan was responsible for keeping the Chiefs off the board in the second inning. After picking up James Nakashian’s single, the Braves centerfielder fired a strike to catcher Bobby Albanese who tagged Bill Schlich out at home plate. Fired up from the play, Morris struck out the next hitter and ended the threat.
Quotable: “I love playing games like this away,” Syosset coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “It gives you a chance to put the hammer down first.”
“We had a shot to get back in the game,” Massapequa coach Tom Sheedy said. “Obviously, a great play throwing the kid out at home plate. We just couldn’t cash that clutch hit.”
Bottom Line: Syosset’s bats came out at the right time. An offensive outburst not seen since a May 3 victory over Freeport could signal that Braves hitters have finally found their stroke. This should make for a very competitive best-of-three this week.
Key Stat: Cohan was 3-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Who’s Next: Syosset squares off against No. 1 seed Calhoun Monday.
Box ScoreTeam 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 F Syosset 3 0 0 0 4 0 0 7 Massapequa 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2