The Massapequa Coast 12-year old Williamsport team topped District 31 Little League for the third consecutive year with a 9-3 win over Merrick on Wednesday night at Burns Park. Coast will advance to play other District champions in Nassau County as Merrick ended their tournament run with a 4-2 record.
“Mark Rodriguez was phenomenal on the mound, as he was when he pitched us to a District title two years ago, too,” said Massapequa Coast head coach Brian Schirmacher. “We got out of the box faster this time and we played great defense to win it.”
Merrick took the initial lead in the top of the first with an RBI single from Dylan Hughes after a leadoff double by Nicky Wisniewski. However, just like their opponents did in the first game on Sunday, Coast started off quick out of the gates, putting up three runs in the bottom of the first. Austin Torres, who drove in a team-high four RBI’s, hit a two-run double, followed by a sacrifice fly by Mark Rodriguez.
Rodriguez started the game at pitcher for Coast, going 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts. In the second, after allowing a leadoff double to Josh Levine, Rodriguez recorded three consecutive strikeouts, starting a string of seven straight outs in a row.
Coast put up five runs in the bottom half of the inning on a solo home run by Jake Sabia, a two-run double by Justin Schirmacher and a two-run home run by Torres. Merrick found themselves in a tough hole, trailing 8-1 after just two frames.
After scoreless third and fourth innings, Wisniewski pulled Merrick closer with a two-run home run in the fifth, cutting the score to 8-3. Albie Fanara hit Coasts’ third home run of the game in the bottom half of the inning to cap the score at 9-3. Fanara hit a home run in the teams’ first championship bid, which they dropped 9-8 on Sunday.
After another hit by Levine for Merrick, who went a perfect 3-for-3 in the game, Rodriguez recorded his last two outs before Schirmacher came on for the final out en route to the District clinching win.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game like every other game,” said Merrick head coach Craig Levine. “We had a tough order trying to beat them in two straight games. Coast beat us today and were the better team, so they deserved the District championship and I hope they do very well.”
Massapequa Coast will move on to play in the County Sectional Tournament, with their first game taking place on Saturday, July 16 at 1 p.m. at Brady Park in Massapequa.
“Now we play to move on to Sectionals to hopefully play six games in nine days, so pitching is going to be a big key,” Schirmacher said.