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Chiefs Baseball Not Deterred By Loss

For a town with such a proud tradition of baseball excellence, the goal is always to reach the mountaintop. There is no reason to be demoralized, however, by a 1-0 season-ending defeat in the Long Island Class-AA Championship game, according to Head Coach Tom Sheedy.

“It was such a competitive game,” said Sheedy. “We had our chances, but today we didn’t come through.”

Massapequa put together a tremendous season, finishing with a 20-6 record and capturing another Nassau County title. They defeated MacArthur 7-5 in the prior week at Farmingdale State College to capture their 10th county title and first since 2009.

In the title game at Dowling College, starting pitcher Alex Cosenza allowed a run in the second inning on a RBI groundout by Kyle Pedroli, who drove in Anthony Kay. From that point on, Cosenza settled into a groove. He did not allow another runner past second base, struck out five batters, allowed only four more hits and, most impressively, walked only one batter.

Unfortunately, the Ward Melville starting pitcher, Chris Cepeda was equally effective. He was sharp with his fastball command and continuously baffled Chiefs’ hitters with his slow breaking ball. He ran into trouble in the fifth inning with runners on first and second and one out, but fielded a come backer to start a 1-6-3 inning-ending double play.

In the final inning, Frank Portaro was struck by the pitch to lead off the frame. The next batter hit a bouncing fielder’s choice to second, as did Matt Helford. Down to their final out, Pagano hit a come backer to Cepeda, who ran halfway to first before flipping it underhand to finish the game.

“We have two championship Little League teams which feed us talent,” said Sheedy. “We run a great high school program, which trickles down to the seventh and eighth grade levels.”

While some teams might deflate with such a tough loss, Massapequa looks to the future, as they will be returning a number of their impact players from this year.

Leading that group is Alex Cosenza, who will return as the ace, and leadoff hitter Bobby Honeyman who will return as the shortstop. “The seniors always step up and say ‘now it’s our turn,’” Sheedy said. “Next year we’ll have a great group of mature seniors do the same.”