Massapequa Coast Little League coach Roland Clark said his team’s confidence upheld when it mattered the most.
Massapequa, the winner of the New York State championship defeated New Jersey champion Toms River East 6-3 in seven innings on Saturday in the Little League Baseball Metro Region tournament in Bristol, Conn., thanks to some extra-innings heroics.
With the game tied 3-3 after six regulation innings, Massapequa Coast scored three runs in the seventh. Christian Bekiers hit a one-out double, went to third on a single by Joey Lionetti and scored on a wild pitch for the eventual winning run. Mikey Castellano then hit a two-run home run that cleared the wall in left-center field.
With the victory, Clark’s team moved a step closer to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Massapequa Coast will next face Fairfield American of Connecticut Monday at 1 p.m. Fairfield American beat Cumberland of Rhode Island 3-1 in the other game Saturday. Toms River East and Cumberland will square off in an elimination game Sunday at 7 p.m.
“The boys knew it was going to be close,” Clark told The Post. “The reaction [to extra innings] was one of confidence. There was no doubt.”Massapequa Coast steps closer toward a chance at making history by notching a bid to the Little League World Series.
Massapequa Coast beat out Toms River East, a Little League giant that once featured former MLB All-Star Todd Frazier, whose team won the Little League World Series in 1998. Frazier, a former Met and Yankee, will be calling the Little League World Series for ESPN.
After mercy-rule wins over two opponents to clinch the New York state title, Clark said the team’s philosophy is still the same: never quitting.
“What’s given us some success is the fact that we don’t rely on one, two or three players,” Clark said. “It’s really 11 players that are making a big difference.
“Every part is intangible.”
Clark said after the win that he’s trying to keep his team “loose” though a bid to the Little League World Series is on the line.
Practice is still serious, Clark said. But with his team of 11- and 12-year-old boys staying at a Connecticut hotel, they’re still acting like kids, sharing pizza and playing card games in their dorms.
“All the little things that 11- and 12-year-old boys should be doing during a baseball tournament,” Clark said. “We’re keeping it like that.”