VIKINGS SHUT OUT ISLAND TREES 9-0, CONTINUE STRONG PLAYOFF RUN
By Tristan Vitale
Following a thrilling 2-1 victory that came on a walk off single by Thomas Aufiero last Saturday against Wantagh, the North Shore varsity baseball team advanced to play Island Trees in the second round of the Nassau County Class A playoffs.
Before the game, the matchup between the No. 3 seed North Shore and the No. 6 seed Island Trees appeared to be set up for another tight battle that would again come down to the wire. However, the Vikings had other ideas on their minds.
Nick Lucchese led off the bottom of first inning with a double for North Shore, and this was just the beginning of much more to come for the Vikings. Billy Bianco followed with a well placed bunt, a staple in the North Shore offense, to advance Lucchese to third, and the floodgates opened from there. Three more doubles in the first inning by seniors Jack Aughavin, Thomas Aufiero, and Matt Reali led to 4 runs in the team's first at bat.
After a few uneventful innings, the bats heated up again for the Vikings in the 4th. The first two batters of the inning were retired, but then the top of the order came up for North Shore to begin a massive two-out rally. Just one out away from ending the inning, Island Trees could not seem to restrain the North Shore bats as the Vikings went on to record six consecutive hits. RBI hits by Aughavin, Aufiero, Liam Kearney, and Reali capped off a 5-run inning which gave the Vikings a 9-0 lead that would hold up for the rest of the game.
The Viking defense was spectacular throughout the entire game as well. Junior Connor Hehn pitched a gem as he shut down Island Trees while allowing just four hits and adding three strikeouts in the game. This effort was accompanied by strong and smart plays by all members of the field.
The Vikings are in a double-elimination format in the playoffs, but they have not lost yet and will have the opportunity to stay hot and advance again in their next game which will be a rematch against their first round opponents, Wantagh.
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