AFTER TAMING RED DEVILS, VIKINGS HEAD INTO COUNTY FINALS REMATCH
By Tristan Vitale
One year ago, the North Shore Varsity Baseball squad watched as Levittown Division dog-piled on the infield at SUNY Farmingdale to celebrate winning the county championship over the Vikings. It’s an image that has haunted the Vikings ever since. However, in a finals rematch with the Blue Dragons this week, the Maroon Nine will be playing for redemption.
The Vikings earned that opportunity after defeating Plainedge 5-3 in the third game of the Class A semifinals. Beginning this Saturday at SUNY Farmingdale, the third-ranked North Shore team (20-4) will start a best-two-of-three series against the top-ranked Division Blue Dragons (23-4) for the Nassau County Championship.
The road to the finals was by no means easy, and the do-or-die game 3 against Plainedge was not an exception, although it looked like a Viking rout early in the game. The Vikings kicked off the scoring with a second-inning single by Frank Castiglione to drive in Matt Reali. They added two more runs in the next frame on a double by Thomas Aufiero, and a successful double-steal that saw Nick Lucchese swipe home for the third run. By the fifth inning, it was 5-0 when the Viking’s potent lineup produced RBI singles by Matt Reali and Liam Kearny. Vikings starting pitcher Theo Drivas shut down the Red Devils on just five hits through the first five innings.
Then, the persistent Plainedge team struck back. The Red Devils scored on a double and an error in the sixth. Vikings coach then replaced Drivas with Nick Lucchese, who allowed two more runs on a double and a sacrifice fly. With the tension building and the score at 5-3, Lucchese settled down in the seventh to strike out the side to preserve the victory.
This week in the County Championship at Farmingdale, the Vikings will be looking to create an image that will haunt Division in the long off-season.
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