Baseball Team Makes Second Straight Trip to States; Girls’ Lax Wins County Class C Title; Francioso Becomes First Golfer in 12 Years to Reach Day 2 of Nassau County Boys’ Championship


Nolan Foley, Sports Editor

The boys’ baseball team, in its quest for a second-straight state title, became the first baseball team in Wantagh history to win a second-straight county title – its third in this decade. And girls’ lacrosse won its second-ever county championship avenging an early season defeat to Cold Spring Harbor with a 15-9 rout for the Class C Nassau title.

Baseball entered the playoffs as the No. 9 seed. The boys defeated Hewlett and Floral Park twice to reach the semis against arch-rival Division, who had beaten Wantagh in the final two out of three games of the regular season.

Wantagh cleanly swept Division in two games. Jimmy Joyce pitched Wantagh to a 6-2 win within one out of a no-hitter before yielding a pair of hits. Brendan Haas pitched a complete-game to put away Division 4-1. Anthony D’Onofrio provided timely hits. That advanced Wantagh to the county championship where another rival awaited – Garden City, the No. 4 seed.

In game one Anthony Fontana pitched Wantagh to a 3-2 win. Garden City took game 2 by a 12-3 score leading to what would be a winner-take-all game 3. With Brendan Haas on the mound Garden City took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Wantagh began its comeback in the top of the fourth inning when Trevor Fagan hit a lead-off solo home run. Wantagh tied the game at 2-2 when Jake Castellano doubled in Steven Foreman. The Warriors then took the lead on an RBI single by Anthony D’Onofrio. A squeeze bunt by John Conroy gave Haas an insurance run.

Hass then shut down GC giving Wantagh the historic back-to-back county championships. “It feels great to make history,” said senior Jimmy Joyce. “Not many teams get to win even one county championship.”

The team took on Shoreham Wading River and its ace, Norte Dame commit Brian Morrell, in the LIC June 3 and came away with a 4-2 victory to reach it’s second-straight state tournament Final Four.

Girls’ Lax
Girls’ lacrosse began its playoff run to the county title by routing Plainedge 15-6 in the Class C quarters. Wantagh’s Megan Gordon (9 points), Ally Murphy (6 goals) and Taylor Carson (6 points) led the offense with Emma Lemanski getting 11 saves in net. In the semis, Kayla Conway scored two of her five goals to break open a tight game in the second half and lead the No. 1-seeded Warriors to an 11-8 win over Lynbrook.

Wantagh had finished tied for second in Conference I. It defeated Class B power Manhasset and avoided Class B champ Garden City in the postseason thanks to a drop in enrollment. In the final Wantagh jumped out to a 7-0 lead over CSH. Gordon finished with two goals and six assists. Conway dominated the draws. Murphy added four goals, Carson, three and eighth-grader Sabrina Caruso netted three. The girls lost 9-4 to two-time defending state champ Mount Sinai in the LIC June 4.

Boys’ lacrosse finished fourth in its conference and faced the No. 5-seed South Side in the quarterfinals.

Boys’ Lax

Wantagh played South Side in the regular season and won 10-6. The two teams met again in what would be a classic No. 4 vs. No. 5-seed game. In front of a packed crowd at Wantagh High School the Warriors jumped out to a 4-3 lead at the half. But South Side took a 8-7 lead with a minute remaining. Wantagh stole the ball with 30 seconds remaining which led to a Matt Robbins fast-break goal to tie the game with 5 seconds left. But the goal was waved off due to a controversial offsides call and Wantagh was eliminated.

“It was an awesome experience to play in that game but we wish we could have it back,” said senior attackman Anthony Teresky. The Warriors finished their season with an overall record of 9-6.

Three junior Wantagh golfers made the Nassau County championships: Raul Fernandez, James Tucker and Faith Francioso. Of the three, Francioso, in her third straight county tournament, became the first Wantagh golfer, in 12 years, to make it to day two as she shot an 80 on Bethpage Blue. Francioso then shot an 85 on Bethpage Red, which was playing from its back tees. Francioso finished tied for 21st out of about 130 golfers who made the county tournament. And she was the only female golfer playing in day two.

Track and Field
The girls’ and boys’ track teams had some outstanding performances at the Nassau County Championship meet. Eight athletes set new personal records. Freshman Noel Polack earned All-County honors in the 100 meter hurdles, finishing in 3rd place.The girls 4×400 meter relay with Bella DelaCruz, Casey O’Connor, Tess Duignan and Stephanie Tracy came in 2nd place, only seconds off the school record.

In addition the following athletes qualified for the counties with a top three Divisional finish. From the boys’ team: Chris Avena, 400m and 4x400m relay; Chris D’Antonio, 3000m steeplechase; Charlie Doherty,100m and 200m; Matt Drago, 400m; Kyle Graham, 400m and 4x400m relay; James McVeigh, 3200m and 4x400m relay; Bryan Murphy, 800m and 4x400m relay; Manny Putrino, 3200m; Brian Tretter, shot put and discus.

From the girls’ team: Brianna Carroll, 100m hurdles; Bella DelaCruz, 400m and 4x400m relay; Tess Duignan, 800m and 4x400m relay; Casey O’Connor, 800m and 4x400m relay; Savannah Palas, shot put; Noel Polack, 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles; Sandra Re, 3000m; Stephanie Tracy,400m and 4x400m relay.

Girls’ softball reached the playoffs and won its opener over Seaford, 3-1. Starting pitcher Haley Monahan got the win in an 8-inning complete game. She also drove in Wantagh’s first run and scored the winning run in extra innings on a hit by Shayna DeRosa. Erika Estro then scored the insurance run. Seaford 8th grader Anna Butler, granddaughter of Mr. Del Gais and the daughter of Mrs. Butler, went 3-3 with a home run for Seaford. But Monahan shut down the rest of the Seaford team allowing no more runs and only two additional hits. The Warriors lost their next playoff game to Plainedge.