Spring Playoff Wrap

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Spring Playoff Wrap

Jake Boden and Grace Anne McKenna, Reporter and Editor in Chief

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All the spring teams have been productive, with three of them advancing to the Nassau County finals. Wantagh’s baseball, boys’ lacrosse, and girls’ lacrosse teams played for the Section XIII title.

Baseball Achieves County-Title Three-peat

Wantagh Baseball claimed a school-first third-straight Nassau County Championship beating Division 14-3 in the final game of a two-game sweep May 28. The boys pitched, hit and fielded their way through the county, not losing a single game in the playoffs going into the Long Island championship vs. Rocky Point this past June 2. Wantagh has also had its usual great coaching led by head coach Keith Sachs and assistant Mike Ninivaggi.

The offense has been tremendous, led by Anthony Fontana, Anthony D’Onofrio, and Pat Willix. In closing out Division for their seventh straight post-season win, the Warriors battered their long-time rivals with a 9-run seventh inning. “Every Wantagh starter, as well as pinch-hitter Nick O’Connor, had either an RBI or scored a run,” wrote Newsday’s Owen O’Brien, a Wantagh grad and former Warrior sports editor.

The post-season streak, which made Wantagh 24-2, began with a 4-2 win over Mepham thanks to Fontana’s complete game 8-strikeout pitching performance and Anthony Vano driving in the game winner on a suicide squeeze bunt. Next came two wins over North Shore. In the first game Willix got the win and hit a homer.

The Warriors then took out Garden City in a two-game semifinal sweep. In game one, a 6-0 win, Fontana hurled the shutout and hit two home runs.

Starting pitching in this great post-season run has been terrific with Fontana (who is an incredible 18-1 on the mound in his high school career), Matt Reich, and Willix and Mason McLane coming out of the bullpen.
This three-year run has seen the Warriors win a state title in 2016 and finish second in the state in 2017. Playing all three seasons have been Fontana, D’Onofrio, Castellano, Murphy and Kirchner.

Lacrosse Teams Reach County Finals

The Wantagh boys’ varsity lacrosse team battled for its first county title since 2001 in the Nassau Class C boys’ lacrosse final May 29 at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium, but lost a 10-9 heartbreaker to Cold Spring Harbor. The Warriors finished their season 12-5.

Cold Spring Harbor has won the last three Class C state titles.

The Warriors had a 6-2 lead early in the second half but the Seahawks scored three straight goals. Again, Wantagh went up 8-6 with seven minutes to go thanks to two of sophomore Nick Teresky’s four goals, but CSH again scored three straight for a one goal lead. Another sophomore Thomas von Bargen tied the game with two minutes to go but CSH got the gamewinner with less than a minute left. In addition to Teresky and von Bargen, Joe Conklin had a pair of goals; Ethan Insinga and Tom Rohan also scored.

Goalie James McCarron had eight saves and Jack Conklin and Kyle Craig played well on D.

The Warriors reached the final after playoff wins over Locust Valley, 14-8, and Bethpage, 12-8. In the LV game Teresky had seven goals and two assists and Finn Duignan had five goals and two assists. In the Bethpage win Wantagh outscored Bethpage 7-3 in the second half thanks to Insinga’s three goals and two assists and Teresky’s four goals.

The girls’ lacrosse team, coached by Lauren Schwalje, also reached a Nassau County Class C county final. It was the second straight year the girls had reached the Class C final.

Last year they beat Cold Spring Harbor for the title. Early in this season they beat CSN, 7-6. However, the Seahawks dominated the first half, controlling the ball for nine straight minutes and defeated Wantagh 17-4.

Senior Kayla Conway scored all of four of Wantagh’s goals.

In the first round of the playoffs Catherine Russo scored three goals and Sabrina Caruso and Caitlyn Kearns each had two goals and two assists to lead Wantagh to an 11-7 win. The Warriors then topped North Shore in the semifinals, after losing to them during the season.

Golfers Keep County Streak in Bounds

Another team that had post-season success was the boys’ golf team. Though a fall sport, the boys’ Nassau County championship is played in the spring. For the ninth-straight year, under coaches Pete Kravitz and Rich Colavita, the team qualified golfers for the county tournament.

Seniors Raul Fernandez, James Tucker and Faith Francioso competed May 22, and for the second straight year Francioso made the cut. In fact, she is the only Wantagh golfer over the past 14 years to have achieved that remarkable feat which has made her all county both years.

Playing on Bethpage Blue, from the same tees as the boys, Francioso shot a terrific four over par 76. That put her in a tie for fifth place. The top nine golfers qualified for states. Her goal of states was in her rangefinder’s sights.
However, on day two, Bethpage Red was set up at over 7,000 yards and the length made it difficult for Francioso. She mounted a great back-9 charge paring holes 14-17, including the uphill, 470-yard par 4 15th, but just fell a few strokes short of making states.

Nonetheless, it was a tremendous career for the six-year varsity starter who next year will play Division I golf at Elon University in North Carolina.

Trackies Receive All County Honors

The boys and girls’ track teams had several athletes receive all-county honors.

For the boys’ 4×400 relay team, all-county went to Matt Drago, Bryan Murphy, Chris Avena and Kyle Graham. In the boys’ 400 meter Kyle Graham received all county honors.

The girls’ 4×800 relay won the Nassau County championship. Tess Duignan, Steph Tracy, Annie Browne and Kaitlyn Taggart were on the team. All-county went to Tess Duignan in the 800 meters and Steph Tracy in the 400 meters. Nikki Bindell competed in the pentathlon in the state qualifier. The teams were coached by Jackie Lennon, Caitlin Breen, Jordan Ashley and Phil Costello.

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