Riding the momentum of a 10-game win streak, the No. 3 South Side Cyclones continued to blow by their opponents Saturday, defeating No. 6 Bethpage, 9-4, in the first round of the Nassau Class A playoffs.
Senior Christian Colletti pitched six innings with eight strikeouts, no walks and four earned runs. Colletti worked his way out of a few jams, as the Golden Eagles left nine runners on base.
"Our guys came out ready to play," South Side coach Keith Lessuk said. "Christian pitched really well and we hit the ball well to give him some support."
The Cyclones started the scoring in the bottom of the first when Louis Matarazzo hit a single up the middle to drive in David Hawley from second base and reached third on a fielding error. Ed Tammaro later drove in Matarazzo on a two-out single.
Bethpage got on the board in the the third when Joey Walsh scored on an infield single by Billy Hofmann. But South Side answered right back in the bottom half of the inning.
After Mike Gutman reached on an error, Matarazzo hit a stand-up RBI triple to make the score 3-1. Ben Hoefer then launched a two-run homer to deep left.
"There was a man on third, so I was just looking to hit it to the right side and bring him in, but I got a hold of it and ended up hitting it to left," Hoefer said.
Pitching with a four-run cushion, Colletti settled in and got back-to-back strikeouts in the fourth inning.
In the fifth, Colletti found himself in a bases-loaded jam with one out. But the UConn-bound lefty was able to get a strikeout and a pop-up to end the inning.
"I just tried not to let up that many runs and get out of those jams as quickly as possible," Colletti said.
South Side pushed the lead to 6-1 in the fifth on an RBI double from Tammaro. Bethpage came out aggressively in the sixth, putting up three runs on an RBI double by Joseph Schultheis and a two-run single by Anthony Dedona.
With two men on and two outs in the sixth, Hoefer gave the Cyclones some breathing room with an RBI single. South Side tacked on two more runs on a throwing error and a wild pitch. Matarazzo pitched the seventh to get the final three outs.
The Golden Eagles fell to 13-6-1 overall and will host No. 14 Seaford Monday in an elimination game.
South Side moves to 14-6 overall and gets a bye into the best-of-three quarterfinals that start Wednesday.
The Cyclones are hoping this type of win can give them momentum to make a run in the playoffs.
"This game really showed the strength of our team," Matarazzo said. "It gives us a lot of momentum that can hopefully lead us to a county championship."