After the first two Wantagh batters struck out to start the top of the seventh inning on some nasty curveballs by Tom Walsh, Mike Stack faced a 2-and-0 count. The Wantagh shortstop was looking for a fastball and if he didn't get it, he was taking.
Stack got the fastball and sent it over the centerfield fence for a home run to break a tie and give Wantagh a 5-4 road win against Plainedge Saturday in a Nassau Conference I/III baseball crossover.
"I was trying to get on base and start something," Stack said. "I got a 2-and-0 fastball right down the middle. He was shutting us down. He was getting ahead of us and we had to swing at bad pitches. All we needed was one run."
Said Wantagh coach Keith Sachs: "He stayed back and got one good swing. That was the right time for that one. He has good pop. He's a very good hitter to all fields. That was the biggest hit of his career."
Wantagh ace Greg Welch didn't start, but came into the game with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth. Ralph Caccavale (3-for-3) hit a ball in foul territory and first baseman Adam Aponte made a basket catch with his back toward home plate and Cody Golub (2-for-4) tagged up and scored to tie it at 4.
Welch issued a walk to load the bases again, then got a strikeout looking on a full count. Welch had trouble locating his fastball and walked the first batter in the seventh. A balk moved pinch runner Brandon Fiscina to second with no outs before Welch struck out the side to end the game.
"I was leaving the pitches up," Welch said. "I had to slow up my delivery. I was very fast to the plate. It's a good feeling blowing a fastball past a hitter. I do throw a curveball and a slider, but I really didn't need it."
Wantagh (6-0, 5-0) took a 4-1 lead in the third on run-scoring singles by Dom Desiderio and Nick Mullen (2-for-3) and an RBI double from Stack. Caccavale scored on a balk in the third, Golub's RBI single made it 4-3 in the fourth before Caccavale's sacrifice fly tied the score at 4 in the sixth for Plainedge.
The Red Devils (5-1, 3-1) left nine runners on base, including the bases loaded twice and hit into two double plays.
"We had a lot of chances early in the game and we didn't capitalize," Plainedge coach Tom Pisani said. "We left a lot of runners on base. We hit the ball hard all day. We had good swings. In the end, we got overpowered."
Walsh pitched the final four innings for Plainedge and allowed one run, two hits, walked none and struck out five.
Welch improved to 4-0 with the win.
"He did a great job throwing strikes when he had to," Sachs said. "He has a very good overhand curve, but it looked like the players weren't catching up to the fastball. I want him to get beat with his best. It's just a regular-season game, but the way both teams played and tried to win the game, it was a great win. It was great baseball against a very good program."