Pagan's hit lifts Hicksville in first round
Matt Pagan didn't have many words to say. The one word he continuously used was "amazing" while flashing a huge grin the whole time.
That word certainly encapsulates what Hicksville did Monday. Hicksville had just two hits through six scoreless innings as Farmingdale starter Tim Manolt cruised, inducing a lot of weak contact.
Hicksville couldn't be stopped in the bottom of the seventh. The Comets sent six batters to the plate with five reaching base and Pagan ended it with a two-run single, scoring Mike Reilly and pinch runner Chris Sarni, who dove head first into the plate, just beating the throw in host Hicksville's 3-2 win over No. 9 Farmingdale in the first round of the Nassau Class AA baseball playoffs.
No. 8 Hicksville (10-7-2) will play at No. 2 MacArthur in Game 1 of the best-of-three quarterfinals Tuesday.
"I just wanted to put the ball in play," Pagan said. "I had butterflies. We all believed in the dugout. It's an amazing feeling."
Hicksville coach Frank Ciaramitaro thought about going with a squeeze play with Pagan since he considers him his best bunter, but Pagan took a strike, changing that plan. Hicksville had just two runners entering the seventh. Ronnie Bauer, who doubled in the first, led off the seventh with a single.
"We didn't take enough pitches," Bauer said of the first six innings. "Through four innings, he had 42 pitches. Getting that hit changed everything."
Reilly followed with a single and Charlie Stange reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases with no outs. Anthony Salamone singled home a run to bring the Comets within 2-1. After a pop-up, Pagan ended it.
"We have been able to make big plays in big spots all season," Ciaramitaro said. "They showed so much fortitude. Bauer getting that leadoff hit was huge. [Manolt] was really on. He mixed it up, but we got him to the stretch."
Kevin Cashman went the distance for Hicksville. Farmingdale (8-11-1) had an unearned run in the first and Frank Lettieri had an RBI single in the sixth.
"We stayed positive the whole time," Bauer said. "We believed."