By The TimesLedger
It’s not how you start, but how you finish. That’s the old sports adage and it fits this year’s Bayside 8-year-old baseball travel team to a tee. The squad, coached by Dominic Scianna, Mike Karcinski and Ben Biordi, made the playoffs of the Seplowe Tournament as the fourth seed and made a remarkable run to the championship before losing to No. 1 seeded Elmjack in the final, 12-11, on August 29 and 30.
The team caught fire in the playoffs, as their hitting came alive to knock-off No. 2 Forest Hills in an 8-7 extra inning thriller, then eliminated No. 3 DAC, 7-3, behind the stellar pitching of Dean Papakostantis and Jordan Colflesh. All while playing on the road with no home field all summer long.
Then it was on to the championship against a tough Elmjack squad that had beaten Bayside five of six times during the summer.
Bayside jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the championship game, led by the timely hitting of lead-off man Frankie Biordi (2-for-3, double and one RBI), Colflesh (1-for-3, one run scored), Joey Pravata (2-for-3, three RBIs) and Nicky Manetta (2-for-3, two doubles, two RBIs).
Trailing 8-6, the team responded with a four-run fifth inning, highlighted by John Aponte’s grand slam home run for a 10-8 advantage. Aponte was 2-for-2 with a double, home run and four RBIs. The lead would grow to 11-9, but darkness would suspend the game on Aug. 29, resuming the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with Elmjack at bat.
“It took the wind out of our sails, having to regroup and come back the next day,” Bayside coach Dominic Scianna said. “We had the momentum, but Elmjack had a great season and deserved to win. We never quit and we’re very proud of the way our kids rallied to make this a season to remember.”
Elmjack rallied for three runs in the bottom frame to win 12-11 and end the upset bid by Bayside. The team finished runner-up in the Seplowe Tournament after a fourth place finish to end the regular season.
Other contributors in the team’s final game included great defense by James Jordan (1-for-2), timely hitting by Thomas Karcinski (1-for-3, double) and second baseman Anthony Scianna (2-for-2, one run scored), stellar catching behind the plate from Michael Marden, a gold glove performance at first base by Dominic Formato (1-for-3, triple) and great outfield play by Nick Maccia, Sam Rowen and Ryan Paccione.
The playoff run could not have been complete without remarkable pitching efforts from the team’s five-man rotation. Papakostantis, who had 15 K’s and just two earned run allowed in two games, was unhittable in his two appearances,. Colflesh (nine K’s) served as the team’s closer, Biordi, who saved the Forest Hills game for the win, had five strikeouts to start the final game and Pravata and Formato, who teamed to pitch in the championship game, gave Bayside a chance to win.