Massapequa now ‘America’s group’ with journey to LLWS

Massapequa now ‘America’s group’ with journey to LLWS

BRISTOL, Conn. — It’s a proud day on the south shore of Lengthy Island.

Massapequa Coast punched its ticket to the Little League World Collection in essentially the most legendary of how: a 4-0, no-hit victory over mighty Toms River East of New Jersey to clinch the Metro Area in Bristol, Conn., on Friday evening. They’re the primary Lengthy Island group to go to the World Collection since Rockville Centre in 1978.

That is additionally the primary time Massapequa Coast has ever reached Williamsport, Pa., in its 72-year historical past, a feat that has caught quite a lot of consideration across the nation.

Supervisor Roland Clark first noticed that many out of staters had been pulling for his squad forward of the regional finals, however after the no-no from pitcher Joey Lionetti — a efficiency that made ESPN highlights — followers throughout America started rooting for Massapequa from coast to coast.

Massapequa’s first recreation within the World Collection, which begins Wednesday, is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. (ESPN) in opposition to the winner of a recreation between Bonney Lake, Wash., and Honolulu.

Massapequa now ‘America’s group’ with journey to LLWS
Massapequa Coast Little League punched its ticket to the Little League World Collection on Friday.
For the NY POST Photograph/Robert Sabo

Clark, who has been preoccupied with the logistics of his group’s Williamsport arrival, mentioned he hasn’t had the prospect to let issues sink in but. However relating to the group’s success and recognition, he instructed his squad, “job effectively finished and effectively deserved.”

“Massapequa Coast has now overtaken the Dallas Cowboys as America’s group. That is the underdog that no person anticipated to be right here,” mentioned Nassau County govt Bruce Blakeman, who attended the sport Friday and has changed into an avid Massapequa Coast fan. “They’ve true grit, dedication, they usually have a terrific sense of teamwork.”

Catcher Ryan Huksloot mentioned being known as America’s group has a pleasant ring to it.

“I really feel fairly good about that. … It appears like just about everyone seems to be rooting for us, and I hope we will meet their expectations,” he instructed The Put up earlier than getting on a Williamsport-bound group bus. “It appears like we’re skilled athletes.”

Others on the squad, reminiscent of proper fielder Brendan Hanley, are absorbing the sudden stardom — particularly on a neighborhood stage.

“It felt actually good as a result of now everybody within the city is aware of us, even our lecturers are saying congratulations,” Hanley mentioned.

The group of boys have attracted a massive following from Long Island.
The group of boys have attracted an enormous following from Lengthy Island.
Douglas Healey

As for the hero of the sport Friday evening, Lionetti continues to be merely taking within the second.

“It’s beginning to sink in, it was unimaginable, unbelievable what I did final evening,” he mentioned, including that “it was fairly cool” to be taught Scott Mayfield of the Islanders tweeted about his excellent six innings.

On the subject of settling in on the Little League World Collection, Lionetti and his teammates have a mission past successful extra ball video games. They need to make associates.

“We made a pair associates with the groups [in the Metro], however I’m hoping to make extra in Williamsport,” he mentioned. “I’m actually trying ahead to dorming once more with my teammates and to maintain getting nearer with them, plus they’ve an arcade and stuff there.”

Massapequa Coast Little League team.
Massapequa Coast Little League group pile on one another after no-hitter to maneuver on to the Little League World Collection.
Robert Sabo

Ryan Huskloot mentioned he’s trying most ahead to exchanging with worldwide groups — which have rejoined the event for the primary time because the COVID-19 pandemic — within the upcoming days.

“Assembly all these youngsters from different international locations, they’re the perfect of their nation they usually labored arduous for it,” he mentioned. “I’m simply completely satisfied to fulfill them and speak to them about how baseball is the place they’re from.”

Past the sport uniting nations, some on the Massapequa group are already pondering like professionally endorsed athletes.

“I’m most trying ahead to being given all new tools [from Little League] to be sincere,” first baseman Alex Pagano mentioned, with Hanley reiterating the sentiment.

Although this spectacular second is extraordinary sufficient for the Massapequans — whose followers crammed not solely the Connecticut discipline, but additionally their residence diamond at Burns Park for a watch celebration — Clark was capable of share an particularly magical second along with his son, third baseman Michael Clark.

The supervisor reached the identical type of regional event whereas taking part in for Massapequa Worldwide Little League in 1989, however was eradicated on the exact same Bristol Discipline. That 1989 group was the latest from city to get that near the World Collection.

Massapequa Coast Little League celebrating.
Massapequa Coast Little League group will signify Metro Area within the Little League World Collection.
Robert Sabo

“[My dad] had that very same [elated] feeling after successful states and going to regionals, I simply beloved sharing the second with him,” mentioned Michael, who instantly jumped into his father’s arms on the remaining out.

However the standout athlete wouldn’t get too sappy throughout an interview. He is aware of there’s a job forward and plenty of preparation within the upcoming days. The youthful Clark is actually not taking issues as a right.

“I do know that I’ve finished one thing most children have by no means finished or dreamed of,” he mentioned. “We’re pumped, we’re going to make use of the entire vitality we’ve obtained, maintain combating the entire time.”

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