A marathon victory that stretched over two days extended the MacArthur baseball season into Memorial Day weekend.
A David Johnsen walk-off RBI single in the 13th inning sent eighth-seeded MacArthur into the Class A semifinals with a 4-3 win against Plainedge on May 21. The dramatic quarterfinal victory was made possible a day earlier when Jimmy Mahoney delivered a two-out two-run double in the seventh to knot the game at 3-3 before the game was called in extra innings due to darkness.
“It was quite an epic battle,” said MacArthur coach Steve Costello, whose team opened the double-elimination playoffs with a 1-0 win against Plainedge on May 15. “Plainedge is a very good team and both games could have gone either way.”
MacArthur was positioned for last week’s comeback victory thanks to strong pitching from starter Chris Roach, who struck out 11 through five innings followed by six scoreless innings from Nick Tucci out of the bullpen. Kyle Garter then stepped in and recorded three strikeouts of over two innings of work to earn
Senior center fielder Justin DeMaria also stepped up big at the plate going 4-for-4 at the plate over the two days. The veteran leader was just one of two returning starters from last year’s 19-5-1 team that fell to Division in the semifinals last year.
The ability to deliver timely hits and clutch pitches propelled MacArthur during the close of the regular season and throughout the double-elimination quarterfinal round. The Plainedge win marked the Generals’ 10th win in 13 games after struggles early on in the season. The Generals marched their way through the quarterfinals with three straight victories.
“We are playing our best baseball right now,” Costello said after the Plainedge win capped an unbeaten quarterfinal run. “They are a very resilient group.”
MacArthur began the playoff with a 1-0 win against Plainedge on May 15 in which Roach tossed a two-hitter with 16 strikeouts. DeMaria provided the only run Roach would ultimately need with an RBI single that scored Gaertner in the bottom of the third.
A day after winning a pitcher’s duel, the MacArthur bats unloaded in a 12-2 run-ruled five-inning win against 16th-seeded South Side, which was coming off a 2-0 upset of top-seeded Garden City. The Generals supported a strong starting pitching effort from JT Raab by rallying from an early 2-1 deficit and capped the blowout win with seven runs in the fifth inning. Raab, Johnsen, DeMaria and Mahoney all recorded two hits on the afternoon.
The Generals were scheduled to open a best-of-three semifinal series with second-seeded Clarke last weekend after press time. A series win would place MacArthur in the county finals against the winner of the other semifinal series between No. 3 Division and fourth-seeded Bethpage starting Friday at SUNY Old Westbury’s Jackie Robinson Athletic Complex. MacArthur last captured a county crown in 2015 when the Generals competed in Class AA.