After another successful year at the helm of the Massapequa’s varsity baseball program, longtime head coach Tom Sheedy spoke to the Massapequa Observer about a strong season.
“We were defending state champs going into the season,” said Sheedy. “Our goal is the same every year: compete for a conference championship. From there, you just take one game at a time. We expected to be successful, compete in the county and maybe more.”
In Sheedy’s eyes, the biggest highlight from the regular season was defeating Oceanside 11-0 during their Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraising game.
“I guess that’s when we put a stamp in,” said Sheedy. “Our kids really expected to keep winning. We didn’t lose another game until the end of the year.”
One of the best players in the program this year was catcher Nick Schwartz. The senior played in his third season with the team and, while he was a solid hitter, he was more so an excellent fielder. He was voted to the All-County and All-Long Island team and was named a regional All-American. He will be attending St. John’s University in the fall.
“[He had] one of the best seasons in the 24 years I’ve been here,” said Sheedy. “He didn’t have a bad pass. He didn’t have an error. He threw out 50 percent of the base runners. Plus, he hit over .500. Just a fabulous season and he brought great leadership to the team.”
After clinching yet another Nassau County Class AA Title against Port Washington, it was on to the Long Island Championship where they took on Connetquot for a chance at another state playoff berth.
When the game kicked off at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, the Chiefs were put into a tough spot when they had to overcome a 5-0 deficit. But the worries faded away when the team made it 5-4 at the end of the fifth. After the Chiefs tied it in the sixth, Schwartz was the hero of the game, earning a solo home run in the seventh to make the score 7-6. The pitching staff held off Connequot to clinch the victory and the Long Island championship.
Despite losing the state semifinal to Shenendehowa, Sheedy wanted to make sure his team didn’t feel like the season was a failure.
“Listen, we think we had the best team in the state, but we didn’t play well enough to win,” said Sheedy. “You have to look at the accomplishments we had. Don’t let it ruin your whole season.”
Ten of the 30 players on the varsity squad have now graduated and 20 of the players will need to compete for their spot in order to stay on as their is plenty of talent in the upcoming junior class. Sheedy will look to assemble the best roster he can come the time season starts again in the spring.