North Shore Battling For Playoff Spot

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Jake Walton of North Shore bounces into a fielder’s choice in the 10-6 win over host Valley Stream North on April 18. (Photos by Frank Rizzo)

By the time this sees print, the fate of the North Shore baseball team’s season may have been determined.

The Vikings, at press time, had a record of 7-4 overall and 5-4 in Nassau Conference A-IV. They were slated to play league leader Lynbrook in a three-game series beginning April 24.

“We’ve had success here, but this year is different,” said coach Scott Lineman. “We have a young team—only two seniors, and a lot of underclassmen playing who have to learn about the game and how to compete. We hope to get better each day.”

Matt Lewin leads off from first base, framed by Sean Hehn at the plate in the seventh inning of the April 18 win at Valley Stream North.

A year ago, the Vikings lost two close games in the Class A semis to eventual state champ Wantagh and finished 19-5.

The previous two seasons, they lost in the county finals to Levittown-Division.

Last week, North Shore took two straight against Valley Stream North after dropping the first game of the series, 11-10. Jake Walton got credited with the win in relief of Dave Aufiero in the 10-6 victory on April 18. Anthony Carleo moved from third base to the mound and got the last five outs to close the door.

“Our soph, Dave Auferio, pitched well, throwing hard for the first two innings,” praised Lineman. “In the third inning he got back spasms and was leaving the ball up and they got to him. He’s been very consistent for us all year as a young pitcher.”

Soph Danny Livoti came through in the rubber game on April 20, shutting out the Spartans 4-0 with a complete game.

“He’s our catcher and cleanup hitter,” Lineman said of Livoti. “He leads our team in RBIs and on the mound he’s also been consistent, throwing strikes and pounding the zone.”

At the plate, “it all starts with our leadoff hitter, soph Matt Lewin,” said Lineman. “He has a high batting average and on-base percentage, smacks the ball over and runs the bases well.”

Senior Ken Belinger, a lefty, “can bunt, makes good contact, and had some big at-bats the last few games,” said Lineman, praising Belanger’s squeeze bunt to drive in Livoti with an insurance run in the April 18 win.

“It’s going to come down to the last two weeks of the season,” concluded Lineman. “We’re battling for the playoffs, that’s for sure. It’s a competitive league. There are a lot of teams right now bunched up.”

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Frank Rizzo is a journalist at Anton Media Group. With decades of experience in the industry, he is exceptionally equipped to cover local politics, business and other topics that matter to readers.

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