No. 6 Sports Story of the Year: A deep playoff run

Joe Tardif pitches in a game earlier this year. (Credit: Garret Meade)
Joe Tardif pitches in a game earlier this year. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The Mattituck High School baseball team had hoped that 2014 would be the year it won its second regional title and first since 1983. Although the Tuckers made a good run, they came up short against a Rye Neck team that had physical stature and athleticism on its side.

Mattituck’s dream of a first state championship fell three wins short. In an intriguing matchup of Mattituck’s offensive firepower and Rye Neck’s dominant pitching, it was the pitching that won out, 3-0, in a Southeast Region Class B final. Angelo Spedafino pitched all but the final two outs as Rye Neck held the Tuckers to four hits in the game at Mamaroneck High School.

“There’s no excuses,” Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro told reporters afterward. “They beat us and they played well and we failed to deliver.”

The Tuckers looked dejected afterward, but a 21-4 season is nothing to feel bad about.

Just the day before that game, the Tuckers had picked up their second Long Island championship in four years. Joe Tardif went 4 for 5, scored three runs, drove in two runs and stole two bases in a 9-2 thrashing of Wheatley at Farmingdale State College.

Mattituck pitcher Cameron Burt, who hurled a five-hitter with six strikeouts and one walk, called it “the best feeling I ever had in my whole life.”

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