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Top Sports Stories 2015: Tuckers tops in state

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The accolades, awards, honors and titles piled on top of each other, mementos of the greatest season in the Mattituck High School baseball team’s 95-year history. A season of firsts was capped with the biggest of them all: the Tuckers’ first state championship. 

It was a season in which anything short of a state championship would have been a disappointment. The Tuckers weren’t disappointed.

They played a near-perfect season, ending it with a 4-1 victory over Livonia in the New York State Class B final at SUNY/Broome Community College.

Ian Nish fielded a routine bouncing ball, trotted to the first-base bag, recorded the final out and the deed was done. The 27-1 Tuckers were on top of the state. They heaved their gloves high in the air before joining together in one big pileup of jubilation. Their high-flying center fielder, Joe Tardif, launched himself onto the top of the pile.

“We showed it: We’re the best,” said Marcos Perivolaris, who was the winning pitcher in the state final as well as the Suffolk County and Long Island title-winning games.

“It just feels amazing, absolutely amazing,” said Tardif, the state Class B Player of the Year who was moved to tears of joy. “I don’t think I ever cried after a win.”

Since the frigid first days of practice, when piles of snow were still on the ground, the Tuckers had their sights set on winning the state title. The team had six seniors and nine players who had experience as starters from the 2014 team that reached the Southeast Region final. This time around it was state title or bust.

Coach Steve DeCaro’s team ended up with a lot more than state championship medals and a plaque. When third baseman Will Gildersleeve was asked what the best thing about being a state champion was, he answered: “Just the memories. I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.”

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