Hits were hard to come by for Hauppauge during its first-round playoff game at Ward Melville on Thursday. But when sophomore Sean Prahalis blasted a tenth-inning double to left field, it turned out to be just the hit that the Eagles needed to gain some momentum and beat Ward Melville, 2-1.
Teammate Austin Adamo followed that double with a base hit that took a bad hop and caught Ward Melville off guard, allowing Prahalis to score. Minutes later, Franco Testani sent a ground ball through the legs of a Ward Melville infielder, and Adamo scored the team's winning run.
"[Prahalis] was just seeing the ball really well and he's so quick," Hauppauge coach Kevin Giachetti said. "He's got very good hands."
But for the first nine innings, it could have been anybody's game.
"I just told my guys ... it's going to be something that's going to happen, we've just got to keep staying the course," Giachetti said. "Just keep trying to get the ball in play and eventually we'll come out on top."
Lefty CJ Schildt started for ninth-seeded Hauppauge (15-6) and pitched eight innings, striking out six and giving up seven hits. And Anthony Kay, also a lefty, started for No. 8 Ward Melville (12-7) and pitched a no-hitter through the seventh inning.
Prahalis even pitched 1 and 2/3 innings, coming in for Schildt in the ninth before Nick DelRe relieved him in the tenth.
"He keeps people off balance," Giachetti said of Prahalis. "People laugh at him and that excites him as he warms up because he doesn't look like much and then all of a sudden you have to try and hit him and it's not easy to do."
Ward Melville scored its only run in the tenth, starting with a base hit by Daniel O'Neil, who got to third when the umpire called two balks. He scored on another base hit by Joseph Flynn.
"We had some opportunities to win the game earlier but we had some mental lapses on the bases," Ward Melville coach Lou Petrucci said. "That cost us the game. When you have a good team like Hauppauge, you can't make mental mistakes on the bases, and we made that today."
Hauppauge advances to face No. 1 Connetquot on Friday, while Ward Melville will play No. 17 Smithtown West.