Massapequa Coast Little League clinched its first-ever bid to the Little League World Series on Friday by defeating longtime Little League powerhouse Toms River East in the Metro Region finals.
The game, held in Bristol, Conn., saw Massapequa Coast pitcher Joey Lionetti toss a no-hitter as the team, now representing New York state, won 4-0.
“I just wanted to put a zero or two hits on the board tonight,” Joey told Newsday. “It feels great … After the third inning, I noticed that they weren’t catching up to my fastball or seeing my curveball.”
Joey told the New York Post that he never dreamt the team would go this far and earn a trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“I threw a no-hitter in a championship game. … I didn’t think I was going to do that [either],” he added.
Joey’s opponents tipped their to his outstanding performance.
“He was unbelievable,” Toms River East manager Mike Mendes told the Asbury Park Press. “Give him all the credit in the world. On this stage, to step up like that, he deserves every accolade he gets.”
“In the beginning, I didn’t realize it, but then I looked up at the scoreboard in the fourth inning and realized he was throwing a no-hitter,” said Massapequa shortstop Christian Bekiers. “He was great.”
Check out the touching final moments of the game here:
“I think it just says a lot about New York baseball,” Massapequa Coast manager Roland Clark told the New York Post. “They want to be competitors and they always want that game and that tough outing. … I think the entire Metro Region proved that [toughness].”
Massapequa Coast players and coaches boarded a bus this morning bound for Williamsport, where the team on Friday will play their first game of the World Series, against the winner of the West vs. Northwest game.