Massapequa Coast set to keep LLWS dream alive after loss


SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — It’s back to basics.

The day after falling 12-0 to a dominating Honolulu side in the Little League World Series, Massapequa Coast took to the training ground, not in the Metro Area champion kit they wore this week, but in their navy blue and gold home jerseys.

“I wanted them to put on those jerseys, so when people saw us again, just like the coverage has been totally awesome since we won states and regions, I wanted them to be recognized after a loss as well,” said manager Roland Clark. On Saturday, the addition of the change of uniform brought about a psychological change – removing the fanfare from being on an international stage and reminding its players of the historic path they have already traveled from their small hamlet of Long Island.

“It’s who we are. It’s the team that brought us here,” Clark said. “Those original numbers that they had to select mean something to them.”

Massapequa Coast Little League practice drills before their game against Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.
Douglas Healey

Christian Bekiers and Liam St. George agreed it was good to put on their trusty old uniforms as they prepare for their second match, which takes place on Sunday afternoon.

“It feels like we’re coming home and representing everyone at home,” said Bekiers, who said he wasn’t ready to pack up and head back to Long Island. .

The 11-man squad is looking for a fresh start in the double-elimination tournament and a new page to write their Little League World Series history.

“I got a lot of texts from friends back home telling us to put [the Friday night] game behind us and we have to play hard this next game,” Bekiers said.

“I just remember playing well and having confidence and good things will happen,” added Anthony Badagliacca, who had the team’s only strikeout on Friday.

On Sunday, Massapequa Coast takes on Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, a 7-5 winner over Middleboro (Mass) on Saturday night.

“We’ve been in this position before,” Clark said, referring to the District Tournament, in which they won three games in a row, breaking out of the losing group to stay alive and later become the first team in the 72 from Massapequa Coast. -year history to reach Williamsport.

Despite the gravity of the do-or-die moment, Clark didn’t plan any cinematic moments in the locker room.

Massapequa Coast manager Roland Clark and coach Brian Bekiers talk to the team during practice in preparation for their game against Hollisdayburg, Pennsylvania.
Massapequa Coast manager Roland Clark and coach Brian Bekiers talk to the team during practice in preparation for their game against Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.
Douglas Healey

“There’s no ‘Rudy’ speech right now,” he said. “They’ve heard me talk about these situations before. For now, we leave it to them to decide for themselves who they want to leave Williamsport with. Who wants to be the first out and get that hit in tomorrow’s game? Who wants to break the ice for the team and start the wheels rolling? »

The team is hoping for an infusion of motivation from their usual leaders – Lucas Mininni, Bekiers and third baseman Michael Clark.

“Lucas is always encouraging us in the dugout to improve and have more energy,” Bekiers said.

Said St. George: “Christian always tells us the game is behind us and we have to play hard this next game.”

Bekiers, who hasn’t cut his long hair since Massapequa began its run, is also the resident DJ, tasked with keeping the playlist full of pumping music.

“We play a lot of old New York rappers, like Biggie. We love ‘Juicy’ and ‘Hypnotize’. When we won New York, our coaches told us we were tough in New York,” he said of Empire State-centric hip hop.

Clark, the coach’s son and resident dance initiator and fashion man, keeps the team free and laughing.

“I couldn’t even tell you what he does. He does random stuff, but gives us a lot of energy,” Bekiers said.

The boys had an easy day swimming and resting and, of course, watching Saturday night’s game to find out more about their next opponent.

“The teams played in the same region as us. They are two very good teams,” Biekers said. “But if we play our game, I think we got them.”

New York Post

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