Twenty-five years ago, with the help of a future Major Leaguer in Keith Osik, the Shoreham-Wading River baseball team won the 1987 Long Island championship in Class B.
As the Wildcats take the field at 4 p.m. today at Dowling Sports Complex against Plainedge, Osik’s son Tyler, a sophomore, will be with them. And the Wildcats will be looking to clinch their first Long Island title since that magical run in ’87 ended in a state championship.
Last Wednesday’s win over Bayport-Blue Point marked the fifth county title for Shoreham since ’87. But the L.I. title has proved elusive. Last year the Wildcats lost to Division, 7-1. After a leadoff home run on the game’s second pitch, the Wildcats never scored again.
Against Plainedge today the Wildcats will face a team that has put together an improbable playoff run that started over three weeks ago. Plainedge, the No. 16 seed in the Nassau Class A tournament, barreled through five teams to win the county title. The Nassau county tournament, unlike in Suffolk, features a best-of-three series in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Suffolk is a straight double-elimination tournament.
So by no means has the Red Devils’ run been a fluke.
Plainedge took out Glen Cove and North Shore before winning beat-of-three series against Clarke, South Side and Island Trees in the finals. The Red Devils lost Game 1 of the county finals before storming back to win the next two.
In total the Red Devils have played 10 playoff games already. The Wildcats, meanwhile, needed five games to win their second straight Suffolk Class A title.
The Wildcats have faced their share of adversity. After losing to Bayport-Blue Point May 23, the Wildcats needed to win three straight games, beginning with a home game against Sayville. They followed a win over the Flashes with two victories against Bayport.
The Shoreham boys and girls lacrosse teams both won Long Island titles over the weekend. A win today against Plainedge from the baseball team and Shoreham would become the first school with L.I. champions in each sport since Garden City did it in 2000. No Suffolk school has ever had three L.I. champions in the same season between lacrosse and baseball.