The Port Washington Vikings baseball team will take a swing at its first-ever county title after sophomore pitcher Christian Schwirzbin allowed only one run to defeat Oceanside in the semifinals Monday.
The Vikings closed out the three-game series against Oceanside with an 11-1 score, which matched their winning score in the first game of the series. Oceanside won Game 2 by 4-3.
Port Washington won the games against Oceanside in a run-rule victory, meaning the team leading by 10 runs wins the game before it reaches completion.
Schwirzbin, typically the lefty reliever, filled in for Derek Livingston, who was injured. Coach Matt Holzer described the sophomore’s pitching as “phenomenal.”
He said the team’s offense also performed really well.
Senior Adam Jackman said the team’s pitching rotation has been “unstoppable.” Senior Alex Chiang and Livingston are among the top high school pitchers on Long Island, Jackman said, and “when you have that potent a combination” it is tough to beat them in back-to-back games.
The team will now face defending state champion Massapequa on Friday at SUNY Old Westbury in the Nassau County Class AA championship series. Port Washington has not played on the county level since 1969, according to Newsday.
Holzer said this year’s team is “a combination of not only physical talent but has an incredible work ethic.”
When asked how this year’s players compared with other years, Holzer said the players are willing to sacrifice personal records for team success.
“They put the team before themselves,” the coach since 2010 said.
Jackman echoed his coach in saying the team’s strong point is “our belief in each other.”
He attributed this year’s success partly to the team’s “competitive spirit and grit.”
About taking on Massapequa, Jackman said, “We don’t take our underdog mentality lightly.”
He said while Massapequa is competing for its third title in a row and will come out with a lot of “fire power,” the Vikings are going to bring their best pitching and fight their hardest.
Port Washington enters the tournament with a 21-4 record, and Massapequa is 19-4. The team that wins the best out of three games will take home the title.
The second game of the championship series will be held at SUNY Old Westbury on Saturday at 4 p.m., and if a third game is necessary it will be on Monday evening.
Jackman said this year’s success has been especially exciting for him after he spent last year on the bench due to surgery.
He came back on the field this year in a new position for him: outfielder. He previously played as a pitcher.
The graduating senior said the experience taught him resilience and to find grit and get back on the field.
“It’s been a really fun ride,” Jackman said.