Coming into the 2022 season, nobody knew what to expect from the Port Washington Vikings Baseball team. In 2019, the last complete season for the team, Port was nearly perfect and made it to the Nassau County Finals for the first time in several decades. In 2021, the Vikings struggled, failing to reach the playoffs. The up-and-down nature of the program made it challenging to place faith in the team, but the players had confidence in their abilities going in to this year.
This swagger was evident in the preseason matchups for the boys. Starting with a scrimmage against Roslyn, the Vikings went on a combined 9-0 run in seven scrimmages and two non-league games. Defeating teams like Garden City, who are the reigning Long Island champions in their division, Manhasset and North Shore gave Port a running start in their first league game against the Massapequa Chiefs, last year’s Nassau County champions.
“Along with our offseason workouts, the strong preseason gave us a lot of confidence going into our series against Massapequa,” said senior pitcher and outfielder Drew Basulto. “We knew they would be tough opponents, but we believed in our chances to steal a game or two from them.”
Massapequa proved to be ready to defend their title, sweeping the Vikings in the 3-game set, and winning the games by a combined 30 runs. It was a rude awakening for the team, but Port was determined to bounce back in their next series against Farmingdale. Their drive was clear early on, as they took a 4-4 tie ballgame into extra innings in game one. At the end of nine innings, the Vikings would fall in a nail-biter, 6-4. Despite the loss, it was clear that the squad was improving.
“I could see that the team rallied together after the Massapequa series. While we couldn’t beat Farmingdale, we definitely improved both mentally and physically between the two series,” said sophomore pitcher Jeffery Radinsky.
Even with their improvements, the Vikings couldn’t get over the hump against the Dalers, losing 6-4 in the next game. In the third and final game of the series, after carrying a 5-3 lead into the seventh and final inning, Farmingdale stormed back and won 6-5 after a walk-off single. While the series was a step in the right direction, no player was satisfied with the moral victories of the week.
Entering their third series against Syosset, Port was hungry for a win. Visiting the Braves at their home field, the Vikings jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and took a 3-1 lead behind the stellar pitching of sophomore Parker Workman. However, the game got away from them, and they allowed Syosset to come back and take a 4-3 lead. The boys couldn’t get the big play they needed to take the lead again and fell to 0-7 in another close loss.
The Vikings were ready to break into the win column behind the arm of senior Michael Andrew. Andrew threw a gem, shutting out the Braves through six innings. In the bottom of the sixth, with the score knotted at 0, sophomore Anthony Iuorio dropped down a beautiful RBI bunt single to bring home the first run of the game, and the Vikings would tack on two more before the inning ended. Andrew would lock down the game in the seventh, and Port would enter the win column with a 3-1 victory. The Vikings will work to build on this success and make the playoffs from here on out.
“I’m really proud of the guys on this team,” said Varsity Coach Matt Holzer. “It’s been an up-and-down season so far, but that hasn’t impacted the work within or the buy-in from the players. They practice hard every day and support each other like a family. I think all of their hard work will pay off in the second half of the season.”