They hadn’t celebrated all season long. They refused to. No win mattered except the final one.
A season that started in March, with players bundled up outside in the snow, culminated into something special as the weather warmed up over the course of the season. The Tuckers battled, grew closer and brought home the ultimate goal: a state championship.
With senior Marcos Perivolaris on the mound, the Tuckers brought home the first state Class B championship in Mattituck history, knocking off the Livonia Bulldogs, 4-1 at SUNY Broome Community College on Saturday afternoon.
Water bottles went flying, as did hats and gloves, as the Tuckers (27-1) stormed the field following the final out recorded unassisted by Ian Nish at first base. It was the moment that had all waited for. It was finally time to dog pile.
“I know we went through more than any other team,” Perivolaris said. “How hard we worked when things got rough, whether it was the weather or when we didn’t get certain calls like today. Stuff happens and you’ve got to make sure you keep a level head.”
Perivolaris and his teammates were on a mission all season. It was all business for him and that bled over to his final start in his high school career. He cruised through six innings without giving up a run before Chris Dwyer shut the door in the seventh inning. Perivolaris let the Bulldogs (25-2) hit the ball in play and his defense took care of the rest. The Tuckers didn’t allow an error all game.
“This team sacrificed everything,” Tuckers head coach Steve DeCaro said, right before he was pummeled by a bucket of ice. “While other people went out on Friday nights, they didn’t, knowing they had early Saturday practice. They’re the ones that practiced in the snow. They’re the ones that practiced five hours a day and then lifted weights. That’s sacrifice.”
Though Mattituck didn’t put up the usual offensive outburst, they scored when they needed to. DeCaro said he needed Ian Nish to have a big game for them to win and he did just that, lacing a double in the third inning with two outs to bring in two crucial runs for the Tuckers offense. He went two-for-three on the day.
“I knew it was one of my last at bats for Mattituck and I wasn’t going to leave this field without a win,” Nish said, with his eyes puffed up. “I’m crying cause I’m happy. I don’t like to show my emotion on the field but we just worked so hard to get to this point.”
Joe Tardif scored the two other runs for the offense in the top of the fourth inning on a bloop single to right field. He, along with Dan Fedun, are the only Mattituck players in history to win a state championship in both soccer and baseball.
“I can’t even describe what’s going on in my head right now,” Tardif said. “I don’t even feel like this is happening. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m surrounded by a great group of guys.”
Some of the best players in Mattituck baseball history will move on with their lives as they graduate. Marcos Perivolaris, Chris Dwyer, and Ian and James Nish will leave a legacy that will forever live on with the history of this program.
“We’ve had some great baseball players go through this program but never a group like this,” DeCaro said. “This is the best group of players to ever play for Mattituck.”
All that is left is a long 5-hour bus ride back home to Mattituck to celebrate with the town that stuck by them through all the ups and downs.
“It will be a long bus ride home but at least we get to celebrate,” Perivolaris said.
The first true celebration of the season.
SoutholdLOCAL photos by Peter Blasl.