OK, so that's not a Long time, but it's enough to qualify for craw-stuck status when basketball (four) and football (three) are enjoying great success.
In beautiful weather at scenic Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, Long twirled a three-hitter with eight strikeouts and one walk as the Explorers subdued Council Rock South, of Bucks County, 3-1. The 6-foot, 190-pound senior righthander retired 15 of the final 16 batters, a run of dominance that included the final 12.
As the seventh proceeded, admittedly in short fashion, a La Salle parent kept yelling, "Our time!" Right before Long punched out the final batter, the guy expanded his rallying cry. "Our time! Right here! Right now!"
After getting that final out, Long displayed respectable vertical leap while jumping into catcher Corey Baiada's arms (think Michael Jack/Tugger; pitcher's roles reversed) and . . . oh, baby, there dashed the teammates to create a pileup.
Gloves flew skyward. Tears of joy flowed. Third baseman Mike Piscopo ran over to the stands behind that bag and reached over the railing to exchange hugs with his father. Other joyous fathers stepped forward and received the same treatment.
Back near the plate, coach Joe Parisi was embraced by several players/coaches and a fan noticed a stone-faced look. The guy yelled down joyously, "Hey, coach, look happy for us!!" Parisi smiled and mouthed, "I am!"
Soon, Piscopo and Baiada, the co-captains, were accepting the trophy and Parisi was telling the seniors they should take turns displaying it to the spectators. The kids playfully fought each other to be among the first and, oops, a little hunk of gold popped off the player at the front of the trophy.
It was the little guy's bat.
"We slid it back in," second baseman Colin Pyne said, laughing.
Long had pitched six innings Monday in a semifinal win over Hatboro-Horsham. Ordinarily, high school pitchers enjoy 6 to 7 days between starts.
Recommendation to Kevin Long, a Horsham resident bound for Lehigh: Go on 3 days' rest for the rest of your baseball life.
"He was absolutely dominant," Baiada said. "He knew exactly what he had to do and he did it. Incredible job. All his pitches were on. He goes fastball, slider and changeup and there's no real consistency to what the percentages are each game."
Said Parisi: "Kevin showed good ability and so much guts. It's hard to describe the passion he displayed. He was going to do everything he could [on the mound] to win us this game. No question. He was the best player on the field. He did what good pitchers do: took command of the game himself."
While La Salle was batting in the seventh, shortstop Dom Cuoci trotted down to the bullpen and had a spirited warmup session.
"I told Kevin, 'I have no intention of using him,' " Parisi said. " 'He's only throwing if you get in a lot of trouble, and that ain't happening.' He said, 'Coach, I got it. Don't worry about it.' "
Long said he threw no pitches Tuesday through Thursday.
"I didn't touch a ball," he added, smiling. "Didn't even have a catch. I just completely rested my arm and got the rest of my body ready. After Monday's game, I drank a lot of fluids. I felt good, despite the short rest. It's nice and warm by this time of the season. I was loose."
Early, there was a hint of uh-oh in the air as South's second and third batters produced singles, and a passed ball moved them up. Long fanned Jeff Miller and Dan Callahan grounded out to first baseman Chris Melillo.
The one run scored in the fourth. Centerfielder Ryan Otis had trouble with Zak Gross' liner (three-base error) and Kane Price lofted a sac fly.
After blitzing through the middle part of South's order in the sixth, Long looked pumped.
"I knew if I could get through 4-5-6, it would be 7-8-9 for the seventh, and that would be to my advantage," he explained. "Thank God, it went the right way."
La Salle scored once in the second (RBI single by Pyne; low liner to center) and twice in the fourth (RBI singles by Piscopo and Cuoci to right-center and left-center, respectively).
Baiada started the second uprising, which might have been even more productive had Long not missed a squeeze sign (Piscopo got nabbed trying to return to third), with a rope of a double to right-center.
"I forget what the first pitch was," Baiada said, "but my mentality was that he'd have to bounce back with a fastball. Sure enough, he did. Then it becomes, 'Hit it hard somewhere. Do your job as a hitter.' "
La Salle finished 25-3, and one of its setbacks came vs. Ss. Neumann-Goretti for the Catholic League title. The Explorers then captured the AAAA City Title over Frankford and posted four wins in the state playoffs.
"No one knew whether we were capable of this," Long said. "In the end, we were."
And no thumbs were twiddled, to boot. The game lasted 1 hour, 45 minutes, and Long routinely cut loose with pitches 3 to 4 seconds after gloving Baiada's return throws.
"I don't want to put my fielders on their heels," he said. "I like them up on their toes."
Ultimately, every part of every kid's body was part of the championship pile.
The git-'er-done ball's back in your court, football/basketball guys.
Contact Ted Silary at email@example.com. High school coverage online at www.philly.com/rally.