The East Hampton baseball team knew that its recent three-game series against Amityville was going to be a crucial one.
After starting the year with a 0-6 record in League VI play, the Bonackers knew they couldn’t afford to lose a single game to the traditionally weak Warriors if they wanted to keep any hope alive of finishing with an even record and making a return to the Class A postseason.
East Hampton took care of business, getting the sweep last week to improve to 3-6 in the league, 4-7 overall, and head coach Ed Bahns said he was pleased to see his players improve upon what has been poor defense and fielding.
The Bonackers have been hitting well throughout the season and continued that in the first game against Amityville, taking a 17-9 win on the road on April 14. Two days later, senior pitcher Liam Lee had what Bahns said was his best performance in two years, going the distance in a 9-0 win. Lee allowed five hits and had six strikeouts and did not issue any walks in the seven-inning effort.
“He did an excellent job,” Bahns said. “The nice part was the no walks. We’ve been averaging six or seven walks per game and when guys get on base without having to even swing the bat, it’s difficult to keep them from scoring.”
East Hampton also had just one error, which Bahns also said was good to see. The Bonackers shot themselves in the foot numerous times in their earlier losses with miscues in the field. Bahns acknowledged that Amityville is the weakest team in the league, but said he was still impressed with the defensive effort over the course of the series.
“They swung the bats and put the ball in play, so we still had to make plays,” he said. “It was a pleasant relief to have the guys field the ball consistently and make good throws. If we can do that, we’ll be in most of our games.”
Tyler Davis had a strong effort on offense, continuing what has been an overall good hitting season for him. He went 3 for 5 in the second game and along with Lee and Brent Davis, came up with key hits in the latter stages of the game, when East Hampton scored the bulk of its runs.
In the final game, East Hampton used another late-game burst on offense to come away with a 10-3 win. The teams were knotted at 3-3 to start the sixth inning before East Hampton scored four runs to take a 7-3 advantage. Nick Jarboe and pinch hitter David Hansen had key hits in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, to give their team some breathing room.
“I told the guys before the sixth that we can’t keep this team hanging around,” Bahns said. “I told them we were in a situation where we really needed to win.”
Freshman Dylan Carroza picked up his first varsity pitching win in that final game.
Although the Bonackers accomplished their goal against Amityville, getting to the playoffs will still be a tall order for them. East Hampton had three three-game series remaining on its slate, starting Monday at home against Miller Place. In order to finish with the .500 record that is the requirement for getting into the playoffs, the Bonackers need to win six of their final nine games. Although he knows it will be tough, Bahns said that getting the sweep against Amityville at least kept the door open.
“It put us in position,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough task, but if we can play consistently and minimize our mistakes, we have a chance to play with these guys.”
East Hampton will visit Miller Place today for a 4:30 p.m. game and will host the Panthers to close out the series tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.