The Center Moriches baseball team has won eight of its last nine games, dating back to April 7.
After winning the first game of their series at Mercy, 10-3, on April 15, the Red Devils (8-4 League VIII, 8-5 overall) lost the second game of the series, 12-6, at home the following day. But Center Moriches came back and won the series on April 18 during a return trip to Mercy with a 9-7 win in the final game.
The Red Devils then began a series at Pierson on Monday and won that game, 7-3. The Red Devils hosted a doubleheader on Tuesday, winning the first game, 8-3, before coming back in a big way with a 13-12 win in extra innings, erasing what had been a 12-4 deficit. It was the third straight series that Center Moriches won.
In the second game of the series with Mercy on April 16, Joe Gonzales took the loss for Center Moriches. Tom Tenaglia went 3 for 4 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored to lead Mercy.
In the final game of the series, it was all Ryan Kunsch, as he hit for a natural cycle, getting a single, double, triple, and home run all in succession. His triple in the fourth inning cut a five-run deficit to a two-run deficit, and his home run in the top of the sixth inning tied the game at seven runs apiece. Kunsch then walked in his final at bat, stole second base and then scored the eventual winning run as Billy Banducci singled him home in the bottom of the eighth inning.
“I was just having that type of day,” Kunsch said of his performance. “One of those days where if I said I was going to hit a home run, I could hit a home run. Everything just came to me. I was excited to play that day, and I just felt like I wasn’t going to get out.”
Mike Davis came in to pitch five scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. He only allowed two hits.
On Monday, Gonzales came back from his loss against Mercy and pitched two and 2/3 innings of hitless relief to get the win for the Red Devils in extra innings. Kunsch came through once again with a two-RBI double in the top of the ninth inning to give Center Moriches a 5-3 lead. Gonzales hit his second home run of the season in the seventh inning.
Tuesday was a tale of two games for the Red Devils, although they won both games. In the morning game, Gonzales and Dylan Simpson hit back-to-back, two-run doubles to cap a six run first inning. Kunsch allowed just two earned runs in the complete game victory.
The afternoon game offered much more drama, as the Red Devils were down, 12-4, after four innings. But poor fielding by Pierson and timely hitting by the Red Devils led to a 12-12 tie after seven innings, when Pierson shortstop Joe Mascali committed an error to allow the tying run to score.
Kunsch said that his team was probably a little over-confident because they had beaten Pierson in the first two games of the series, but added that he and his teammates were confident they could pull off the improbable comeback win because they knew they were the better team.
And that’s exactly what they did, as Banducci singled to start the bottom of the ninth inning. After an error on Pierson second baseman Noah Feinberg on a pop up, runners were now on first and second. Davis then came up to the plate and hit a ground ball to Pierson third baseman Mike DePetris. DePetris caught the ball, tried to tag out Banducci, who was running from second to third, but Banducci was able to scoot around the tag and load the bases. With two outs, Chris Del Gaudio drew a walk to bring home the winning run.
Center Moriches is now in second place in the League VIII standings. The Red Devils will start a series against Stony Brook on Tuesday at home at 4:30 p.m.
The Colonials were dealt the tough task of facing some of the best League I teams in the first half of the season as they have played their last three series against Lindenhurst, Patchogue-Medford and Sachem East, the top three teams in the league.
William Floyd lost the first game of the Patchogue-Medford series away on April 14, 12-3, and then lost the second game of the series at home, 16-6, on April 15. The Colonials then lost the series finale, 6-5, back at Patchogue-Medford on April 17. They then opened up their series against Sachem East on Monday with a loss at home, 4-3, and then won at Sachem East, 10-1, on Tuesday.
Heading into the fifth inning in the final game against Patchogue-Medford, the Colonials were clinging to a 5-3 lead. The Raiders came back, though, when Nick Monaco hit a walk-off single scoring Joe Pasqualino to win the game. Monaco was 3 for 3 with two RBIs. Ed Balzer pitched the complete game for the Colonials and head coach Glenn Davis was very happy with the outing he had.
“He battled the entire game,” he said. “He pitched well enough to win the game.”
In the first game of the Sachem East series on Monday, the Colonials were down, 3-1, early in the game, but came back to tie it in the bottom of the sixth inning. However, Sachem East would score the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning when Ryan Digiose singled home Rob Sterry. Keith McCormick started the game for the Colonials, but it was Bryan Terry who took the tough loss as the winning run was unearned.
William Floyd came back and stopped an eight-game losing streak behind the arm of Kevin Earlie on Tuesday. He threw just 75 pitches in a one-hit complete game win. Earlie also went 2 for 4 at the plate.
The Colonials finished up their series with Sachem East yesterday at home. They will start a series in Brentwood on Monday at 4 p.m.