The Hampton Bays baseball team came into its series against Bayport/Blue Point losers of five straight games and was still searching for its first series win of the season. The Phantoms, who are having an erratic season themselves, seemed to be a good team for the Baymen to face in their attempt to turn their season around.
The Baymen (2-10 League VII, 2-11 overall) lost the first game of a doubleheader at home on April 22 8-0 to open the three-game series but bounced back and won the second game 3-1. In the final game of the series on Thursday, the Hampton Bays offense awoke from what would seem like a season long slump, but could not win the game losing 14-13, at Bayport/Blue Point.
In the 8-0 loss to the Phantoms, the Baymen got some good starting pitching from Rich Pecoraro, who was coming back after having a week off because of a sore arm. Pecoraro was strong in three innings of work, but three errors in the fourth inning, which allowed five unearned runs, ended his day on the mound.
Hampton Bays head coach Pete Meehan said that his team didn’t support Pecoraro offensively and that he pitched well enough to win the game.
Jake Brown shut out the Baymen offense, going the distance and giving up just four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts. “We got down five runs early but we tried coming back,” Meehan said. “Brown was pretty stingy though.”
Pecoraro and James Ariola went 2 for 3 at the plate for the Baymen.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Bayport-Blue Point started its ace Kyle Greiner, so the Baymen knew it was going to be tough to avoid the sweep of the doubleheader and another series loss.
Joey Simmons, however, pitched what Meehan called the team’s “best game of the season” throwing all seven innings and giving up only six hits and no walks. He was also on top of his game at the plate.
In the sixth inning, Michael Glass led off by getting hit with a pitch and Billy Altman followed with a single. With two strikes on Pecoraro, Meehan called for a double steal and it worked, although Pecoraro struck out. With runners on second and third and one out, Bayport/Blue Point elected to intentionally walk David Steers. Simmons then came to the dish and hit a double to right center field to drive Glass and Altman in with the go-ahead runs. David Van Scoy was then hit by a pitch to reload the bases. Chris Raimo came up to pinch hit and hit into a fielder’s choice to bring in Steers for the third run of the game.
“To play a doubleheader and score in one inning, we’ll take the split,” Meehan said. “Especially to beat their number-one guy and get the timely hit that we’ve been looking for. It was a much needed win.”
Altman and Pecoraro were both 2 for 3 each and accounted for four of Hampton Bay’s six hits. Meehan especially liked the way his team played defense, turning few double plays in key spots of the game.
“We’ve been battling,” he said. “When we’ve pitched, we haven’t hit and when we’ve hit we haven’t pitched. We haven’t had any margin of error and we need to play clean in order to win.”
In the final game of the series on Thursday, both teams came out swinging the bats, but it was Hampton Bays’ defense that turned what could have been a blowout win to a loss.
Three first-inning errors spotted Bayport-Blue Point five runs, but the Baymen were able to cut that lead down, scoring two runs of their own in the top of the second. The Phantoms added two runs in the bottom portion of the inning to take a 7-2 lead. Hampton Bays would add four runs in the third inning and five runs in the fourth to go up 11-7, but the Phantoms put seven more runs on the board in the sixth inning and that put the Baymen in too much of a hole.
Meehan took much of the blame for the loss, stating that he left Glass on the mound for too long. Even though he was doing well, Meehan could see that he was laboring and said he should have pulled him earlier.
“We hit for seven innings,” he said. “It was our best offensive game of the year, and it was a game I thought we were capable of having, but we just picked the wrong game to be real generous defensively.”
Seven errors and eight walks led to the loss for Hampton Bays, though they did have 13 runs on 18 hits. Simmons went 4 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Pecoraro was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs as well. Glass, Ariola and Steve Vlahadamis all chipped in with two hits each.
Unless they win the rest of their nine games, the Baymen will miss the playoffs.
“Unfortunately, it’s all inconsistencies, not at all a lack of effort or lack of care,” Meehan said. “With the break, they committed themselves to a week of baseball and a week of getting better.”
The Baymen were supposed to start a non-league, three-game set in Westhampton Beach on Monday but the game was rained out and rescheduled for Tuesday. The second game of the series was set for Wednesday and the final game will be on Friday at the Center Moriches Baseball Complex at 7 p.m.