The Eastport South Manor baseball team swept Harborfields last week, and got a little help from Miller Place, en route to its third consecutive league title and first League VI title. They had won the League V title in the last two seasons before realignment of the leagues in Suffolk County placed them in League VI this year.
Coming into the final week of the regular season, ESM and Sayville were neck-and-neck for the regular season crown. With ESM (14-4 League VI, 16-4 overall) playing Harborfields (5-13 League VI, 7-13 overall), and Sayville (13-5 League VI, 14-6 overall) playing Miller Place (12-6 League VI, 13-7), the odds favored the Sharks, but the games still had to be played. After winning the first game of the series, 5-0, at Harborfields on May 6, the Sharks returned home to defeat the Tornadoes, 10-1, on May 8, then took the series finale, 14-1, back at Harborfields on Thursday, May 9. Sayville, meanwhile, lost two of three games to playoff-bound Miller Place, enabling ESM to take sole possession of the League VI title.
With undefeated Bayport/Blue Point (20-0 League VII) taking the top seed in the Suffolk County Class A bracket, the Sharks earned the second seed and were scheduled to host Elwood/John Glenn, the seventh seed, on Wednesday, in what was the opening round of the playoffs, which follows a double-elimination format. The winner of Wednesday’s game—which occurred too late to appear in this week’s issue of The Press—will play Friday at 4 p.m. against the winner of the Sayville vs. Shoreham/Wading River game at the higher seed’s home location. Go to 27east.com for the most current results.
As for last week’s games, ESM received two great pitching performances in the final two games of the series from two juniors, John Maccio and Steve Arnsten. Maccio pitched the first four innings in the 14-1 win on May 9 and only allowed a hit before turning things over to senior Connor Brandow, who pitched the final three innings. Arnsten pitched a complete game in the 10-1 victory.
ESM head coach Matt Salmon has been very pleased with what is a young pitching staff. Maccio, Arnsten and fellow junior starting pticher Joe Mattero are all first-year varsity players but have led the team to the playoffs once again. And this has all been with senior starting pitcher Pat Gallagher missing the past three weeks due to injury.
“They work hard, those guys. They work hard in the offseason, they work hard for us in practice,” Salmon said. “There’s a learning process when you come up on varsity and they all came up to speed pretty quickly. They’re calm enough on the mound now and they’re not overwhelmed.”
ESM’s offense took it to the Harborfields pitching staff last week. The Sharks put up six runs in the fourth inning of the 14-1 win. Junior Mike Shine went 2 for 3 with a walk while junior Mike Burkhardt also had a multiple-hit game. Junior Mat Annunziata hit a home run.
In the 10-1 victory, Burkhardt went 2 for 3 with a double, four RBIs and a run scored while Shine was 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs.