Timely hitting with two outs, solid pitching and stout defense all helped propel the Westhampton Beach baseball team to victory twice in three games last week against Sayville.
Following a 2-0 loss at home on April 6, the Hurricanes rebounded with a 4-3 win at Sayville on April 8 and then took the series finale, 8-3, at home the following day. The victories improved Westhampton Beach to 5-1 in League VI play, just one game out of first place behind undefeated Comsewogue.
“Sayville is a good team. They’re going to win a lot of games and to take two of three from them is big,” Westhampton Beach head coach Tom Hoare said. “There are no easy teams in League VI this year. Every team thinks they could make the playoffs.
“Right now we’re sitting in second place—that’s a good spot to be in,” he continued.
Westhampton Beach took a 1-0 lead in the third inning of the second game of the series when Ernie Geraci grounded out and drove in Dan McEvoy, who had tripled earlier, from third base.
The Hurricanes added two more runs in the fourth inning, all with two outs. McEvoy singled in Ben Osborne, who had reached on a walk earlier in the inning. Then Geraci singled in Jake Vierra. Geraci later added a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh to stretch the lead to 4-0.
“Ernie has been consistently putting together professional at-bats for us,” Hoare said of the senior. “He’s constantly doing what he needs to do, whether it’s hitting a ground ball to the right side to get a run in, or a sac fly. And he’s been doing it for the past couple of years.”
Zach Downs pitched five solid innings of shutout ball in which he allowed only four hits and one walk while striking out six. Hoare noted that had the weather not been so cold and damp, he would have left Downs in the game longer. Instead he went to Mike Pesce, who pitched a scoreless sixth inning, but then allowed three runs in the seventh.
Sayville had the tying and go-ahead runs on second and third, respectively, but Pesce was able to induce the final out on a ground ball to first base.
McEvoy finished the game 2 for 4 with a triple and a single. Geraci was 1 for 2 with two RBIs.
Sayville took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning of the series finale last Thursday, April 9, but the Canes erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fifth to claim the lead for good. With the game already tied at 2-2, Jeff Dalder smacked a double to right center field to make it 4-2. Then Pesce hit another two-run double to give the Canes a 6-2 lead.
Starting pitcher Nick Arpino allowed two runs in six innings, scattering seven hits while giving up three walks and striking out four. Geraci made his first ever appearance on the mound and pitched a clean seventh inning.
Pesce went 2 for 3 at the plate with a double and two RBIs. Dalder went 1 for 2 with his double and two RBIs.
Westhampton Beach began a three-game set with Islip on Monday and game two was set to take place on Wednesday afternoon. The final game of the series is scheduled for today, Thursday, April 16, at home, with the first pitch coming at 4 p.m.
The Canes will battle first-place Comsewogue next week, with game one coming at home on Monday, April 20. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. Game two will be at Comsewogue on Wednesday, April 22, also at 4 p.m., and game three will be back at Westhampton Beach the following day, again at 4 p.m.