The Westhampton Beach baseball team is just three wins away from clinching a Class A postseason berth, though the Hurricanes have bigger things to worry about this week—namely a three-game series against first-place Comsewogue.
As of Tuesday morning, before the start of the series, the Hurricanes (7-2) trailed the Warriors (8-1) by a single game in the standings. If Westhampton Beach can sweep Comsewogue this week, not only will it take over first place, but it’ll clinch a coveted playoff spot as well.
“We’re very happy where we’re sitting right now,” Westhampton Beach head coach Tom Hoare said Sunday. “We have a big series ahead of us this week and it will tell a lot of where we are.”
Last week, the Canes took two of three from Islip. After dropping the first game, 5-3, at home on April 13, Westhampton Beach won the second game, 5-1, at Islip on April 15. The Hurricanes then won the final game of the series, 8-4, at home last Thursday, April 16.
Zach Downs pitched a complete game in the 5-1 win at Islip. He scattered six hits and two walks and struck out 11 to improve to 3-0 on the season. In his past two outings, Downs has come through with quality starts after his team had dropped the first games in each series.
“Zach has really been lights out,” Hoare said.
In 19 innings this season, Downs has only allowed one earned run while giving up 12 hits and five walks. He has accumulated 24 strikeouts over that span.
In his most recent outing, Downs was helped out by a bases-clearing double in the third inning by his battery-mate, catcher Jeff Dalder. It gave Westhampton Beach a commanding 4-0 lead. Dan McEvoy was 2 for 4 in the win.
In the series finale, the teams were tied at 2-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning until the Canes exploded for six runs on four hits, two walks and a sacrifice fly. Mike Pesce was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Nick Arpino tossed six innings, allowing two earned runs on a walk and four hits.
Hoare noted that he has liked his team’s defense all season long, and not just in the series against Islip.
“Our fielding has been every good,” he said. “We made one error in game two. Game three we made one error. We’re always looking to field the baseball and not make any errors, but to go through a game and just make one, that’s still a pretty good job.”
Westhampton Beach was scheduled to face Comsewogue on Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting the series finale today, Thursday, April 23, at 4 p.m. The Canes then start a three-game series with Rocky Point on Monday, April 27. Game two will be at home on Wednesday, April 29, with the finale back in Rocky Point the following day. All games are scheduled to start at 4 p.m.