No matter where the two teams are in their progression, the Hampton Bays and Southampton baseball teams always play each other tough, which was evident in the three-game series between the two teams last week.
Hampton Bays took the first game of the series, 3-0, on April 14 in Southampton, defeating arguably one of the Mariner’s top starting pitchers in Garrett Pike. The Mariners came back to take games two and three, winning, 4-1, on April 15 at Baseball Heaven and, 6-5, in Southampton on Saturday. Southampton improved to 4-5 in League VIII with the series win, while Hampton Bays fell to 1-8.
Hampton Bays head coach Pete Meehan said that even though his team lost the series, he liked the way his team played, for the most part; the Baymen made seven errors in the series finale which helped Southampton win the game. Hampton Bays started the season against Mattituck and Babylon, which, as of Tuesday morning, were a combined 18-0 to start the season. Meehan is looking for better things from his team moving forward.
“It was a good series. It was pretty clean and there was a close run differential in all three games,” he said. “Our defensive woes in game three were disappointing, but I like my team. I start two freshmen and two sophomores and they’re playing well.”
Southampton head coach Scott Johnson could not be reached for comment this week.
Game one of the series featured what could be called the aces of both squads, Pike against Bayman Tim Frost. Frost simply got the best of Pike and in more ways than one. After Ryan Gunn singled to lead off the game, Frost launched a two-run home run in the first inning—the last hit that Pike allowed the rest of the game. Frost then went on to pitch a three-hit shutout, with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Louis Puccio and Nick Knobel put in another good pitching performance for Hampton Bays and Southampton, respectively, in the second game of the series. Both pitchers were hurling shutouts through the first four innings, but Southampton came through with two runs in the fifth, then Nick Petty hit a solo home run to right field in the sixth to provide some insurance for Knobel, who struck out nine in the complete-game win. Cameron DiPierro drove in the Baymen’s lone run with a ground out that scored Jeremy Bradley, who had doubled to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning.
Puccio put the Baymen ahead in the series finale with a three-run homer in the first inning, his second dinger of the season. Southampton rebounded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first, then Hampton Bays scored two runs in the top of the second to take a 5-3 lead. The Mariners scored the game’s final three runs between the fourth and fifth innings to take the lead for good.
Extra! Extra! For the first time in Meehan’s 23-year tenure as head coach, the baseball program dropped its junior varsity program due to declining numbers. When the season started, there were 26 players between both JV and varsity, and after some injuries and some players who decided to quit, there simply weren’t enough bodies to field both teams. The players that were remaining on JV were brought up to varsity and, as of Sunday, the Baymen’s roster was set at 15, with six of them being call-ups from JV.
“Make no mistake about it, I like them. They’re 15 good kids,” Meehan said. “They respect the game and play it the right way.
“Baseball is struggling,” he added. “We have a lot of things to offer now. Lacrosse is certainly an attraction, and other sports don’t demand as much of a commitment as baseball does.”