The Westhampton Beach baseball team is for real this season.
Going into last week’s series with Comsewogue, the Hurricanes needed to win two of three games to at least pull themselves into a tie with the first place Warriors, and that’s exactly what they did. Westhampton Beach improved to 9-3 on the season and, as of Monday morning, need one more win to clinch a berth into the Suffolk County Class A postseason.
While making the playoffs is almost a lock for the Canes, head coach Tom Hoare said the final stretch won’t be easy. Westhampton Beach has its final three-game series of the season this week with a Rocky Point team (5-7) that is fighting for a playoff spot itself. The Canes will then play one game against each League VI opponent in the final two weeks of the season. That includes Sayville, a team which has picked it up as of late, and a game at Comsewogue on Monday, May 11, which could determine the league champion.
“It looks like it’s going to be a real dogfight,” Hoare said of the final weeks of the season.
The Hurricanes won the series finale, 2-1, at home over Comsewogue on Thursday, April 23, behind a strong pitching effort from junior Nick Arpino, who threw a complete game. He allowed one run on four hits and three strikeouts, and Arpino also helped himself out at the plate. He hit the first of back-to-back, run-scoring singles—with the second from senior Dan McEvoy—in the third inning to give Westhampton Beach a 2-0 lead.
Comsewogue scored its lone run in the sixth inning, but Arpino shut the Warriors down the rest of the way to earn the victory. The game was finished in a quick hour and 20 minutes.
The Canes lost game two of the series, 9-6, at Comsewogue on April 22. The game was called due to rain in the sixth inning making it an official game; five innings of play are needed to be called an official game. Hoare had a discussion with the umpires that the game should have been suspended and finished at a later date but to no avail. He may have been onto something though; a total of five batters were hit throughout the game, four of them being from Westhampton Beach.
“It started raining in the second inning and it just got heavier. From my point of view, we shouldn’t have kept playing,” Hoare said. “[Comsewogue] handled the weather better than we did.”
Jeff Dalder, a junior, was hit by a pitch twice, doubled and drove in two runs in the loss. McEvoy also doubled. Westhampton Beach drew seven walks to go along with the four hit batsmen.
Westhampton Beach won the first game of the series, 5-4, at home on April 21. Comsewogue came back and tied the game at 4-4 in the third inning, but the Canes regained the lead in the fifth inning. Mike Pesce hit a ground ball up the middle of the infield on which the Comsewogue shortstop made a nice play to get a force out at second base, but it drove in James Carbone from third base with the go-ahead run. Pesce then relieved starting pitcher Jake Bramwell in the sixth inning and went on to get the two-inning save. He allowed just one hit and needed only 19 pitches to finish off the game.
McEvoy had two hits and scored twice, Arpino had two doubles and Dalder finished 2 for 3.
Westhampton Beach began its three-game series with Rocky Point on Monday, played the second game on Wednesday and will play the finale at Rocky Point today, Thursday, at 4 p.m. The Canes host Harborfields on Monday, May 4, at 4:30 p.m., then play at Sayville on Wednesday, May 6, at 4:30 p.m.