PANTHERS 14, TUCKERS 5
Steve DeCaro has fond memories of the events surrounding his 50th birthday last year. In between games of a doubleheader sweep of Hampton Bays, the Mattituck baseball coach listened as Tuckers fans sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
DeCaro’s 51st birthday on Saturday wasn’t nearly so kind to him. Shoddy fielding, base-running blunders and bad at-bats marked Mattituck’s 14-5 loss to visiting Babylon.
“This was a bad one,” said DeCaro.
The Tuckers opened the game with a throwing error, and things went downhill from there as Babylon scored four runs in each of the first two innings before producing a six-run rally in the fourth.
After the game’s first three batters reached base from an error, a single and a walk, Jack Facciebene connected for a grand slam, his first career home run.
The rout was on.
Mattituck was one out away from escaping the second inning unscathed. With the bases loaded, Zach Carmody bounced as bad-hop single out of the infield and then Pete Donaldson picked up a run batted in the hard way, getting hit in the back with a pitch. A throwing error then allowed two more runs to score, making it 8-0.
“It was horrible,” said Mattituck shortstop Austin Pase.
And yet, the worst was yet to come for Mattituck. Babylon struck for six runs in the fourth for a 14-2 lead. Matt Finelli highlighted that rally with a three-run double. The three other runs came on a bases-loaded walk by Nick Giampietro, an error that allowed Pat Delaney to score, and Ricky Negron’s odd infield single that spun away from the first baseman.
“We wanted to jump on them early, get a good lead in the beginning of the game and never stop,” said Carmody.
Carmody, a sophomore left fielder in his third varsity season, turned in a big game for Babylon, going 4 for 4 with two runs scored, a double, an RBI and a walk. He also stole two bases.
Finelli got the win for defending Long Island Class B champion Babylon (2-3, 1-2 Suffolk County League VIII), which avoided being swept in the three-game series. He gave up four earned runs and seven hits over four innings.
“Today they put everything together,” Babylon coach Anthony Sparacio said. “Good things happen when you put the ball in play.”
Mattituck (2-2, 2-1) actually outhit the Panthers, 10-8, but the Tuckers hurt themselves with five errors.
“Today,” DeCaro said, “for some reason, we weren’t ready for the game, and we certainly showed it out there.”
Pase and Dylan Williams had two RBI each — both on two-out hits — and Joe Tardif supplied two hits for Mattituck from the leadoff spot.
Pase’s two-run double down the right-field line brought in Mattituck’s first two runs in the third. Williams delivered a soft liner to center field with the bases loaded in the fourth, scoring the next two runs.
The Tuckers added a run in the seventh from Tyler Montefusco’s RBI single.
Marcos Perivolaris, who had a 103-degree fever the day before, according to DeCaro, was Mattituck’s starting pitcher. He pitched the first two inning before Tardif relieved him.
“He wanted to play, and we couldn’t give him any help,” DeCaro said of Perivolaris. “He did his best.”
For Babylon, the win was just what it needed after dropping its first two league games to Mattituck, 4-3 and 8-4.
“It was a big win today because you don’t want to get swept,” Carmody said. “If you get swept, it brings the team down, and then you got to go into the next series 0-3. You need to get a win.”
Afterward, DeCaro said he was puzzled by some of his team’s actions, such as swinging at 3-0 pitches while trailing by 10 runs, and making the first out at third base in the seventh. It was hardly the way he hoped to celebrate his birthday.
“This ruins my birthday,” he said. “There is not even a question that now my birthday is ruined.”