SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B TOURNAMENT | TUCKERS 5, RED DEVILS 4
Through six innings, hardly anything went Mattituck’s way.
Through six innings, Mattituck’s offense was curiously, and uncharacteristically, quiet.
Through six innings, Center Moriches pitcher Patrick Bryant was the story.
Then things changed dramatically. Mattituck stole the story line, and the playoff opener.
Trailing by four runs heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Tuckers rallied for five runs and a stunning 5-4 triumph in the Suffolk County Class B baseball game on Monday at Mattituck High School. With two outs, Chris Dwyer reached out of the strike zone for a low pitch, looping it over second baseman Michael Colombi and enabling Marcos Perivolaris to slide home for the winning run. Perivolaris made the safe sign in conjunction with the umpire before raising his left forefinger and charging toward the first base area where he and his teammates formed a jubilant dog pile that left a few of the Tuckers bloodied and bruised.
“That was a pretty good game, huh?” Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro said afterward.
“Tremendous,” Mattituck third baseman Will Gildersleeve said, “that’s all I can say.”
With the victory, their seventh in a row, the top-seeded Tuckers (19-2) can wrap up the county title on Wednesday if they win in Center Moriches. A decisive third game, if necessary, would be played in Mattituck on Thursday.
Bryant (4-1) was tossing a three-hit shutout before the Tuckers finally got to him in the seventh. Infield singles by James Nish and Tyler Webb were wrapped around a Gildersleeve double that brought in Mattituck’s first two runs. A throwing error after Webb’s single allowed Gildersleeve to make it a one-run game. With two outs, Perivolaris singled and Webb was sent home from second base on a gutsy call. The throw home was a little off target, and Webb was safe with the tying run.
“We all showed some heart,” said Perivolaris.
That set up Dwyer for his first career walk-off hit. The junior connected on an 0-1 pitch that was low and away for what he called the biggest hit of his career. “It was a pretty bad pitch to swing at,” he said, “but once I hit it, I knew it was going to get over” the second baseman.
Center Moriches (13-7) had struck early, tagging Mattituck’s ace, Cameron Burt (7-1), for four hits and three runs in the first. Kevin O’Brien knocked in a run and Nick Fiscina singled in two more.
Fiscina had a third run batted in when he produced a sacrifice fly in the fifth. To give an idea of how things were going for Mattituck at the time, the player who scored that run, Colombi, had reached base on a third strike that got away from the catcher.
Center Moriches would have had another run that inning if not for a nice defensive play. Bryant tried to score from second on a single by Anthony Maag. Left fielder James Nish relayed the ball to the third baseman, Gildersleeve, who fired it to catcher Brian Pelan for the third out.
Center Moriches coach Dennis Donovan said he is not worried about any negative carryover affect from the loss.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “We’ll have a good practice tomorrow. This is part of the game. One thing that I give this team credit for is they battle, no matter what. They don’t hang their heads.”
For the Tuckers, it goes down as one of the most memorable wins in team history.
“I think I’m the least surprised person here because I knew that we were going to come back,” DeCaro said. “I believe all the time. These are great kids. They never give up.”
As it turned out, the most dangerous situation all afternoon for the Tuckers was the dog pile, which produced some minor casualties, including bloody noses and cuts to ears and hands from cleats.
“Oh, that was crazy,” said Gildersleeve, who had a couple of cuts on his bloodied right hand. “It was definitely worth it.”