SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B TOURNAMENT | TUCKERS 15, ROYALS 4
Bats are helpful, but there are other ways to score runs in baseball, as the Mattituck Tuckers demonstrated on Friday.
It wasn’t that the Tuckers didn’t hit in the second game of the Suffolk County Class B Tournament semifinals — their seven hits were matched by Port Jefferson’s seven — but everything else made a big difference. In addition to drawing 12 walks, the Tuckers also saw five of their own get hit by pitches at Scofield-Desiderio Park in Port Jefferson. And then there were five errors by the Royals thrown into the mix.
It all added up to a 15-4 blowout by the top-seeded Tuckers (21-1), who sealed a return to the county finals for the third year in a row. The defending Long Island champions will host No. 2 seed Babylon (17-4) in the first game of the best-of-three finals on Tuesday.
Playing under a brilliant blue sky that was covered at times by intermittent clouds, the Tuckers wore their eye-catching alternate uniforms of camouflage blue and gold.
They jumped on the fourth-seeded Royals (11-11) for five runs in the first inning. Ian Nish connected for a two-run double, Mike Onufrak (two runs batted in) and Jon Dwyer both worked bases-loaded walks, and Joe Tardif singled in the fifth run.
Marcos Perivolaris (7-0) turned in a quality pitching performance, scattering six hits over six innings, with seven strikeouts and one walk. All four of Port Jefferson’s runs came with two outs in the second inning and were unearned following a dropped fly ball in the outfield and an infield throwing error.
Given new life, the Royals capitalized. Corey Carnahan scored on the second error before Noah Davis (2 for 3) lined a single for two runs and Kris Cheslock ripped a hard-driven hit off third baseman Will Gildersleeve for the fourth run.
But the Tuckers rang up multiple runs in the next four innings to erase any sliver of doubt about the result.
The biggest hit of the day for the Tuckers came in the fifth when, after his twin brother Ian Nish walked, James Nish powered a ball some 340 feet for his sixth home run of the year.
The Tuckers faced four pitchers, including two (Matt Keresztes and Sean Griffin) who took the mound in relief on two separate occasions.
The Tuckers had taken Game 1 by a 9-5 score two days earlier in Mattituck.