06/17/15 12:00pm
06/17/2015 12:00 PM
Mattituck realized its ambitious goal of winning its first state championship on Saturday in Binghamton. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Mattituck realized its ambitious goal of winning its first state championship on Saturday in Binghamton. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

The odds against the scenario had to be extraordinary, and yet there they were, two baseball teams from high schools located only 7.46 miles away from each other, both playing in Binghamton, N.Y., on the final day of the postseason in pursuit of a state championship.

Who would have figured? Who could have guessed?  (more…)

06/04/15 12:00pm
06/04/2015 12:00 PM
Ian Nish (left) and his brother James. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Ian Nish (left) and his brother James have helped power Mattituck to a county championship this season. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

One can only imagine what must go through an opposing pitcher’s mind after facing a 6-foot-3 Nish in the batter’s box and then, in the next at-bat, pitching to another 6-3 Nish, his identical twin.

“Wait a minute, didn’t I just pitch to this guy?” he could ask himself.  (more…)

03/10/15 5:00pm
03/10/2015 5:00 PM
Marcos Perivolaris was perched atop a pile of snow, not a pitcher's mound, during Monday's practice. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Marcos Perivolaris was perched atop a pile of snow, not a pitcher’s mound, during Monday’s practice. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Those were baseballs, not snowballs, that were being thrown out there. Many of the players wore boots, which were preferable to cleats, but perhaps not as helpful as snowshoes might have been.

The boys of — summer? — are back. (more…)

05/23/14 6:44pm
05/23/2014 6:44 PM
The Mattituck Tuckers meet on the infield grass for a postgame celebration after the team sealed its fourth county championship in 12 years. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The Mattituck Tuckers meet on the infield grass for a postgame celebration after the team sealed its fourth county championship in 12 years. (Credit: Garret Meade)

SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B TOURNAMENT | TUCKERS 1, RED DEVILS 0

The pressure was on. That is just the way Marcos Perivolaris likes it.

Perivolaris has a reputation for being a baseball player who thrives under pressure. What is his secret?

“I just don’t think about it,” he said. (more…)

05/21/14 8:11pm
05/21/2014 8:11 PM
Joe Tardif registered nine strikeouts over five innings, during which he allowed four hits and one walk. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Joe Tardif registered nine strikeouts over five innings, during which he allowed four hits and one walk. (Credit: Garret Meade)

SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B TOURNAMENT | RED DEVILS 9, TUCKERS 3

After the first two games of the best-of-three series to determine the Suffolk County Class B baseball champion, this much is known: Both Center Moriches and Mattituck have fight in them, not to mention an ability to forge a big rally for a comeback win.

The top-seeded Tuckers showed their mettle in the playoff opener on Monday by plating all five of their runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Chris Dwyer delivered a walk-off single for a 5-4 triumph. Pretty impressive stuff.

Not to be outdone, though, No. 2 Center Moriches then showed what it can do to pull out a victory. Putting the disappointment of the first game behind them, the Red Devils, who trailed through the first five and a half innings on Wednesday, ran up a seven-run burst in the sixth for a 9-3 victory at Center Moriches High School. (more…)

05/29/13 7:30pm
05/29/2013 7:30 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southampton's Wyatt Schmidt is tagged out by Mattituck shortstop Marcos Perivolaris while trying to steal second base in the first inning.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southampton’s Wyatt Schmidt is tagged out by Mattituck shortstop Marcos Perivolaris while trying to steal second base in the first inning.

SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B TOURNAMENT | MARINERS 5, TUCKERS 1

After throwing a strikeout for the last out of the game, Wyatt Schmidt found himself at the bottom of a white and maroon pile of humanity that formed in front of the pitcher’s mound. The Southampton pitcher said he was having trouble breathing, but he undoubtedly enjoyed every moment of it.

“My catcher [Alex Soyars] just picked me up and threw me to the ground,” the exuberant Schmidt said. “You know, that’s the best feeling I ever had, to be honest.”

Mattituck’s baseball players, meanwhile, were dealing with much different emotions as they watched the Southampton celebration and saw their season come to an end.

A combination of two-hit pitching by Schmidt and five errors by Mattituck proved to be too much for the Tuckers to overcome on Wednesday. Soyars drove in three runs and Eddie McLaughlin homered for top-seeded Southampton, which picked up its third Suffolk County championship in five years with a 5-1 defeat of the visiting Tuckers in the Class B double-elimination tournament.

The majority of No. 3 Mattituck’s self-inflicted damage came in the second inning when it committed three errors which, along with a two-run, ground-rule double by Soyars and three walks, led to three unearned runs and a 3-1 Southampton lead. Southampton (19-2) drew six walks on a day when not much went Mattituck’s way. Southampton won all four games it played against Mattituck this year.

“I always thought we were as good as them,” Mattituck first baseman Ian Nish said, “and losing to them just makes it that much harder because we could have beat them, and in the end it just didn’t work out for us.”

McLaughlin socked a solo homer with two out in the fifth to make the score 4-1 in the game, which had been postponed twice because of inclement weather.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's starting pitcher, Cameron Burt (6-3), gave up five runs (two earned) and five hits before making way for Chris Dwyer after five and two-thirds innings.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s starting pitcher, Cameron Burt (6-3), gave up five runs (two earned) and five hits before making way for Chris Dwyer after five and two-thirds innings.

Another insurance run was provided for the Mariners in the sixth when Soyars singled through the infield, bringing home Henry Egan, who had led off with a flare to right field.

Mattituck’s sole run was unearned in the second. Nish started the inning by shooting a stand-up double to center field. Two outs later he was brought home when Brian Pelan reached base on Southampton’s only error of the day.

The only other hit Schmidt allowed was also a double, by Chris Dwyer in the third. Schmidt had two walks and six strikeouts.

It was mistakes that might have irked the Tuckers the most. Two of the errors in the second came on popups that weren’t caught. One of them — a foul ball by Soyars — fell, untouched, just outside the first baseline. That was before Soyars delivered his two-run hit.

“We just gave it to them,” said Dwyer, the second baseman.

Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro was clearly not happy with what he saw that inning, which he considered the decisive point of the game.

“It was that inning when we made three errors, dropped two infield pop flies, things we practice almost every day, and we walked three guys,” he said. “That was it.”

Schmidt said the double postponements that ultimately pushed the game back four days didn’t bother him. He said he was prepared to take the ball.

“I was ready to go and, you know, put my best out there,” the senior right-hander said. “I pitched alright. This wasn’t my best game of the year. I had trouble with my curveball and my changeup throughout the game, but I powered through.”

Southampton coach Ike Birdsall was talking to reporters after the game when some of his players snuck up behind him and heaved ice from a bucket at his back. He took it in good humor, with the knowledge that the Mariners will play in a Long Island final against Wheatley on Monday at Dowling Sports Complex.

“It’s the biggest thrill,” said Birdsall.

A win over Southold/Greenport in 2009 gave Southampton its first county championship in 31 years. Birdsall coached that team as well the one that repeated as a county champion in 2010. Asked how this county title compared to the first two he won, the coach replied: “They’re all special and they’re all great. Each team has different players, so there are different emotions that go along with it, but to call yourself a champion, I’d love to do it every year.”

The Tuckers, meanwhile, finished the season with a 15-9 record and perhaps a sense of unfinished business.

Dwyer dismissed the notion that there may be some consolation in that the Tuckers lost to a team that had itself lost only twice this year. “Ah, disappointing pretty much,” he said, “because we could easily be in their position right now, and we’re not.”

Mattituck bids farewell to only three seniors: Ryan Finger, Dylan Hahn and John Schultz. Its entire starting infield of Nish, Dwyer, shortstop Marcos Perivolaris and third baseman Will Gildersleeve are sophomores. The future looks bright.

In the wake of a painful defeat, though, DeCaro wasn’t in a reflective mood. Queried about his thoughts on the season, the coach responded, “A bad time to ask because we’re very disappointed right now.”

[email protected]

05/17/13 6:48pm
05/17/2013 6:48 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Sean Finnegan of Center Moriches upended Mattituck catcher Brian Pelan, but was thrown out at home plate by first baseman Ian Nish on a fielder's choice in the fifth inning.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Sean Finnegan of Center Moriches upended Mattituck catcher Brian Pelan, but was thrown out at home plate by first baseman Ian Nish on a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning.

SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B TOURNAMENT | RED DEVILS 1, TUCKERS 0

A question over whether or not Mattituck pitcher Cameron Burt threw a no-hitter hung over the Tuckers’ first playoff game on Friday. When the dust finally settled, though, it was determined later that evening that the junior right-hander had thrown a no-hitter. Here’s the kicker: He was the losing pitcher.

Burt pitched a no-hitter and lost, and Center Moriches junior Patrick Bryant tossed a three-hitter and won, 1-0, in the first game for both baseball teams in the Suffolk County Class B double-elimination tournament.

Crazy stuff, huh?

“I’ve never been involved in a game where a pitcher threw so well and lost a game like that,” said Mattituck first baseman Ian Nish.

It was such a strange mix that Burt undoubtedly felt mixed emotions following his first career no-hitter.

“I don’t know how to feel,” he said. “I’m glad how I pitched except for a few walks, but it’s like you said before, baseball is a crazy game and anything can happen.”

The Mattituck side believed that Burt had thrown his first career no-hitter, but the official scorebook belongs to the home team, which was Center Moriches (13-7). After the game, Center Moriches coach Mike Garofola said he thought a play that the Tuckers (13-8) considered to be an error should have been ruled a hit for his team. But he said he didn’t have the best angle, so he consulted with one of his assistant coaches after the game before coming back with the verdict: a hit.

“It looked like it took a late, bad hop,” Garofola said. “Either way, whether it’s a one-hitter or a no-hitter, it’s unusual to win a ball game when you have less hits than they do, and it’s none or one, but you know, listen, that’s baseball. Weird things happen sometimes.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ian Nish connected for one of Mattituck's three hits against Center Moriches.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ian Nish connected for one of Mattituck’s three hits against Center Moriches.

Things got weirder still. Later that evening, after consulting with others who saw the game, Garofola changed course and ruled that it was a no-hitter after all.

The play in question came in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, Stephen Bryant struck a hard-hit ball that took a late, high hop, glancing off Nish’s glove. That was the closest Center Moriches came to getting a hit.

As it turned out, though, the Red Devils, who were all playing in a playoff game for the first time in their varsity careers, didn’t need any hits.

“It would eventually come [down] to who played the best defense and who could get a run across first,” said Patrick Bryant.

The game’s sole run came in the fifth, the only inning in which Burt struggled, issuing three walks and throwing three wild pitches. James Schaefer, who had drawn one of those walks, scored on one of those wild pitches, beating catcher Brian Pelan’s throw to Burt, who covered home plate.

“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” said Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro.

A couple of batters after the run scored, Sean Finnegan was thrown out at home plate on a fielder’s choice in which Nish threw to Pelan, who was upended on the play.

It was a true pitching duel between the two aces. The 6-foot-4 Patrick Bryant (7-1) had four strikeouts and no walks. Burt (5-2) finished with five walks and five strikeouts; he also hit the first batter he faced, Vollkommer.

“It was what I was expecting because it was our best pitcher against their best pitcher,” said Nish.

After Joe Tardif led off the game by socking a single to center field, Mattituck managed only two more hits the rest of the way. Nish lined a hit off Patrick Bryant’s glove, beating second baseman Stephen Bryant’s throw to first baseman Kevin O’Brien in the fifth. Mattituck posed a threat in the sixth as Pelan led off with a single. Pelan later managed to make his way to third base, but Patrick Bryant retired the next three batters in order, the last two on strikeouts.

“He pitched a great game,” Garofola said. “He made three bad pitches all day.”

That includes the last one. Patrick Bryant hung a changeup on his 67th pitch, and Nish struck it near the tip of his bat, driving it deep to left field, only to see Tyler Erhardt make the catch for the game-ending out.

“Pat Bryant pitched a beautiful game, but we had our chances,” DeCaro said. “We’d get a guy on, and he’d bear down, and he’d make some beautiful pitches.”

Center Moriches picked up its third win in four games against Mattituck this year. Mattituck will play host to No. 4 Babylon (11-10) on Monday in an elimination game for both teams. Babylon lost to No. 1 Southampton on Friday, 4-0.

“I think our team had a great game,” Burt said. “It’s just that we didn’t have it in the cards to win, I guess. We hit the ball all over the place. They just caught everything.”

Burt was told afterward that if nothing else, he has an interesting story to tell for the rest of his life.

He said, “I’d still rather have a win than a story, though.”

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