Even with the spate of injuries they have endured, the Mattituck Tuckers have seen progress since the 2010 high school softball season. There have been times when they have looked quite good. Then again, there have been other times when they haven’t looked so good.
That is the way it is with a young team composed mostly of juniors and sophomores.
“I think they’re just looking for an identity, their identity,” said Rick Hinrichs, who is nearing the end of his first season as Mattituck’s coach. “They haven’t found it yet. They have had some superb games this year. They’ve played incredible. They have had games that were nightmares. That’s what’s maddening. You have so much hope. You say: ‘Wow, they really did this. They played great.’ … You see that little glimpse of what could be, and then all of a sudden you get a stinker and you’re right back to square one.”
On Friday, though, it really wasn’t so much a matter of what Mattituck did wrong as what the Bayport-Blue Point Phantoms did right. That especially goes for their senior pitcher, Meg Brewer.
Brewer blasted two home runs, drove in four runs and pitched a two-hitter as her team rolled, 15-1, in a game at Mattituck High School that was halted after five innings because of the 12-run mercy rule.
The win is critical for Bayport-Blue Point, which improved to 13-4, 13-2 in Suffolk County League VII. The Phantoms started the day holding a half-game lead over both the Center Moriches Red Devils and the Mount Sinai Mustangs.
With Bayport-Blue Point bidding for its first league championship since 2007, Phantoms Coach Krissy Myer said: “I find it’s extremely exciting. I don’t find that it’s a lot of pressure. It keeps us focused.”
No one has to tell Brewer how tight things are. “It’s really close,” she said. “Because it’s such a hot race, everyone knows they have to compete to the top level all the time. We can’t take a day off against any team right now.”
Brewer, who had three hits herself, flirted with what would have been the first no-hitter of her career before Mattituck struck for both of its hits in the fifth inning. Megan Conklin led off the bottom half of the inning by lining an infield single off the tip of Brewer’s glove as the pitcher reached for the ball. Two batters later, Brittany Tumulty sent a double into center field. A sacrifice fly by Jessica Boomer then brought in Mattituck’s only run.
Brewer said the no-hitter was on her mind. “I wanted to know, and I wish I didn’t,” she said.
Brewer said the pitching performance meant more to her than the pair of home runs she clubbed. “Pitching is my favorite thing,” she said. “The home runs are an added bonus.”
Brewer did not issue any walks and struck out three. She retired the first 12 batters she faced, the 12th being a close call. Courtney Ficner drove a hard-hit ball that Brewer knocked down, collected and zipped to first baseman Kathleen McKevney, beating Ficner by half a step.
Bayport-Blue Point produced seven-run rallies in both the second and fourth innings for a 14-0 lead.
Lauren Petersen and Jaclyn Hahn delivered back-to-back, two-run singles to help fuel the first of those rallies.
Then, in the fourth, Brewer and McKevney (3 for 3) connected for home runs on consecutive at-bats. It was McKevney’s first homer of the season. Later in the inning, Tammy Vermeulan drove a double to center field, bringing home two more runs.
“They were just smashing them,” said Tumulty, Mattituck’s sophomore catcher.
Hahn and Vermeulan had three runs batted in each as the Phantoms totaled 13 hits for the game.
Mattituck’s starting pitcher, Sara Perkins, was pulled from the game in the fourth and relieved by Boomer. Hinrichs said Perkins’ back was tightening up. She had been battling bursitis under her right shoulder blade.
Mattituck, which will not qualify for the playoffs, dropped to 7-11, 5-11, with two games remaining.
“It’s definitely been a really crazy season, that’s for sure,” Tumulty said. “We started off, we weren’t really getting along that well, especially the first couple of games we were kind of fighting a lot and we were yelling at each other. But as the season went on, we actually grew together.”
Boomer and center fielder Lilly McCullough are the team’s only seniors, so the Tuckers should remain largely intact next year.
“Yeah, they’re young, but they get old fast,” Hinrichs said. “Next year comes and they’re not young any more.”