Baseball: Williams’ slam, walk-off single earn Ospreys split

As close as the standings are in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League’s Hampton Division, every game over the next three weeks is critical. If the North Fork Ospreys are to defend their regular-season title, they could look back on Wednesday night’s comeback as a turning point.

Ryan Williams had belted a grand slam to key a comeback in game two of a doubleheader against the Southampton Breakers. He then capped a memorable day by singling with the bases loaded to bring in Darrin Standish with the game-winning run in North Fork’s 6-5 triumph.

After Southampton took game one, 8-7, the Ospreys and Breakers were each 12-12 heading into the nightcap, but with the win, North Fork moved to one-and-a-half games behind frontrunning Westhampton in the divisional race. Southampton dropped to a third-place tie with the Sag Harbor Whalers.

The visitors almost left town with what would have been an important — and thrilling — doubleheader sweep. Southampton led, 3-0, early behind Anthony Eichhorn, but the Ospreys struck for one run in the fourth and then Williams belted his first grand slam of the season to go ahead by 5-3.

Taylor Eads tied things up at 5 when he drilled a two-run homer in the top of the sixth. North Fork made sure the game didn’t go any longer than it needed to in the seventh. Standish reached base on an infield single and was bunted over to second by Brendan O’Brien. Pat Brennan was then plunked, and Ryan Brockett singled to left to load the bases. That brought up Williams, who singled through the right side for the game-winner.

In game one, Southampton collected 15 hits, many of them early, yet needed to hold on to take the opener. The Breakers chased North Fork starter A. J. Dusablon in a five-run fifth that was capped by a two-run single by Steve Schrenk. However, the Ospreys came flying back with five runs in the bottom of the fifth, the big hit coming when Matt Halloran singled in two to make the score 8-5.

The Ospreys drew to within 8-7 in the final inning, and they had the tying run on second base until Breakers closer Tim Swatek fanned Williams for the final out.

Craig Matteo tied a Breakers record with four hits in game one. He also drove in three runs. Multi-hit days were also put in by Schrenk, Antonio Alvarez and Steve Harrington.

For North Fork in game one, Matt Carroll and Rocco Gondek each singled twice, and Matt Halloran had his best offensive performance of the summer, going 3 for 4 with three runs batted in.