PORTERS 18, BEARS 9 (6 INNINGS)
A Stony Brook School player collapsed during a Suffolk County League IX baseball game at Greenport High School on Tuesday.
Relief pitcher Cooper Wang, a junior, fell to the ground and appeared unconscious for a while after fielding a run-scoring bunt single by Brian Tuthill of Greenport in the top of the fifth inning. It is believed that Wang, whose face was bloodied, was clipped by Tuthill’s heel while pursuing the ball along the first-base line. Wang laid motionless in an awkward position with his face planted on the ground, prompting an umpire to request a 911 call.
Police and emergency rescue personnel soon arrived on the scene. After lying on the ground for about 11 minutes, Wang was helped onto a stretcher and wheeled away to applause by fans and players. Stony Brook coach Kyle Cavanaugh accompanied his player to the hospital, leaving assistant coach Mac Drane in charge of the team.
Greenport went on to an 18-9 win. The game was called in the bottom of the sixth because of fading light.
“Yeah, it was scary,” Drane said of the Wang incident. “He went limp pretty quick, but we’re hoping he’s alright. He was awake, he knew where he was, he just didn’t remember what happened.”
Greenport coach Chris Golden said Tuthill told him that he had clipped Wang with his heel as he ran for first base. Recounting the seconds after Wang fell, Golden said: “The kid wasn’t moving. He was out.”
Another odd occurrence affected Stony Brook earlier. Stony Brook’s starting catcher, Robbie Sequeira, aggravated a thumb injury while receiving warmup pitches from Ryan Haas in the middle of the first inning. Sequeira moved to left field, and Michael Nordby replaced him behind the plate.
Greenport’s offense, which had been in the doldrums, churned out 12 hits, and its defense did not commit an error. Three Porters pitchers — Mark Pagano (2-1), Bryant Rivas and Austin Hooks — held Stony Brook to three hits.
The game was hardly a thing of beauty. Both teams combined to allow 23 walks, and Stony Brook made six errors.
Matt Drinkwater, a freshman, drove in a career-high four runs for Greenport (2-4 overall and in the league). Tuthill had three runs batted in. Rivas and Christian Angelson both had two RBI each, with Rivas scoring another four runs.
After Hooks spotted Greenport a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a run-scoring infield single, the Porters broke the game open with a seven-run rally in the third for an 8-0 advantage. Drinkwater singled in two of those runs.
“We were cruising,” said Golden.
Or so he thought.
Stony Brook (0-7, 0-6) responded with a five-run burst in the fifth. The Bears managed only one hit that inning — a two-run triple that John Liotine crushed to center field — but six walks (one with the bases-loaded) and a wild pitch helped them.
Just like that, it was a game again.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men,” Golden said. “The best-laid plans went astray.”
Greenport rallied for another seven runs in the fifth, which featured two-run singles by both Rivas and Drinkwater. It was in the midst of that flurry of activity when Wang got injured.
Wang started the game at shortstop. After the first four Greenport batters reached base that inning, Wang became Stony Brook’s third pitcher of the day, relieving David Sanchez. Tuthill was the fourth batter Wang faced before he got hurt.
Stony Brook center fielder Joe Corrado said the Bears played for Wang the rest of the way. “We know that he would want us to keep going hard,” he said.
For a Greenport offense that had been in the doldrums, the game could have been seen as a breakthrough.
“I think we’re all starting to warm up with the bats,” Drinkwater said. “It’s not that we haven’t been hitting. We’ve just been hitting at people. We just got to find the holes in the defense.”
Lost in all the runs, walks and hits was a stellar defensive play by Tuthill at shortstop in the fourth. David Jensen struck a scorching grounder that Tuthill did well to stop before making a throw — from his knees — to get Jensen out at first.
There was no question what Drinkwater liked best about the game from Greenport’s perspective.
“No errors,” he said. “We played really strong in the field. The pitching will come, the bats will come. We just got to … when we get a chance in the field, make the plays.”
After it was all over, Golden shook his head. “This was a strange day,” he said. “I’m just glad we came out on the up side of it.”