OSPREYS 14, BATTLECATS 8
Dillon Bryant isn’t known for being a home-run hitter, so when he does hit one out of the park, he enjoys it. But Monday’s Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League game was made even more enjoyable for the North Fork Ospreys left fielder because of the fact that he went 4 for 5 and led the charge to a 14-8 come-from-behind triumph over the Center Moriches Battlecats.
“It feels really good,” Bryant said of his four-hit game, which featured four runs batted in. “I haven’t had one of those in a while.”
The longest of Bryant’s four hits was the one that turned the game around at Center Moriches High School’s Paul Gibson Field.
The Ospreys (4-2) fell into a 5-0 hole in the first inning, but one big inning deserves another. That big inning for the Ospreys came in the eighth when they rallied for six runs and took the lead for the first time. And once they took hold of it, they never let go.
Bryant’s three-run homer — his first of the season — turned a two-run deficit into a 9-8 lead for the Ospreys. Later in the inning, Eric Romano slammed a two-run homer over the left-field fence, making the score 12-8.
The Ospreys tacked on two additional runs that were singled in by Darrin Standish and Bryant in the ninth.
“We put some big innings together in the end,” Bryant said, “and big innings are the ones that lead to wins.”
The first-year Battlecats (5-3), who started the day in first place in the Hampton Division, had started off the season well, but have run into a shortage of pitching arms of late. Center Moriches coach Bill Batewell said the team is about three pitchers short and expects help to come soon.
Monday’s game — the first meeting between the two teams — was a hitter’s delight. The teams combined for 25 hits, 13 by North Fork.
“The ball was flying today,” said Center Moriches second baseman Nick Dini.
He wasn’t kidding. Among those 25 hits were five home runs, including a shot by North Fork’s Kyle Adie, who also had an RBI single. The Battlecats received home runs from Dini and Tyson Ashcraft. Joe Solomeno went 3 for 5 with an RBI and a double.
The way the Battlecats jumped on North Fork in the first inning, it looked as if it just wasn’t going to be North Fork’s day. Center Moriches cranked out six hits that inning, including Dini’s two-run homer, Bobby Gazzola’s two-run triple and an RBI single by Kyle Weeks.
But the Ospreys weren’t beaten.
“We just never gave up and kept swinging the bat,” Bryant said. “Baseball is an interesting game.”
It sure is.
The Ospreys pulled four runs back in the second. The teams continued an exchange of runs up to the big burst by the Ospreys in the eighth.
“We kept grinding,” said North Fork coach Bill Ianniciello.
Meanwhile, Mike Czenszak and Robert Galligan combined to pitch three and one-third innings of scoreless relief for the Ospreys. They allowed only two hits during that stretch.
Looking at his team’s start to the season. Ianniciello said he is encouraged. “We can do a lot of things,” he said.
That includes rallying for big innings and coming back to win games.
Meanwhile, Batewell kept a good humor and took a philosophical view of the loss.
“Hey, it happens,” he said. “What are you going to do? That’s baseball.”