Baseball: Greenport’s ‘Notorious Nine’ blows 4-0 lead

Second baseman Max Eggimann, one of Greenport's nine players, fielding a ground ball during Thursday's game against Smithtown Christian. (Credit: Garret Meade)
Second baseman Max Eggimann, one of Greenport’s nine players, fielding a ground ball during Thursday’s game against Smithtown Christian. (Credit: Garret Meade)


The process of writing out the lineup card is a simple one for the Greenport High School baseball coach, Chris Golden. No real surprises are involved. Regardless of the day, regardless of the game, the same nine names will be scribbled down.

That’s because the Porters have only nine players on their team. When they play the field, the only person sitting on their bench is their scorekeeper, McKenzie Lennox. It’s an oddity even for a small school team. They have taken to calling themselves the Notorious Nine.

Despite their absence of depth, the Porters have played some competitive games, even if they have finished on the short end of most of them. One of those games was played Thursday when the Porters christened their newly named Robbie Costantini Field in honor of Greenport’s former athletic director. They were unable to mark the occasion with a win, however. Smithtown Christian rallied from a 4-0 deficit with the aid of Timmy Gorton’s second home run of the season to overcome the Porters, 8-4, and sweep the three-game Suffolk County League IX series.

Smithtown Christian (5-3, 3-3) snapped a 4-4 tie in the sixth inning. Ronny Linsalato shot a double to center field. One batter later, Gorton cracked a home run that cut through a biting wind over the right-field fence. It was estimated to have traveled close to 350 feet.

It was quite a day for Gorton, the son of Smithtown Christian coach Craig Gorton. The Knights catcher had three hits, drove in three runs, scored two runs and claimed two of his team’s six stolen bases.

In the seventh, Gorton helped pad Smithtown Christian’s lead by ripping a run-scoring single off the glove of diving first baseman Austin Hooks. Zachary DiBlanda plated the game’s final run later in the inning when he scored on a balk call.

The cold, breezy day started off well enough for the Porters (1-4, 0-3) when they scored twice in the first. Hooks lined a single off third baseman Jack Palma’s glove and later scored the game’s first run when John Drinkwater bounced into a fielder’s choice. The second run came on a double steal. John Drinkwater charged to second base and once Gorton released a throw to second base, Matt Drinkwater broke from third, beating the return throw home.

Greenport doubled its lead in the third. Matt Drinkwater drove a single to left field and scored from first base on a misplayed ball in the outfield. A bunt single by Ryan Weingart brought Christian Angelson home from third. The first baseman, DiBlanda, fielded the ball but had no play.

A critical point in the game came in the fourth when Smithtown Christian managed three unearned runs. Palma and Kyle Straker led off the inning with a double and a walk, respectively. They both darted home on a throwing error. Vinny Ciaravino singled in another run to pull the Knights to within one run.

Smithtown Christian had to wait until the following inning, however, for the tying run, courtesy of Austin Sala’s sacrifice fly.

Jimmy Seviour (2-1) got the win, allowing one earned run and six hits over six innings before making way for Glen-Luke Middendorf.

[email protected]