Baseball is supposed to be a warm-weather sport, isn’t it?
If teeth weren’t chattering, one might be tempted to laugh at that notion.
High school baseball in the northeast at this time of the year can be, ahem, unpleasant. Snow, rain and the sheer cold make life difficult — and sometimes downright miserable — for players, coaches and fans alike.
As with other high school teams, Hampton Bays and Mattituck have struggled with Mother Nature, whether it be trying to run outdoor practices or even playing a game. The two Suffolk County League VIII teams had their scheduled season-opener against each other on Saturday snowed out. That game was pushed back to Monday. Since neither of their fields was in playable condition, they played at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank on Monday night, with the Tuckers emerging as 5-4 winners.
The Tuckers then stepped on their home field for the first time on Tuesday for the second game of the three-game series. Playing in bitter cold and steady rain, the contest was suspended after 49 minutes and with one out in the bottom of the second inning. The game is to resume Wednesday at the point at which it was stopped, with a runner on second base and the Tuckers holding a 4-0 lead.
Three of Mattituck’s four runs were driven in by Chris Dwyer. The senior second baseman showed some pop in his bat, driving a two-run homer over the right-field fence for two runs and a 3-0 lead in the first. Earlier in the inning, Joe Tardif scored on a misplayed popup by Marcos Perivolaris. Tardif had reached base on an infield single before stealing second and third bases.
Dwyer doubled in Tardif in the second for the fourth run. That followed a controversial fielder’s interference call. Tardif, who had walked, took second base on a steal. He was then caught in a rundown, during which he took a fall after colliding with Hampton Bays’ shortstop, Ryan Gunn. Tardif was awarded third base while Hampton Bays coach Pete Meehan argued the call. Meehan later told a reporter that Gunn did not have any time to get out of Tardif’s way as Tardif quickly pivoted and turned toward second base.
Tardif looked good pitching. The senior right-hander retired six of the eight batters he faced during his 32-pitch outing. He struck out three, walked one and hit a batter.
In Monday night’s game, Ian Nish led off the top of the third with a home run to give the Tuckers a 5-2 advantage. Dwyer and Will Gildersleeve had two hits each, with one of Dwyer’s hits being a run-scoring triple.
James Nish pitched three scoreless innings of relief for the save.