The opportunity in front of the North Fork Ospreys Tuesday night was a chance to win and advance. After taking Game 1 of their semifinal series against Westhampton Monday, the Ospreys returned home to Cochran Field in Peconic on a warm, humid night in front of their home fans looking to punch a ticket to the championship round.
The Aviators had other ideas.
After scoring a late insurance run, the Aviators held on for a 3-2 win to force a decisive Game 3 of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League semifinals Wednesday afternoon back in Westhampton.
Michael Toner, a pitcher from College of William & Mary, threw six innings, giving up one run to earn the victory for the Aviators. He outdueled North Fork’s Frank Moscatiello, a Rocky Point native who pitches at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Moscatiello gave up two runs early but settled down to pitch into the eighth inning. He struck out five.
The Ospreys, after falling behind 2-0, got some life in the fifth when designated hitter Ryan Mahoney launched a 2-2 pitch over the right field fence.
The Ospreys had their chances late to close the gap, but a few breakdowns on the bases derailed both rallies. The Ospreys got the first two runners aboard in the seventh, but Nick Heath popped up a bunt attempt and Westhampton pitcher Evan Marquardt charged in off the mound to snag it. He threw back to second to double off the runner, quickly putting a halt to the Ospreys’ rally.
Westhampton extended its lead to 3-1 in the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Mark Osis.
The Ospreys scratched across a run in the ninth when Heath grounded into a fielder’s choice. But he was picked off first for the second out.
Jack Piekos, who guided Bayport-Blue Point High School to a pair of state championships from 2013-14, got the save after entering the ninth with two runners on and nobody out. The lefty caught Kyle Colletta looking to end the game.
Wednesday’s game is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Aviator Field.
The other semifinal series is also tied 1-1 between Shelter Island and Montauk.
[Photo caption: North Fork Ospreys pitcher Frank Moscatiello threw seven innings Tuesday against Westhampton.]