The North Fork Ospreys had not seen much of Bradley Case before. Then, on Saturday night, they saw too much of him.
Seven innings worth, to be precise. Seven shutout innings.
Case pitched a gem as the Montauk Mustangs took the first game of their Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League semifinal series against the Ospreys, a 13-4 blowout at Jean W. Cochran Park in Peconic.
The second-seeded Ospreys were the hottest team entering the playoffs. They carried a five-game winning streak with them, having won eight of their previous 10 games. Plus, they went 5-2 against No. 3 Montauk during the regular season.
But those numbers could be thrown out the window as the Ospreys faced the imposing figure of the 6-foot-7, 210-pound Case. The righthander from Pelham knew, regardless of the result, that this was his final game of the summer season. He will begin his drive to Florida to return to Rollins College for his sophomore year on Wednesday.
So Case, who went 5-0 with a 2.86 ERA during the regular season, let it all hang out. He evidently didn’t hold anything back. Over the course of his seven innings, the All Star scattered in nine strikeouts, allowing four hits. After the Ospreys loaded the bases with none out in the third inning, Case fanned three batters in a row to escape unscathed. For the game he walked two and hit a batter. He threw 96 pitches, 71 for strikes.
The Ospreys had previously seen Case pitch for only two-thirds of an inning in a relief role on July 6. They had trouble figuring him out Saturday.
The Mustangs, who can sweep the series Sunday with a win on their home field, also brought their bats. They produced a 21-hit barrage, featuring a two-run homer smoked by Tyler Galazin.
Phil Capra (four RBIs) and Jamie Galazin (two RBIs), Tyler’s brother, had four hits apiece, one of Capra’s hits being a triple. Rob Vani and Ryan Markey added three hits each as eight of the nine Montauk batters managed at least one hit and seven had two or more.
Because of the affect Friday morning’s rain had on field conditions, the start of the playoffs was pushed back a day. It rained on Saturday night, too, on and off, but not hard.
The weather conditions didn’t seem to bother the Mustangs, though. They broke the game open with a six-run burst in the second, a rally that saw Capra’s bases-loaded triple clear the bases.
After that inning, Matt Messier relieved Ospreys starter Daniel Aguilo and threw four scoreless innings, but the damage had been done.
Over the final three innings, the Mustangs tacked on seven more runs. They were leading, 12-0, before the Ospreys scored all four of their runs in the eighth, which featured an RBI double by Bobby Romano and an RBI single by Tom Archer.
The Mustangs had to make quite a trip Sunday, taking two ferries to Peconic, but they made it worthwhile.
Photo caption: North Fork’s Richie Palacios slides safely into second base while Montauk second baseman Bryce Packard receives a throw. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)