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Baseball: Mattituck playoff game suspended

This spring’s rain, which wreaked havoc with the baseball schedule in March and April, put a major damper on a baseball playoff game between Mattituck and Center Moriches on Tuesday afternoon.

Their Suffolk County Class B confrontation at Center Moriches High School was suspended just as the bottom of the third inning was to begin due to wet grounds with the score 2-1 in favor of the host side. Light rain had fallen since the opening pitch.

The game is scheduled to resume Wednesday at 4 p.m.

The umpires, on the advice of both managers, deemed parts of the field unplayable. And, with more rain in the forecast, everyone agreed to stop play.

“This is something else to add to this awesome year of weather,” Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro said. “It’s good enough that we’re a B school and we have three teams in the playoffs. I feel bad for the AA schools and the A schools. They have to come back, and they have to keep playing all week long. We might have to play all week long, too. Who knows?”

If the third-seeded Tuckers (12-9) win this game, they will play the winner of the Center Moriches-Babylon encounter (most likely to be pushed to Thursday), probably on Friday.

If they lose, they will meet Babylon, most likely on Thursday.

At least three spots in the infield were progressively becoming worse as the rain continued to fall — the pitcher’s mound, home plate and third base.

“After seeing [Dave] Franchi out there, I thought he was struggling,” DeCaro said of the Red Devils’ starting pitcher. “And once Ryan Mahon got hit, I would have thought they would have called it. It’s not like Franchi to be that erratic. So that was something. Bryce [Grathwohl, the Mattituck starter], he had a couple of bad pitches, which he usually doesn’t do. So I think the mound was an issue.

“Third base was a mess and around the dish it was starting to get messy. First we talked about trying to finish the inning. Coach Donovan and myself interjected and said, we have more rain coming and so, this is probably a better idea.”

That’s Center Moriches coach Dennis Donovan.

The top-seeded Red Devils (17-3) hit Grathwohl hard in his two innings, slamming three well-hit doubles up the gap. Two were the centerpiece of Center Moriches’ two-run second inning.

David Falco led off with a double to center. After Robert Copozzi popped out to second base, designated hitter Brad Sakellarides doubled him home with another drive to center. Andres Auffant walked before Dylan Bryant grounded out to push Sakellarides across for the second run.

The Tuckers got one back in the top of the third. After the first two batters struck out, Tyler F. Olsen singled to center, moved to second on Grathwohl’s single to left and then to third on a walk to Sam Dickerson before scoring when Ryan Mahon was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Jon Lisowy ended the threat by bouncing out to short.

Tyler C. Olsen, who began the game as the designated hitter, took the mound in the bottom of the third, when the umpires made their decision to suspend play.

In the tournament opener on Friday, Mattituck surprised second-seeded Babylon (16-4), 3-1. Dickerson struck out four batters before Grathwohl, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI, finished up in the seventh. Brady Mahon went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. The Tuckers had lost all three regular-season League VIII games to the Panthers.

The fact that Dickerson pitched so well gave the Tuckers a big boost the rest of the tournament.

“That kind of set us up pretty good,” DeCaro said. “Our pitchers are pretty well rested. We’re ready to go.”

As the team packed up for its return trip home, DeCaro was asked by a reporter if waiting almost 24 hours for the game to continue would affect him.

“Considering we all have daytime jobs, and most of us are teachers, it usually doesn’t get in the way during the day,” he said. “In between classes, somebody comes by and says, did you see the weather report? I’m lucky enough that Eric Frend [a Mattituck science teacher] is our meteorologist and he pretty much sends a kid over and tells me what’s going on.

“We have a pretty good situation at Mattituck. Now if we can just find some dry fields, things would be better.”

Photo caption: Mattituck pitcher Bryce Grathwohl working in the rain during Tuesday’s suspended game in Center Moriches. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

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