Mattituck’s bats make the Tuckers armed and dangerous.
When a baseball team’s offense is as reliable and productive as Mattituck’s is, it makes life easier for its pitchers. That’s just one reason why Mattituck’s pitching staff turned in its sixth complete game in seven league games Tuesday. Then, of course, there was Bryce Grathwohl, and he usually brings it when he’s on the mound.
Grathwohl, supported by 12 hits worth of offense and errorless defense behind him, went the distance (surprise, surprise), tossing a three-hitter in a 6-1 defeat of Southampton in the opener of a three-game Suffolk County League VIII series at Mattituck High School.
“It’s really not surprising at this point,” Mattituck catcher Ryan Mahon said. “The pitchers just keep shoving for us.”
Grathwohl (3-0), throwing mostly fastballs and curveballs, certainly did his thing. The senior righthander walked only two and had eight strikeouts.
“I think I’ve been doing pretty good,” he said. “I mean, we’re getting into the middle of our season so I just got to be ready. We’re playing some good competition and, yeah, I’m just up for the challenge.”
As were his teammates.
All nine Mattituck starters managed at least one hit. Ryan Mahon drove in three runs and had two hits. “The past couple of weeks he has been our go-to guy,” Grathwohl said. “Him and Chris Nicholson have been clutch.”
Johnny Lisowy and Grathwohl contributed two hits each.
“Our offense doesn’t really crush the ball, but we do get a lot of hits,” Lisowy said. “Today it came together and we had a bunch of hits.”
That sort of hitting is bound to give a pitcher added confidence.
“Offense obviously makes our pitchers feel comfortable,” Ryan Mahon said. “Bryce was throwing a gem for us today and we gave him a good cushion to sit on all game.”
The only hits Grathwohl allowed were a sharp single by the game’s second batter, Alex Petty, a solo homer that Thomas Gabriele lashed near the leftfield pole in the fourth and a single Andrew Smith shot to centerfield later that inning. He retired 10 of the last 11 batters.
“He had his ‘A’ game,” Lisowy said. “He’s always bringing his ‘A’ game. He threw very well today. Not many hits on their part. He looked very sharp.”
Lisowy was the central figure in the most memorable play of the day. After a Tyler F. Olsen walk and a Lisowy single opened the third inning, they both successfully completed a double steal. Grathwohl then leveled a single to leftfield. Olsen scored. Lisowy tried to score as well on the play, but found catcher Anthony De La Santos blocking home plate. Lisowy crashed into De La Santos and was ruled out by the umpire.
Lisowy said, “He was out in front of the plate, covering the bag, so I didn’t know whether to go left or right or to go down, and at that point I was going to slide and then I just didn’t have time.”
Asked if he thought the right call was made, Lisowy answered, “I think no comment.”
Mattituck coach Gene Rochler had no problem with the call. “It was the right call and I didn’t have any argument with the umpire because my guy didn’t slide,” he said. “If he slides, I can say to the umpire, ‘The catcher blocked the plate,’ and then he would award him the base, but he made the right call.”
Mattituck (8-1, 7-0) picked up two more runs that inning for a 3-0 lead. Ryan Mahon smacked a run-scoring single and later scored on an error.
A pair of Mattituck runs followed for a 5-1 lead in the fourth when Ryan Mahon plopped a single over the first baseman.
In the fifth, Mattituck made it 6-1 on inning-opening singles by Tyler C. Olsen, Emmet Ryan, Brady Mahon and Connor Fox.
It was the first loss of the season for Southampton (8-1, 6-1).
Meanwhile, things are heating up for Mattituck.
“We’re starting to play the good teams now,” Rochler said. “After Southampton, we have Center Moriches and Babylon. This is where we have to kick it into high gear and come away with a bunch of wins.”
The Tuckers will tell you, it sure helps when the pitching, hitting and defense all come together.
Photo caption: Mattituck’s Johnny Lisowy was called out after a home-plate collision with Southampton catcher Anthony De La Santos in the third inning. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)