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Baseball: Berman’s a hit in Mattituck’s shared no-hitter

Mattituck took a hit when its starting pitcher walked off the mound with an injury after facing Elwood/John Glenn’s first batter Monday. But the Tuckers need not have been overly concerned. They didn’t allow any hits all day.

Andrew Berman started the game at first base for Mattituck, pitched most of the way and finished the game at third base. In the beginning, the junior might have been expecting a quiet game at first base, but that changed after Garrett Grathwohl was escorted off the pitching mound after walking the only batter he faced and tended to with an ailing left hamstring.

On came Berman, who changed gloves, took only eight warm-up pitches (even though he was allowed as many as he wanted) and was ready to go. The 6-foot, 2 1/2-inch righthander fired a career-high 13 strikeouts to share a 3-0 no-hit win at Glenn. Bryce Hansen handled the final inning in relief for Mattituck.

That’s baseball, Susan.

A little crazy, but perhaps not as crazy as Mattituck’s previous shared no-hitter last May. Berman was involved in that one, too, along with Connor Fox in what — as strange as it sounds — was a 4-2 loss to Mount Sinai.

“It’s amazing,” Berman (1-0) said. “Like, we threw one last year. We couldn’t win [that] game, though, but this is a new experience, feels really nice.”

The opener to the Suffolk County League VII three-game series left Mattituck at 2-5, 2-5, and Glenn 5-5, 5-5.

Berman kept the Glenn batters off-balance with a mix of four-seamers, two-seamers and sliders. During one stretch from the first inning through the fourth, he retired 11 straight, striking out the side in the fourth.

“He pitched great,” Mattituck catcher Ryan Janis said. “He was throwing strikes. His slider looked great. His fastball was good. Every pitch was on.”

Mattituck third baseman Bryce Hansen grabs an infield fly for an out. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Said Mattituck coach Dan O’Sullivan, “That was incredible.”

Berman wasn’t perfect, though. He issued five walks and found himself in trouble at times. He recorded his first three strikeouts in the first inning, the last two of those coming with the bases loaded. Glenn loaded the bases again in the fifth with one out, only to be foiled by Berman strikeouts and come away empty-handed.

After Berman fanned the first two batters in the sixth, Glenn’s Timmy Browne reached base on a bounced throw to first for an error. John O’Hara was then hit by a pitch, but Berman induced a flyout to escape another jam.

“He doesn’t get phased on the mound,” Janis said. “If something happens, he just lets it go and he just keeps throwing. He’s clutch, definitely.”

Mattituck churned out eight hits, including two apiece by Hansen and Janis.

Two outs after Berman and Janis opened the second with singles, a Brady Mahon ground ball was booted, allowing the first run.

Evan McCaffrey and Hansen both singled to start the third and both later scored when James Reidy fouled out to the leftfielder and Janis singled to left.

Berman had thrown 98 pitches by the time Hansen was given the ball for the seventh. Hansen had two strikeouts and a walk before Luke Mullman drove a tricky fly ball to leftfield that Reidy tracked down for the final out.

O’Sullivan said Grathwohl felt something in his hamstring while running from first to third in the first.

O’Sullivan said: “He went out there and he’s like, ‘Coach, I can pitch, but I have nothing in my legs. It’s just gonna be my arm.’ ”

That was all O’Sullivan had to hear. Bring in Berman.

“I felt great,” Berman said. “As soon as I threw that first strike when I got on the mound, I knew I was going to be able to go for a while today.”

Was Berman aware he was once again involved in a potential no-hitter as the game progressed?

“I think around the fifth inning, I was just trying to think like, ‘Have I given up a hit yet? Did Garrett give up a hit?’ ” he said. “I didn’t think anyone did, but I just didn’t care. I just kept pitching. It was in the back of my mind. I was just trying not to focus on it.”

O’Sullivan said Berman was pegged to be in Mattituck’s starting rotation going into the season, but suffered an injury. Chuckling at the thought, the coach said it “kind of worked out that we’d rather save him, let him play first, keep his arm and then have him as a reliever. But if he’s gonna keep doing that, of course he’s making his way back in.”

The pitcher who has done so well preventing other teams from getting hits has proven to be quite a hit himself.