North Fork Ospreys win 9–6 over South Shore Clippers in early season turnaround

Suddenly, things are coming together quite nicely for the North Fork Ospreys.

After starting the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League season with three consecutive losses, the Ospreys won three out of the next four games.

While the final score necessarily might not indicate it, the Ospreys put together their most complete game of the young season in a 9-6 win over the South Shore Clippers, as their hitting, pitching and fielding came together at Cochran Park in Peconic Thursday night.

“In a perfect world, we do that every time out,” manager Brett Picaro said.

“The three-game start was definitely tough,” winning pitcher Teddy Durbin added. “Once we got the first couple wins on the board, I think there’s been a huge change in our attitude and how we approach each game day and approach each other as well. It’s been awesome.

“This team is loaded with talent. Getting that team chemistry was one of the important pieces.”

Catcher Jackson Militello, who smashed a grand slam home run, agreed.

“When you trust the guys next to you, you play better,” the Eastern Michigan University sophomore said. “The Ospreys are hot.”

Ospreys catcher Jackson Militelli from Howell MI from behind plate in a home game against the South Shore Clippers. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Indeed, they are. A main reason was that they had many contributors on a cool June summer night.

Right fielder Doug Pyle (Azusa Pacific University) had two hits, scored three times and drove in a run. Third baseman Aidan O’Keefe (University of Richmond) drove in two runs. Center fielder Jack Filippi (St. John Fisher College) was on base four times (two hits, two walks) and had an RBI and scored twice.

Starter Luke Barrientos and winning Durbin each hurled four innings, giving up one run apiece and limiting the Clippers (2-4) to three hits, before the visitors scored four runs in the ninth.

And shortstop Ty Acker (George Washington University) and second baseman Taer Rodriguez (Dartmouth College) each started double plays to foil two Clippers’ threats.

The Ospreys scored eight of their runs in two big innings with two outs.

They snapped a 1-1 tie with three runs in the fifth.

Filippi led off with a double down just past third base and moved to second on Jack Peter’s (Massachusetts Amherst) ground out. After Acker walked and was caught stealing, Brady Karp (Bucknell University) was hit by a pitch. Pyle’s double past first base drove in Filippi. O’Keefe smacked a two-run single to left but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

“I feel like one through nine we’re just really good,” Pyle said. “Guys at the top and bottom of the lineup are doing well.”

The Ospreys put the game away with a five-run seventh, highlighted by Militello’s two-out bases loaded clout to left field.

“It was huge,” Picaro said. “It allowed guys to breathe a little easy.”

Especially Militello, who entered the game batting .125 (one hit in eight at-bats) and five strikeouts. Two of those whiffs came against losing right-hander Andrew Fingleton (1-1).

“The last at-bat he threw me a curveball and I was like, no way throws me a curveball again,” Militello said. “Then he threw me another curveball and hung it pretty badly.”

Which Militello deposited it over the fence for his first collegiate home run.

“It felt great, especially since I was struggling at the beginning of the season,” he said.

Barrientos (Vassar College), who surrendered five runs and seven walks in two innings in a 12-2 loss to the Clippers on June 17, enjoyed a steadier outing. The right-hander allowed one run and one hit in four innings, although he did walk five batters.

“It’s been a while since they’ve been in game action,” Picaro said. “He did tremendously his second time out. He’ll be able to lengthen [his outings]. I expect him to be sharp next time out.”

Durbin (1-0), a left-hander, relieved in the fifth and showed improvement on his first game in which he allowed two runs in one inning in a 5-4 defeat to the Southampton Breakers on June 18. The Colby College senior shut down the Clippers, allowing one run, striking out and walking three.

“Just really trusting Jackson behind the plate,” Durbin said. “Trusting my defense as well. I was throwing mostly four-seam and two-seam fastballs. They put the ball in play, and it turned out well for me.”

Militello liked what he saw from both pitchers.

“They executed their pitches really well,” he said. “They knew what the job was to make contact and get out. Both of them had all their stuff working.”

You could have said that for the entire team.