05/27/15 9:08pm
05/27/2015 9:08 PM
The Mattituck Tuckers (23-1) wrapped up their second straight county championship and fifth in 13 years. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

The Mattituck Tuckers (23-1) wrapped up their second straight county championship and fifth in 13 years. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B FINALS, GAME 2 | TUCKERS 11, PANTHERS 6

The Mattituck High School baseball players were let out of school earlier than usual on Wednesday and had a chance to get a little batting practice in before taking the bus ride to Babylon for their big game. It was during that batting practice session when Chris Dwyer could sense that he was in the zone. Within hours, it became obvious to everyone else that Dwyer was locked in at the plate.

Dwyer could do no wrong in the batter’s box. His stellar 4-for-4 batting led the way as Mattituck’s relentless offense pounded 16 hits to beat Babylon, 11-6, and take the Suffolk County Class B championship series in two games. (more…)

03/10/15 5:00pm
03/10/2015 5:00 PM
Marcos Perivolaris was perched atop a pile of snow, not a pitcher's mound, during Monday's practice. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Marcos Perivolaris was perched atop a pile of snow, not a pitcher’s mound, during Monday’s practice. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Those were baseballs, not snowballs, that were being thrown out there. Many of the players wore boots, which were preferable to cleats, but perhaps not as helpful as snowshoes might have been.

The boys of — summer? — are back. (more…)

07/15/14 10:44pm
07/15/2014 10:44 PM
Mattituck's Dan Fedun has a step on Hampton Bays' Shane Courtenay while attempting a layup. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Mattituck’s Dan Fedun has a step on Hampton Bays’ Shane Courtenay while attempting a layup. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The Mattituck High School boys basketball team didn’t lose a lot from last season in terms of numbers, but in terms of a player, the Tuckers lost a lot. A heck of a lot.

Sure, the Tuckers graduated only two players, but one of them was Gene Allen, and what a player he was. Allen was a two-time All-Conference forward who averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds per game last season, leading the team in both categories. For his high school career, he showed remarkable balance, finishing with 660 points and 662 rebounds. (more…)

06/06/14 8:25pm
06/06/2014 8:25 PM
Mattituck players celebrating the team's second Long Island championship in four years following their 9-2 win over Wheatley. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Mattituck players celebrating the team’s second Long Island championship in four years following their 9-2 win over Wheatley. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

SOUTHEAST REGION CLASS B SEMIFINAL | TUCKERS 9, WHEATLEY 2

Because of inconvenient scheduling, the Mattituck Tuckers had a long bus ride home from Farmingdale State College on Friday evening. After a night’s rest, they will be back on the road the following morning for an even longer bus ride back west to Mamaroneck High School.

Judging by the roar of cheers heard emanating from the baseball team’s bus before it headed out for the ride home, the Tuckers didn’t mind. After all, they had a lot to cheer about. They are Long Island champions again. (more…)

05/19/14 8:23pm
05/19/2014 8:23 PM
Mattituck players formed a jubilant dog pile after Chris Dwyer's walk-off hit capped a five-run rally in the seventh inning to defeat Center Moriches. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Mattituck players formed a jubilant dog pile after Chris Dwyer’s walk-off hit capped a five-run rally in the seventh inning to defeat Center Moriches. (Credit: Garret Meade)

SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B TOURNAMENT | TUCKERS 5, RED DEVILS 4

Through six innings, hardly anything went Mattituck’s way.

Through six innings, Mattituck’s offense was curiously, and uncharacteristically, quiet.

Through six innings, Center Moriches pitcher Patrick Bryant was the story.

Then things changed dramatically. Mattituck stole the story line, and the playoff opener. (more…)

02/11/14 9:29pm
02/11/2014 9:29 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's Gene Allen rises above the rim for an attempt at the basket during his team's loss to Wyandanch in an outbracket game on Tuesday evening.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Gene Allen rises above the rim for an attempt at the basket during his team’s loss to Wyandanch in an outbracket game on Tuesday evening.

SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B OUTBRACKET GAME | WARRIORS 77, TUCKERS 68

They call them the Warriors for a reason.

Not only is that the nickname of the Wyandanch Memorial High School boys basketball team, but the term exemplifies its fighting spirit.  (more…)

07/11/13 11:21pm
07/11/2013 11:21 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's Chris Dwyer (35) tangling with Southold's James Penny and Patrick Mejsak (40) for a rebound.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Chris Dwyer (35) tangling with Southold’s James Penny and Patrick Mejsak (40) for a rebound.

It was a typical scene for a summer league basketball game. Just moments before the opening tipoff, Chris Dwyer rushed into the sticky Patchogue-Medford High School gym and dropped off what looked like a small lunch box onto the Mattituck bench before heading onto the court. His coach, Paul Ellwood, joked about how Dwyer is a blue-collar player who literally brings a lunch box with him to the game.

The truth is, the container held a blue ice pack that Dwyer has been bringing to games this summer to give him some cool relief in hot gyms that could double as saunas.

Of course, that is not to say that Mattituck doesn’t have blue-collar players — not to mention talented players, improved players, up-and-coming players. In short, the Tuckers have a lot, and a lot to look forward to. The team has remained largely intact since the last school season. Mattituck players are refining their skills by playing in two summer leagues (Brookhaven and Southampton), and the results on the court have been encouraging.

“We’re looking good,” said Gene Allen.

That certainly includes Allen himself. The 6-foot-1 guard, who is Mattituck’s marquee player, looks taller and stronger as he prepares for his senior season.

Allen’s transition even caught Ellwood by surprise. “He just turned into a man overnight,” Ellwood said. “Unbelievable. I didn’t see him for like two weeks, and I couldn’t believe how much he changed.”

Allen’s above-the-rim game is undoubtedly coming along, too.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's headline player, Gene Allen, looks taller and stronger this summer.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s headline player, Gene Allen, looks taller and stronger this summer.

“He’s the role model of this team pretty much,” Dwyer said. “He’ll find everybody [with passes]. He makes other players look great.”

But Allen is only one of many familiar faces that seem to have given Mattituck a head start against many of its summer league opponents. Will Gildersleeve, Joe Tardif and Dwyer were also regular starters during the last school season. Twin brothers Ian and James Nish, who are both 6-2, have athleticism that helps the team defensively.

Of the younger players, though, sophomore point guard Parker Tuthill might be the one that raises some eyebrows.

“Parker’s going to be a sensational player,” Ellwood said. “He needs to get physically just a little stronger, but he’s got the skill set, a tremendous point guard.”

Of course, the one person who will not be surprised by any of the Tuckers is their coach. “I know I have a lot of good players who are going to step up, and they’re getting better,” said Ellwood.

With Allen pouring in a game-high 17 points, Mattituck brought its Brookhaven League record to 5-0 with a 50-32 romp over Southold at Patchogue-Medford High School on Thursday night. Allen also accounted for seven rebounds, three steals and two assists, but he lamented his 1-for-7 free-throw shooting.

Dwyer may have played his best game of the summer. The junior forward put up 11 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

Southold’s talented junior guard, Liam Walker, played well, too, supplying his side with 11 points while Alex Poliwoda added nine.

Mattituck shot 48.7 percent from the field, but what Dwyer liked best was its passing, which he raved about. All but one of Mattituck’s 19 baskets were assisted. “It looks good,” he said. “We’re flashing to the ball more. We’re driving.”

Allen explained: “You trust the person you’re passing the ball to. You know they’ll do something good with it.”

Despite the undefeated record in Brookhaven, Ellwood said he is even happier about how Mattituck is doing in the more competitive Southampton League, where it has to tangle with tough teams like Southampton, William Floyd, Riverhead, Bridgehampton and Center Moriches. The Tuckers were 3-3 in that league through Thursday.

By playing in both leagues, the Tuckers have the opportunity to play as many as four times a week. Ellwood said they will play a minimum of 25 games this summer, and as many as 29.

Allen said it amounts to “a lot of laundry.”

Not to mention playing experience.

Ellwood said the Tuckers have things to work on. He noticed that sometimes the team’s play gets stale when it settles for too many jump shots. Improvements need to be made, he said, in defensive toughness and interior offense. Still, all in all, it’s hard to complain about how things look in the middle of July.

“It’s encouraging,” Ellwood said. “I’m not so concerned about the record. We are 5 and 0. That’s nice, but you just want to see us taking steps in the right direction.”

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05/29/13 7:30pm
05/29/2013 7:30 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southampton's Wyatt Schmidt is tagged out by Mattituck shortstop Marcos Perivolaris while trying to steal second base in the first inning.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southampton’s Wyatt Schmidt is tagged out by Mattituck shortstop Marcos Perivolaris while trying to steal second base in the first inning.

SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS B TOURNAMENT | MARINERS 5, TUCKERS 1

After throwing a strikeout for the last out of the game, Wyatt Schmidt found himself at the bottom of a white and maroon pile of humanity that formed in front of the pitcher’s mound. The Southampton pitcher said he was having trouble breathing, but he undoubtedly enjoyed every moment of it.

“My catcher [Alex Soyars] just picked me up and threw me to the ground,” the exuberant Schmidt said. “You know, that’s the best feeling I ever had, to be honest.”

Mattituck’s baseball players, meanwhile, were dealing with much different emotions as they watched the Southampton celebration and saw their season come to an end.

A combination of two-hit pitching by Schmidt and five errors by Mattituck proved to be too much for the Tuckers to overcome on Wednesday. Soyars drove in three runs and Eddie McLaughlin homered for top-seeded Southampton, which picked up its third Suffolk County championship in five years with a 5-1 defeat of the visiting Tuckers in the Class B double-elimination tournament.

The majority of No. 3 Mattituck’s self-inflicted damage came in the second inning when it committed three errors which, along with a two-run, ground-rule double by Soyars and three walks, led to three unearned runs and a 3-1 Southampton lead. Southampton (19-2) drew six walks on a day when not much went Mattituck’s way. Southampton won all four games it played against Mattituck this year.

“I always thought we were as good as them,” Mattituck first baseman Ian Nish said, “and losing to them just makes it that much harder because we could have beat them, and in the end it just didn’t work out for us.”

McLaughlin socked a solo homer with two out in the fifth to make the score 4-1 in the game, which had been postponed twice because of inclement weather.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's starting pitcher, Cameron Burt (6-3), gave up five runs (two earned) and five hits before making way for Chris Dwyer after five and two-thirds innings.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s starting pitcher, Cameron Burt (6-3), gave up five runs (two earned) and five hits before making way for Chris Dwyer after five and two-thirds innings.

Another insurance run was provided for the Mariners in the sixth when Soyars singled through the infield, bringing home Henry Egan, who had led off with a flare to right field.

Mattituck’s sole run was unearned in the second. Nish started the inning by shooting a stand-up double to center field. Two outs later he was brought home when Brian Pelan reached base on Southampton’s only error of the day.

The only other hit Schmidt allowed was also a double, by Chris Dwyer in the third. Schmidt had two walks and six strikeouts.

It was mistakes that might have irked the Tuckers the most. Two of the errors in the second came on popups that weren’t caught. One of them — a foul ball by Soyars — fell, untouched, just outside the first baseline. That was before Soyars delivered his two-run hit.

“We just gave it to them,” said Dwyer, the second baseman.

Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro was clearly not happy with what he saw that inning, which he considered the decisive point of the game.

“It was that inning when we made three errors, dropped two infield pop flies, things we practice almost every day, and we walked three guys,” he said. “That was it.”

Schmidt said the double postponements that ultimately pushed the game back four days didn’t bother him. He said he was prepared to take the ball.

“I was ready to go and, you know, put my best out there,” the senior right-hander said. “I pitched alright. This wasn’t my best game of the year. I had trouble with my curveball and my changeup throughout the game, but I powered through.”

Southampton coach Ike Birdsall was talking to reporters after the game when some of his players snuck up behind him and heaved ice from a bucket at his back. He took it in good humor, with the knowledge that the Mariners will play in a Long Island final against Wheatley on Monday at Dowling Sports Complex.

“It’s the biggest thrill,” said Birdsall.

A win over Southold/Greenport in 2009 gave Southampton its first county championship in 31 years. Birdsall coached that team as well the one that repeated as a county champion in 2010. Asked how this county title compared to the first two he won, the coach replied: “They’re all special and they’re all great. Each team has different players, so there are different emotions that go along with it, but to call yourself a champion, I’d love to do it every year.”

The Tuckers, meanwhile, finished the season with a 15-9 record and perhaps a sense of unfinished business.

Dwyer dismissed the notion that there may be some consolation in that the Tuckers lost to a team that had itself lost only twice this year. “Ah, disappointing pretty much,” he said, “because we could easily be in their position right now, and we’re not.”

Mattituck bids farewell to only three seniors: Ryan Finger, Dylan Hahn and John Schultz. Its entire starting infield of Nish, Dwyer, shortstop Marcos Perivolaris and third baseman Will Gildersleeve are sophomores. The future looks bright.

In the wake of a painful defeat, though, DeCaro wasn’t in a reflective mood. Queried about his thoughts on the season, the coach responded, “A bad time to ask because we’re very disappointed right now.”

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04/16/13 7:32pm
04/16/2013 7:32 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's Will Gildersleeve diving safely back to first base while Bishop McGann-Mercy's Christian Lynch awaited the attempted pickoff throw.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Will Gildersleeve diving safely back to first base while Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Christian Lynch awaited the attempted pickoff throw.

TUCKERS 12, MONARCHS 2

Bats can do a lot of damage, especially in the hands of the Mattituck Tuckers.

Any doubt about that? Look at what Mattituck did on Tuesday when it opened its three-game League VIII baseball series against Bishop McGann-Mercy: 15 hits, two home runs (one from the No. 9 batter), hits from 10 players, multiple runs batted in from four players. The Tuckers had at least one hit in the first six innings. They staged successive four-run rallies in the fourth and fifth innings.

It all added up to a 12-2 result, Mattituck’s fourth straight win.

The field at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School is unquestionably batter friendly, and there was a breeze blowing toward the outfield, but there was also no doubting Mattituck’s ability to put the ball in play.

“We’ve been practicing hours upon hours of just hitting in the gym and everything, so it definitely showed here,” said Chris Dwyer, who drove in three of Mattituck’s runs.

Mattituck (7-4, 7-3) scored in double figures for the third time in four games. John Schultz and Ian Nish both homered. The leadoff batter, Joe Tardif, supplied three hits himself, two of which were doubles, not to mention a pair of RBI.

“We’re a pretty good hitting team, and today was a good day,” Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro told reporters.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck third base Will Gildersleeve focuses on fielding a ground ball.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck third base Will Gildersleeve focuses on fielding a ground ball.

Both teams traded two runs each in the first inning, with Ryan Finger posting a two-run single for Mattituck, and McGann-Mercy’s Christian Lynch socking a two-out, two-run triple over left fielder James Nish.

Schultz, batting ninth in the order, launched his first home run of the season in the second to give Mattituck a 3-2 lead.

Then the game really got away from McGann-Mercy in the fourth. That was the inning when Nish clubbed his fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot, to make it 7-2. It capped a four-run rally that Mattituck duplicated the following inning when a ground-rule double by Dwyer brought in the last two of those runs for an 11-2 count.

Even less experienced players got into the act. Dylan Hahn, brought to the plate as a pinch hitter in the sixth, bounced a single down the left-field line to score the game’s final run. He is 3 for 3 in his brief varsity career.

Later that inning, John Dwyer, Chris’ younger brother, was given his first varsity at-bat, and it’s one he’ll remember. He knocked a single through the left side of the infield.

“Now John Dwyer has a higher batting average on the varsity than Chris Dwyer,” cracked DeCaro.

The beneficiary of all this offensive production was Cameron Burt (3-0), who turned in a complete-game performance. Burt, who had excellent movement on his curveball, did not allow a run after the first inning. He recorded 10 strikeouts, gave up six hits, walked two and hit a batter.

“You look at the score and you’re like, ‘Ohhh,’ ” McGann-Mercy coach Ed Meier said. “You want to feel bad, but I don’t really see what else we could have done.”

It was the first loss in four games for the Monarchs (3-4, 3-4).

Lynch said the best thing for his team to do was have selective amnesia. “We can’t dwell on this game,” he said. “We got to move on.”

Chris Dwyer, who normally plays second base, moved over to shortstop while the team’s regular shortstop, Marcos Perivolaris, sat out his second game with a concussion. DeCaro said he hoped to have Perivolaris back on Monday.

For all of the hitting, DeCaro said what he really liked was the fact that Burt threw strikes, and the fielding behind him was impeccable. “I think, more than the hitting, those two things appeal to coaches,” said DeCaro.

Even so, it was quite a hitting display, one that didn’t go unnoticed.

“There’s no break in that lineup, and it showed,” Meier said. “These guys can hit, 1 through 9. That’s a very good hitting club. That’s what they do, and they did it today.”

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12/29/12 4:26pm
12/29/2012 4:26 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Chris Dwyer, trying to control the ball while being defended by Greenport’s Matt Dibble, led the Tuckers with 15 points.

PORTERS 69, TUCKERS 63

Matt Dibble said that when he hurt his left knee while playing soccer this past fall, he didn’t think the injury was too serious. That is, until he received word from his doctor that he had suffered a torn lateral meniscus.

“I almost passed out in the doctor’s office,” Dibble said. “It was like my life before my eyes.”

The Greenport High School junior must have cringed at the possibility of his basketball season ending before it had even begun.

But Porters fans were in for something of a surprise Saturday when the starting lineups for Greenport’s non-league game against Mattituck were announced, and No. 3, Matt Dibble himself, was back in his usual place among the starting five.

Just 26 days since undergoing surgery to have the torn lateral meniscus removed, Dibble was back on the court at Greenport High School’s Dude Manwaring Gymnasium, contributing to his team’s 69-63 win.

“It was great,” Dibble said of his return to action. “I wouldn’t want to do anything else. It was a great Christmas present.”

Dibble, who received medical clearance to play the day before, was diligent about his comeback. Two weeks after the operation, he was training hard, going to the gym and undergoing physical therapy. He also attended every Greenport game and practice, working out on his own.

Dibble, who played with a brace on the knee, said he didn’t expect to start until assistant coach Rodney Shelby delivered the news to him before the game.

Then Dibble went out and produced 9 points, 8 assists, 1 rebound and 1 steal. Greenport coach Al Edwards estimated that Dibble played about 25 minutes.

“I felt great,” Dibble said. “I think I might be actually a little bit faster” than before the injury.

Edwards said: “He handled himself pretty well, I thought. He got right back into the fire, so I give him a lot of credit for that.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Joe Tardif of Mattituck attempting a layup beyond the reach of Greenport’s Timmy Stevens.

Matt Dibble’s brother, Gavin Dibble, netted 15 points as did teammates Austin Hooks and reserve player Timmy Stevens to help Greenport hold off a second-half resurgence by Mattituck.

Greenport (4-3, 2-1 Suffolk County League VIII) looked headed for a rout in the first half as Stevens knocked down three 3-point shots and scored 11 points, pushing the Porters to an 18-point halftime lead at 39-21.

But Mattituck (1-6, 1-2 League VII) raised its game considerably in the second half. Although the Tuckers never held the lead, they did make it a game again thanks in part to the efforts of Chris Dwyer (15 points) and Eugene Allen (12 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, 1 block).

“When we play uptempo, we all feel it,” Dwyer explained. “We work together better.”

On the same day that Greenport welcomed Matt Dibble back to the fore, though, it also lost a player. Brian Tuthill’s left shoulder popped out of place and he left the game 55 seconds into the third quarter. Edwards said he didn’t know how long Tuthill, a starting forward, would be out. The coach said the dislocated shoulder has been an ongoing problem for Tuthill, who didn’t play in summer or fall leagues this year. “I think it’s pretty serious,” said Edwards.

Mattituck, meanwhile, salvaged something out of a potential laugher. A loss is a loss for Mattituck, but the Tuckers could take some good out of how they played in the second half when they scored 42 points and used their trapping defense to force 18 of Greenport’s 23 turnovers.

While he told his players he was happy with the effort, Mattituck coach Paul Ellwood also noted: “You got to be careful with moral victories because then you start saying it’s O.K., you come back and you rally, and you get respect from the other team who pat you on the back and say, ‘Good job,’ you kind of become satisfied with losing. So we have to get over the hump and work it out.”

Matt Dibble’s veteran presence might have made a difference in the outcome, said Ellwood.

“He just gives them that experience,” the coach said. “When we were making that run, we had them kind of on the ropes. You could tell [Matt Dibble] took some good drives to the basket and made a couple of big layups.”

Although Matt Dibble didn’t betray much emotion on his face during or after the game, there was no doubting how happy he was to be playing again.

“It’s great to be back,” he said. “I don’t know what else to say.”

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