When he first looked at the Riverhead High School baseball schedule for next week, Coach Rob Maccone did not like what he saw. Only one game was scheduled — at Patchogue-Medford — on April 15.
But now, it could work out just right for the Blue Waves given that Tuesday’s away game against West Babylon was rained out and that some of their remaining games against their Suffolk County League IV rivals this week could be in jeopardy due to some more inclement weather in the forecast.
“It actually works out now kind of better because now we have the bye next week,” Maccone said. “If this series has to be pushed into next week we have all arms and all ready to rock and roll. West Bab has a series next week, so they can’t use all their pitchers.”
Because the team could not practice outside last Wednesday, Maccone had the team do a light jog.
“We kept it loose because we have three games in a row now,” he said. “When you have a regular series, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Monday you keep it light. Tuesday, Wednesday you play. Thursday you fix your mistakes and Friday you try to build off the mistakes that you made. Now it’s Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. There’s no chance to fix your mistakes. You can only talk about them.”
But if Riverhead does not have to play many games next week, the Blue Waves still could wind up ahead of the curve.
“The bye week helps out big time,” Maccone said. “So if we have to extend the pitchers and let them go another half inning, it’s not a big deal because we don’t have to play next week.”
The Blue Waves (0-1, 0-0) have played only one game this season — a 7-5 non-league defeat at King Park on March 29.
Maccone had scheduled 13 scrimmages and six were rained out.
“Being up in the northeast in March, it’s kind of tough when it comes to the weather,” he said.
It’s a good thing that scrimmages don’t count in the standings, because things were not always perfect. The Blue Waves dropped a scrimmage to Islip on April 2. Though they weren’t supposed to keep score, Maccone said Riverhead lost, 13-4.
“The scrimmages were not so good, but we got some kids some playing time,” Maccone said. “We had some kids a little banged up, so we rested them. Some kids played out of position, which kind of hurts a little bit, but the pitching looked all right. The defense needed a little work. But again, it was kids out of position and you can’t really give a fair evaluation. The bats started out a little slowly. We got better at the end of the game. It wasn’t the greatest of days, but it’s definitely something we can improve on.”
On the flip side, pitcher Jamie Fox impressed Maccone in another scrimmage against Sayville on March 28.
“He threw very well,” Maccone said. “He gave up two unearned runs in four innings of work. So he’s right on pace where we need him to be. He threw about 60 pitches, so hopefully [Wednesday] we can get him into the 80 or 90 pitches. If he pitches the way we think he’s going to pitch, he’ll get deep into the game. That’s a big plus.”
Maccone was also encouraged with the top of his order.
“The top of our lineup is looking pretty good,” he said. “I like the way [Gabe] Rice is working, hitting the ball on the ground, trying to put balls in the hole, put them on the ground, make them make a play. [Jon] Tucci, [Jordan] Demchuk and [Rob] Pisano have been hitting real well. [James] Porco is getting better. Matt Crohan is a sophomore who is still learning the ropes. He had a little tough day against Kings Park, but his swing is getting there.”