Baseball: Montesano powers SWR into county finals

05/23/2014 8:26 PM |
Shoreham junior John Montesano hit a 3-run home run in the second inning to put the Wildcats in the lead. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Shoreham junior John Montesano bats earlier in the season against Westhampton. He drove in four runs Friday against Harborfields. (Credit: Daniel De Mato, file)

SUFFOLK CLASS A TOURNAMENT  |  WILDCATS 7, TORNADOES 1

As a junior in his first-year on varsity, John Montesano is one of only two players in Shoreham-Wading River’s lineup who did not start a year ago.

He’s left a lasting impression in what’s become a deep lineup for the Wildcats. Montesano hit his fourth home run of the season Friday afternoon, helping lift the Wildcats to a 7-1 win over Harborfields in a Class A loser’s bracket game in Shoreham. 

The win keeps Shoreham’s season alive and sets up a rematch against No. 2 Bayport-Blue Point Tuesday in the county finals. The top-seeded Wildcats will need to beat the Phantoms twice because Shoreham lost 6-1 against Bayport Wednesday.

Montesano hit a two-run single in the third inning to drive in Shoreham’s first two runs. His home run in the fifth inning gave the Wildcats (18-4-1) their final two runs of the evening. He finished the day 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs.

“I honestly didn’t see this power surge from him coming,” said Shoreham coach Sal Mignano. “Every homer he’s had has been in pretty much key spots.”

Montesano contributed on the mound as well, pitching the seventh inning in relief of senior Chris Moran to close out the game.

Moran had another terrific outing for Shoreham. He gave up six hits, one earned run and struck out six with two walks.

“He’s done a great job, always giving us five solid [innings],” Mignano said. “Today we got six out of him. And by that time the game was pretty much in hand.”

Moran, who pitched Shoreham’s playoff opener against Westhampton, gave up his lone run in the sixth inning after Shoreham had already established a 7-0 lead.

The Wildcats threatened in each of the first two innings, but couldn’t push a run across. They finally broke through in the third with a five-run inning.

Senior Zach Parilla doubled to bring in senior Jack Massa for Shoreham’s third run. Senior Adam Piotrowski followed with a double that scored Montesano and Parilla to make it 5-0.

Terrance Ely, who’s been Harborfield’s No. 2 pitcher all season, took the loss.

The win sets up yet another date with the defending state champion Phantoms. This will be the fifth time the teams have played since May 6. Both teams have won twice. The first three were games were all decided by one run in an epic series where Shoreham won two of three to clinch the League VII title.

The Wildcats will likely face Bayport’s ace Jack Piekos Tuesday.

“Now we got to face them on the road and beat them twice, but it’s an opportunity,” Mignano said. “I think that’s the way they look at it.”

If the Wildcats win Tuesday, a deciding game would be played Thursday back in Shoreham.

When it’s over, the teams will have combined to win the last four Class A county titles. Shoreham won in 2011 and 2012 before Bayport won last year.

joew@timesreview.com