OSPREYS 7, TOMCATS 5 (10 INNINGS)
This Penn didn’t need a hit to mark his imprint on the game.
Even without a hit, Penn Murfee had an unquestioned impact on the outcome of the North Fork Ospreys-Riverhead Tomcats game on Sunday. True enough, the Ospreys third baseman went 0 for 2 at the plate, but it wasn’t with his bat that he made a difference so much as with his legs, his keen eye and his baseball instincts.
Murfee had a rare statistical day, going hitless, but more than making up for it with four walks and three stolen bases. He also scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error in the top of the 10th inning as the Ospreys rallied for a 7-5 triumph over the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League leaders on Father’s Day.
The extra-inning game, which saw three lead changes and the score tied twice, was ultimately decided in the 10th when Murfee led off by drawing his fourth walk of the day at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton. Murfee had three walks for the season going into the game. After reliever Tim Duggan retired the next two batters, Murfee went to work, stealing second base and then third, giving him nine steals for the season and giving the Ospreys (5-5) an opportunity.
Ryan Mahoney reached base on a walk, leaving runners at the corners. When Mahoney broke for second base on an attempted steal, the catcher’s throw went into center field and Murfee crossed home plate for a 6-5 Ospreys lead. Moments later, Mahoney scored the insurance run on a fielding error.
The Tomcats (6-4) made six errors in the game, but those weren’t the only mistakes they made. In the bottom of the 10th, Hunter Dolshun (3 for 4, walk), who had added three runs batted in to his league-leading total of 13, drew a walk and Mike Donadio (3 for 5) socked a single. Dolshun was then thrown out by catcher Chris Gaffney trying to steal third base. Reliever Justin Andrews got the next two batters on a flyout and a fielder’s choice, and the Ospreys were winners after a 3-hour 17-minute roller coaster.
Although Murfee’s patience at the plate and his ability to steal bases came in handy, he can hit, too. He entered the game with a .280 batting average and ranked tied for fifth in the league in RBI with six.
Matt D’Ariano (2-0) picked up the win in two-plus innings without conceding a hit. He issued two walks and struck out two.
The Ospreys’ 11-hit attack featured three hits by their leadoff batter, Kyle Adie, and three RBI by Brad Witkowski. It was a lined single by Witkowski over leaping second baseman Cole Fabio that brought in two North Fork runs for a 5-4 Ospreys lead in the sixth. Earlier that inning, Casey Baker had slapped a single to plate a run.
The Ospreys had scored first in the first, thanks to an infield single by Adie, a bunt single by Austin Miller, a fielder’s choice and an error.
But the Tomcats didn’t wait long for a reply. They put up three hits, including a sharp run-scoring single by Dolshun, to knot the score at 1-1 in the bottom half of the inning.
Dolshun slapped a two-run single past the second baseman, Witkowski, for a 3-1 Tomcats lead in the third.
An unearned run in the fourth made it 4-1. Mark Donadio reached base when his high popup fell to the ground, untouched. He later scored on a groundout by Mike Conti.
But the Ospreys worked their way back slowly, pulling a run back in the fifth, when Luke Stampfl rapped a single, followed by consecutive walks to Murfee, Nick Day and Witkowski.
After the Ospreys pulled ahead, 5-4, the Tomcats drew even in the sixth on Donato Signore’s sacrifice fly.
The Ospreys mounted a serious threat in the ninth when their first two batters, Mahoney and Gaffney, singled. Later, Baker drew a two-out walk to load the bases. But reliever Garrett Woofter recorded a big strikeout to avoid any damage.