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Top Sports Stories 2015: SWR baseball reaches county finals

12/23/2015 6:00 AM |

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The 2015 Shoreham-Wading River baseball season began unlike any other in the program’s history. For the first time, a coach other than Sal Mignano wrote out the lineup card each game.

Kevin Willi, a former standout baseball player at Longwood and then Stony Brook University, took over the storied program. The Wildcats picked up right where they left off under Mignano, who retired at the end of 2014.

Behind another stellar season from Brian Morrell — who threw a third career no-hitter in a late April victory in which he struck out 16 batters — the Wildcats advanced into the Class A county finals against the two-time defending state champion Bayport-Blue Point Phantoms.

The best-of-three county championship series turned out to be a gem that came down to the very end. The Phantoms struck first, winning Game 1 in Bayport, before the Wildcats bounced back to tie the series behind a six-hit shutout from Matt Fox. The game lasted just 73 minutes.

It set the stage for a winner-take-all Game 3 back in Bayport with both teams throwing their aces. Predictably, a pitcher’s duel followed with neither team budging an inch through seven innings. Morrell tossed seven shutout innings for Shoreham, but it wasn’t enough as Bayport scored a walk-off run in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 1-0 victory.

It marked the end of a memorable playoff run for Shoreham that saw the Wildcats defeat Westhampton, then come back from a 1-0 hole in a best-of-three series against John Glenn in the semifinals.

Photo Caption: Brian Morrell of Shoreham-Wading River threw a no-hitter in April against Amityville. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

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