Like most good baseball teams, the strength of the Riverhead Little League all-star team starts on the mound.
“Our pitching and our depth of pitching,” said Mike Mowdy, who coaches the 9- and 10-year-old team. “We have quite a few pitchers we can throw up there.”
The Riverhead team defeated Eastport-South Manor Thursday night, 11-1, to improve to 4-0 in the World Series tournament. Riverhead finished atop its pool. The next step is to play the teams from the other pool, which includes the large North Shore Little League, to determine the District 36 champion.
In the last three wins for Riverhead this week, the team allowed only one run. Riverhead defeated East Hampton Tuesday, 6-0 and then Southampton 12-0 Wednesday. The team opened the pool play with a 15-5 win over Westhampton on June 30.
Mowdy said the team is made up of players from the Little League’s majors and Double A divisions. After the tryouts, the team had a “crash course” with three practices before beginning the games, said Mowdy, who’s also the vice president of the league.
“We jumped right into it,” he said.
On top of the strong pitching, the team has excelled in the field defensively to complement some timely hitting, Mowdy said.
“You get those three things all at once, it’s hard to beat,” he said.
Pitcher KJ Duff is 2-0 on the mound, striking out 12 in 5 2/3 innings. Mike Mowdy, the coaches’ son, is also 2-0 with 10 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Ronan Levesque (3 innings, 4 Ks) and Mark Gajowski (1 2/3 innings, 3 Ks) have both contributed as well.
Duff and Mowdy have excelled at the plate, too, with Duff driving in 5 runs with a .416 average and home run. Mowdy has batted .778 with a home run and 6 RBIs. Jack Simon leads the team so far with 10 RBIs and is batting .615. Connor Saville (.428 average) and Noah Dufour (.400 average) have both led the offense as well.
Riverhead plays at 10 a.m. Saturday against Longwood at Stotzky Park, field 3.
Photo Caption: KJ Duff throws a strike from the mound. (Credit: Bill Landon)
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