GARRET MEADE PHOTO
Riverhead Tomcats outfielder Matt Fleishman plays for Villanova.
It has been that kind of a roller coaster of a season, so far.
The Riverhead Tomcats have gotten off to an 11-11 start through the first month of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League season, so it was no surprise they split a doubleheader at Mashashimuet Park against the Sag Harbor Whalers (7-13) on Saturday. The Tomcats won the opening game 6-5, then fell in the second game 1-0.
In the first game, the Tomcats built a 5-1 lead before the Whalers rallied in the fifth inning to make it close. Matt Fleishman sparked the Tomcats going 3-for-4, while Mike Lonsdale had two hits and a pair of runs batted in. The Tomcats took full advantage of some sloppy Sag Harbor fielding. Kevin Needham got the win for the Tomcats, as he allowed four hits and four runs over four and two-thirds innings. Thomas Jones got the save.
“We’ll play smart baseball,” Tomcats coach Randy Caden said earlier in the season. “We’ll hit and run and bunt. We’ll play small ball.”
They will do whatever they have to do to be successful.
The Tomcats lost a heartbreaker in the second game. Sag Harbor broke a scoreless tie with a run in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Kevin Grove doubled home Ed Squeri with the winning run. Jimmy Powers took the loss for the Tomcats. Joey Novak, the Tomcats’ starting pitcher, allowed only two hits across the first five innings.
It was feast or famine all week long for the Tomcats at the plate, as the Westhampton Aviators blanked the Tomcats 2-0 on July 1 at Hite Field. The Aviators (11-11) pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth off the Tomcats’ Chris Pabisch to pull out the win. John Soldinger got the win for Westhampton. Lonsdale and John Adornetto both had a pair of hits for the Tomcats.
The Tomcats turned the tables on the Aviators the next day, scoring a run in the bottom of the ninth on Jason Stone’s sacrifice fly, scoring Marc Magliaro, to edge Westhampton 7-6 at Riverhead High School. Three Tomcats’ pitchers — Jack Lane, Dom Macaluso and Chris Taylor — combined for a one-hitter. Three Tomcats’ errors led to a pair of unearned runs for the Aviators. Taylor got the win. Fleishman and Jeff Welsh both had two hits, while Kevin Needham had a three-run double in the third inning and Tyler Brant had a two-run single in the fifth.