EAGLES 14, BLUE WAVES 0
Hauppauge coach Kevin Giachetti paused for only a brief second at the seemingly impossible question: Who’s your player of the game?
Narrowing down the field to two presented no trouble. On one hand, pitcher CJ Schildt had just thrown a one-hit, complete game shutout against Riverhead. On the other, third baseman Mike Rutigliano had just clubbed a school-record nine RBIs, including his first varsity home run.
“It’s tough,” Giachetti said. “I’d give it to Mikey because it’s a school record.”
The two Hauppauge seniors helped the Eagles to a 14-0 victory at Riverhead High School, dropping the Blue Waves to 5-7 in League IV. The Eagles, meanwhile, improved to 11-1, furthering their case as the class of the league.
The Blue Waves had no answer for Schildt, the Stony Brook University-bound lefty. Schildt improved to 5-0 on the season and has yet to give up more than one run in any start. Teams have mustered a total of three in all his starts combined.
“He’s better than advertised,” said Riverhead coach Rob Maccone. “He’s a great kid and he throws really well.”
The Blue Waves had three runners reach base and the only hit came on an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop by pinch hitter Brian Funfgeld in the fifth inning.
Schildt needed only 83 pitches over seven innings and he struck out eight with no walks.
“He was throwing against the wind so I knew his change-up was going to be real good,” Giachetti said. “Early on that’s all he threw, fastball change-up.”
Against a pitcher who doesn’t issue many free passes, the Blue Waves tried to attack Schildt early in the count. Schildt continually got ahead, which left the Riverhead batters that much more susceptible to the change-up or curve.
“He’s not overpoweringly hard,” Maccone said, “but he has a very good curveball and a great change-up, so you want to jump on his fastball. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to jump on it too often.”
The Eagles scored three in the second and four in the third to quickly open up a comfortable lead. The Blue Waves went through four pitchers. Joe Napoli made his second start of the year for the Blue Waves and lasted into the third inning before leaving for Josh Brewster.
Brewster gave the Blue Waves 3 1/3 innings, while surrendering two runs on two hits. A sophomore who started the season with the varsity, Brewster had recently spent time with the JV to get some more pitching opportunities.
“We brought him up and he did exactly what we asked,” Maccone said.
Rutigliano’s huge day began with a three-run home run in the second inning, about a 365-foot shot just beyond the left-centerfield fence. He added a two-run single in the third and an RBI groundout in the fifth.
In the sixth he came up with the bases loaded and smacked a bases-clearing double to right-center that made it 14-0.
Rutigliano was two batters away from getting a fifth at-bat in the final inning. After the game, the not-so fleet of foot third baseman joked with his teammates that he would have tried for third base on any hit to complete the cycle.
The Eagles have now shut down Riverhead’s bats for 14 straight innings. The Eagles blanked the Blue Waves in their first meeting, a 9-0 victory March 30. The teams will play twice more this week, beginning Thursday at Hauppauge. Tim Clement is expected to get the start for Riverhead.
“Every time we play them we don’t score,” Maccone said, “but everyone else we play we put up a bunch of runs.”
The Blue Waves came into the game having scored 14 in their previous two against West Babylon, one of which they won.
If the Blue Waves drop the next two against Hauppauge, they’ll have their backs against the wall heading into their final two series against Hills West and Copiague for a shot at the playoffs.