AVIATORS 9, TOMCATS 2
It seemed hard to believe afterward, looking at the scoreboard at Aviator Field in Westhampton, but for six tight innings, the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League game had been a classic pitching duel.
And then the wheels came flying off, sending the Riverhead Tomcats tumbling to defeat.
That’s baseball for you.
With all the runs coming in the final four innings, the Westhampton Aviators scored in the last three, including back-to-back four-run spots in the seventh and eighth innings for a 9-2 win on Monday. Seven of Westhampton’s 12 hits came during those two innings.
The loss doesn’t help the Tomcats’ playoff chances. With their regular season set to come to an end on July 25, the last-place Tomcats (11-17) could find themselves running out of time to make up lost ground unless they start moving up in the standings soon. Four of the league’s seven teams will qualify for the playoffs.
For most of the game, the Tomcats’ starting pitcher, Tanner Watkins, was locked in a test of nerves with his counterpart, Logan Frati.
Watkins threw 73 pitches over his five and two-third innings, giving up five hits and one walk against seven strikeouts. He was not charged with the single run that was scored while he was on the mound.
Frati lasted longer, going seven innings, with a similar pitching line. He was touched for four hits, an earned run and a walk, striking out seven. Frati threw 85 pitches.
But Frati had something that Watkins didn’t have: run support.
Kevin Podell’s third hit of the game, a run-scoring single through the middle, snapped a 1-1 tie in the seventh for the Aviators (18-10). Three more runs followed before the Aviators were done swinging that inning. Mark Osis doubled in a run and Jack Massa’s ground-rule double brought home two more.
Massa played against his former Shoreham-Wading River High School teammate, Tyler Osik, who played second base for the Tomcats.
A buggy, muggy day was made more uncomfortable for the Tomcats. In the eighth, the first three Aviators batters loaded the bases. Osis picked up his second run batted in on a fielder’s choice, Colin Brockhouse produced a sacrifice fly and Tyler Piccolo’s double was good for two runs and a commanding 9-1 lead.
Brockhouse had singled in the Aviators’ first run in the sixth.
All nine Westhampton batters managed at least one hit in the game.
Nate Soria led off the seventh for the Tomcats by clubbing his first home run of summer, tying the score at 1-1.
Soria scored Riverhead’s second run in the ninth. After Soria drew a leadoff walk and moved to second base on a passed ball, Turner Buis ripped a double to center field to bring him home.
The Tomcats, who had swept a doubleheader from the Sag Harbor Whalers with a pair of one-run wins on Sunday, were hoping to build some momentum from that sweep, but it didn’t happen.