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Baseball: Errors, walks spell Riverhead’s doom in L.I. semifinal

Riverhead third baseman Connor Saville 072016

It’s true. Walks are as good — and as bad — as a hit. As for errors, there is nothing good about them.

Riverhead had too many of both of them Wednesday evening when its magical run in the 9-10-Year-Old Division of the Little League World Series Tournament came to an end.

Perhaps shaken after falling into a 2-0 hole in the second inning, Riverhead committed eight errors in addition to conceding six walks. It added up to a 7-1 defeat to Plainview in a Long Island semifinal at Locust Avenue Park in Oakdale.

Plainview coach Ari Wind sent his No. 4 pitcher, Andrew Lenski, to the mound and Lenski pitched like an ace, registering 10 strikeouts and allowing one walk in the six-inning game. The only two hits Riverhead managed off Lenski came off the bat of leadoff hitter K.J. Duff. Lenski was efficient, throwing 66 pitches for the complete-game win.

Riverhead coach Mike Mowdy used his top two pitchers, Duff and Mike Mowdy, the coach’s son by the same name. After 4 1/3 innings and with his pitch count at 81, four shy of the proscribed limit, Duff moved to shortstop, trading positions with Mowdy. By then, Plainview was holding a 4-1 lead.

Plainview, which will play Sayville or West Islip in the Long Island final Thursday in Westbury, showed why it has a 9-0 record in the tournament. In a meaningless pool-play game on Tuesday, Plainview beat Riverhead, 7-4, but Wind said his team had not played well. That wasn’t the case on Wednesday.

With Lenski’s steady pitching and errorless defense behind him, Plainview turned in a solid performance.

The first two Plainview batters in the second, Matt Maier and Anthony Powers, drew walks that soon translated into a 2-0 lead following a double steal and an error.

Riverhead’s sole run came in the third. A walk by Ronan Levesque and a Duff hit that scooted under shortstop Liam Shwom preceded a Mowdy groundout that scored pinch runner Luke Bahnke.

Plainview didn’t get its first hit until the fourth when Nate Sica and Nick Kang produced infield singles to extend an inning that saw Maier and Thomas Dileo both score on an errors.

Any question of a Riverhead comeback was virtually erased in the sixth when Plainview plated three insurance runs, all with two outs. Lenski scored on a fielding miscue, Sebastian Lippman cracked an RBI double and Sean Farrell came home on a throwing error.

Riverhead’s Daniel Buday, who started the game at catcher, made a nice tumbling catch of a deep drive by Kang for the second out that inning.

After the game, appreciative Riverhead fans applauded the Riverhead team, which went 6-4 in the tournament. Coach Mowdy said he believes it is the first time a Riverhead team in this age group advanced this far.

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Photo caption: Riverhead third baseman Connor Saville awaits a throw before tagging out Plainview’s Andrew Lenski in the third inning. (Credit: Bill Landon)