Sam Dickerson’s timing couldn’t be better — at the plate and in terms of the season, with the playoffs right around the corner.
Dickerson said he had started the high school baseball season hitting the ball pretty well before falling into a little slump.
“I’m starting to get back out of that hole,” the Mattituck junior said. “I’m starting to hit the ball hard again.”
Dickerson went 4-for-4 with three RBIs Tuesday as the Tuckers won their final home regular-season game, 11-3, over Bishop McGann-Mercy.
Mattituck (14-5, 14-5 Suffolk County League VIII) started the day tied for second place with Center Moriches. Both teams were one game behind Southampton, which will host the Tuckers in a regular-season finale tomorrow. The Tuckers are bidding for a fourth straight league championship.
When told of Dickerson’s numbers Tuesday, Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro said: “Sam certainly deserved it. … He’s been hitting the ball much better. We’ve been working on his swing. He works hard.”
The product of that work was seen as Dickerson, the No. 6 batter in Mattituck’s order, came through in each of his at-bats. He hit an infield single off the tip of third baseman Joe Marti’s glove in the first inning, shot a single to centerfield in the second, knocked a two-run double past a diving centerfielder in the third, and socked a liner to left in the fifth for his third RBI, giving Mattituck a 10-0 lead.
“Sammy’s doing great this year,” said Mattituck pitcher Kevin Mahon, who had a no-hitter going through 5 1/3 innings. “He’s putting the ball in play, hitting to the opposite field. When we need him to get hits, he gets hits in big spots.”
Mahon (2-0) had a big day himself. The senior righthander said it was around the fifth or sixth inning when it dawned on him that he had not allowed a hit at that point. He said he told himself: “They’re not really hitting the ball that much. I should be a little careful.”
It was one out into the sixth when Matt Gambino smacked a liner to centerfield, breaking the no-hit bid. It was the first of four hits in five at-bats for Mercy (3-16, 3-16), its only hits of the game. The next batter, Sean Tuthill, then connected on a fastball, belting a three-run homer — his second of the season — over the leftfield fence.
“I knew it was gone,” Tuthill said. “It was kind of a relief that the no-hitter was over. Kevin was pitching great the whole game and he was still pitching pretty well. He just made one mistake to me and I feel like I took advantage of it.”
Mahon was relieved after six innings by Dickerson, who had started at third base. He gave up two earned runs, walked none and had six strikeouts.
Mahon, who threw 83 pitches, said he used a two-seam fastball, a knuckle-drop and a changeup. “Throughout the whole game I just tried locating, finding spots, mixing pitches, and it worked out,” he said.
Mattituck received two RBIs apiece from Matt Heffernan and Ryan Mahon, Kevin’s younger brother who caught him. Ryan McCaffrey went 2-for-3 with a walk, scoring three runs.
Mercy coach Ed Meier said his young team has overachieved this season as the smallest Class B team in the state. Next year the Monarchs will be a Class C team and are expected to drop down a league. The Monarchs have been led by their only seniors — Matt Raynor, Gambino and Tuthill. The team starts two sophomores (Matt Chilicki and Sean Hinck) and two freshmen (Marti and Andrew Smith).
“We’ve had a lot of close battles against teams that, based on school size, we really shouldn’t be able to compete against,” Tuthill said. “I feel like the season’s been a win.”
Photo caption: Sam Dickerson went 4-for-4, driving in three Mattituck runs in an 11-3 defeat of Bishop McGann-Mercy. (Credit: Garret Meade)