Expectations were undoubtedly high for Brian Morrell and the Shoreham-Wading River baseball team entering the 2017 season. They didn’t disappoint.
Morrell, the standout pitcher/infielder, compiled a season for the ages in his fifth varsity season for the Wildcats, helping lead the team to the Class A county championship in June. It was the eighth county title in program history and the first for Shoreham since 2012. The team’s 24 victories were a program record.
Fittingly, it was Morrell on the mound in the decisive victory over Bayport-Blue Point. He pitched a complete game, giving up one run. And he powered the offense with a grand slam — his second of the postseason — and a ground-rule double as the Wildcats won 8-1.
“Getting this far has been a goal of ours since January,” Shoreham-Wading River coach Kevin Willi said after the win.
Morrell finished the season with a .500 batting average with 7 home runs and 39 RBIs. On the mound, he went 10-1, losing only in the Long Island Championship, and posted a 1.24 ERA with 93 strikeouts. He limited opposing hitters to a .124 batting average.
It all added up to a second consecutive Carl Yastrzemski Award as the top player in Suffolk County. He became only the second player to ever repeat as the winner.
Morrell, who now attends Notre Dame, left Shoreham as the program’s all-time leader for career runs, hits, home runs and RBIs, among other categories.
One day after accepting the Yastrzemski Award, Morrell was drafted in the Major League Baseball draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. He was taken in the 35th round. He ultimately decided shortly afterward to not sign with the Phillies and attend Notre Dame instead, meaning he would be eligible for the MLB draft again in three years.
Photo credit: Grant Parpan