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Baseball: Sciarrino’s walk-off HR advances SWR

In the Shoreham-Wading River High School baseball team’s first scrimmage this year, Jared Sciarrino made quite an impression. The transfer from Longwood struck a laser of a line drive for a home run for his new team.

His new coach, Kevin Willi (a former Longwood player himself), liked what he saw. Willi recalled, “I said, ‘Oh, this kid’s going to hit some home runs this year. Look at his swing. Look at his pop.’ ”

Sciarrino, however, hasn’t made a name for himself as a home-run hitter. He had a homer against Bayport-Blue Point earlier this season, but that was it.

Until Saturday.

Leading off the bottom of the eighth inning Saturday, Sciarrino pulled a 1-and-0 fastball high and deep. Half Hollow Hills West’s Andrew McDonald gave chase, but ran out of room, diving over the fence. The shot lifted SWR to a 4-3 triumph in the Suffolk County Class A Tournament elimination game at Kevin Williams Memorial Field in Shoreham.

“I didn’t want to try to do too much because I knew it was a big spot,” said Sciarrino, who clubbed a ground-rule double earlier. “I was thinking more, stay on top of the baseball and try to get on. When you think home run, sometimes you tend to get under it, but if you stay on top of it and drive the baseball, good things happen.”

“I got it off the handle a little bit, but the ball was carrying today, and when I saw him going back, my initial thought was, ‘Get on,’ ” he continued. “I didn’t really realize it was over until I looked back.”

The ball traveled an estimated 320 feet, and Sciarrino was mobbed by happy teammates at home plate.

Willi literally jumped in the air in the third-base coach’s box after seeing the ball clear the fence.

Because Sciarrino is not regarded as a home-run hitter, Willi said he had contemplated giving him the take sign on that second pitch before reconsidering. Willi remarked: “I said, ‘You know what? He’s shown power at times and he’s really seen the ball really well the last two, three weeks.’ So, I said, ‘Yeah, if he likes the pitch, swing at it.’ ”

Sciarrino, a junior centerfielder, has speed, and likes to use it. That plays into his approach at the plate.

He said, “I would describe myself more gap to gap than home run because I feel like I can run, so I like to get on base and make things happen.”

At the same time, Sciarrino has shown he has power, too. “He hits them in BP all the time, but in the game he likes to go the other way and just drive doubles down the line,” said SWR’s Aidan Crowley, who pitched well, throwing 125 pitches on four days of rest.

Third-seeded SWR (17-5) survived to play another day. The Wildcats will head to No. 2 Rocky Point (18-4), the League VI champion, Sunday. A loss would oust SWR from the double-elimination tournament.

SWR picked up the game’s first run on Mike Smith’s bounced two-out RBI single through the infield in the third inning. In the fifth, SWR produced four hits and scored twice on RBI singles by Tyler Widercrantz (2-for-4) and Everett Wehr for a 3-0 lead.

No. 6 Hills West (14-8-1) plated all three of its runs in the sixth when it picked up four of its six hits off Crowley. Jordan Goldstein clocked a run-scoring double just beyond the reach of rightfielder Smith. Then, with two outs, Doug Lattuca cracked a first-pitch single that brought in two runs, tying the score at 3-3.

Even so, Sciarrino said, “We never felt like we were going to lose.”

Crowley had 11 strikeouts and four walks before being relieved by Blake Osness two outs into the eighth. Osness was the beneficiary of some great defense by leftfielder Wehr. The only batter Osness faced, McDonald, struck a sinking liner that Wehr raced forward and dove for. After showing the ball to an umpire, he was credited with the catch for the third out in the eighth.

This wasn’t Sciarrino’s first career walk-off hit. He had a game-ending single for Longwood last year against Patchogue-Medford at Bethpage Ballpark. This one, though, was special.

Said Willi, “He came through when it counted.”

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Photo caption: Jared Sciarrino had a happy crew of Shoreham-Wading River teammates waiting for him at home plate after lashing his walk-off home run in the eighth inning. (Credit: Bob Liepa)