No doubt about it. Louis Antos can hit a baseball.
Proof of that was seen last year when Antos was the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League batting champion with a sizzling .425 average.
Not that Antos is satisfied with that.
“I want that title” again, the Riverhead Tomcats third baseman said after going 4-for-4, with an RBI double, two runs scored and a stolen base in a 13-7 loss at Westhampton Saturday. “I want to break my previous record.”
He has some work to do. Through Sunday, Antos held a .263 batting average (15-for-57), but Tomcats manager Bill Ianniciello knows not to underestimate Antos’ hitting ability.
“He’s a monster hitter,” Ianniciello said. “It’s just taken him a little while to get on track. He led the league in hitting last year. It was only a matter of time. A guy like that doesn’t lose it. To his credit, he’s been grinding through it, and now he’s strung together several good games in a row. He’s having quality at-bats. As long as you’re having quality at-bats, it’s going to translate into hits at some point.”
In the four games preceding Monday, Antos hit 9-for-14 with three RBIs.
Tomcats catcher Jarred Greene has observed Antos and seen what makes him a successful hitter.
“I think his success is a testament to his preparation and hard work,” Greene said. “He’s always going up there with a plan and he finds a way to put the barrel on the ball almost every at-bat.”
Antos, a Queens College junior, found his slow start to the season “a little depressing, but I worked. I worked hard in the cage every night and figured it out finally and balls are dropping and I’m happy about it.”
What’s it like when the pieces are strung together and the hits are coming in bunches?
“It just feels automatic,” Antos said. “It’s almost like I’m going up to the plate and I kind of know a good outcome is in the forecast.”
• Mullahey makes his debut
Ryan Mullahey, who played for Shoreham-Wading River High School before moving onto LIU, played his first game for the Tomcats Saturday. Mullahey played the entire game at first base and went 0-for-4, striking out three times. He had been training with the club while rehabbing an arm injury.
“Today he filled in as a temp,” Bill Ianniciello said after the game. “We had an understanding that he would be here to help us out and work on his rehab. It’s something that we’ll evaluate going forward. We have guys who have been playing a lot so we tried to give a couple of guys a breather today. Ryan’s been big plus. He’s been helping us in a lot of ways.”
• Forecast prompts time change
Saturday’s game, originally scheduled for 5 p.m., was pushed up three hours for fear of a threatening weather forecast for later in the day. The game at Aviator Field in Westhampton was reset for 2 p.m., but by then the umpires weren’t on the scene and Bill Ianniciello didn’t arrive himself at the field until three minutes after that. Westhampton’s Harrison Cohen didn’t throw the game-opening pitch until 2:22 p.m.
“It doesn’t really make a difference,” Louis Antos said of the time change. “I prepped the night before, so [I had] all my work in the gym and I got a good night’s rest, ate a good breakfast, so the time change really didn’t play a factor in my play.”
• Walk-off winners
Sweeping a doubleheader is one thing, but the way the Tomcats did it Friday was something else. Walk-off hits by Robert Gallagher and Louis Antos brought the Tomcats 6-5 and 4-3 wins over the Long Island Road Warriors in Calverton.
• Hats off to Coules
Jason Coules of the Tomcats was named the league’s Player of the Week for the third week of the season. Since joining the club June 8, Coules has been a tough out. In Week 3 he batted .583 with a home run, four RBIs and four stolen bases. Through Sunday, he had a team-leading .459 batting average, two homers and eight RBIs in 11 games.
Photo caption: Louis Antos, the league’s batting champion last year, has regained his hitting form lately. (Daniel De Mato)