In most recent seasons, Hampton Bays has had talented individual wrestlers, but has had a hard time putting everything together as a team.
Things seem to be different this season.
The Baymen picked up what is arguably their biggest dual-meet victory in years with a 39-38 victory at home over Center Moriches on December 21. The Red Devils were expected to be the clear cut favorite in League VIII this season, finishing last season as runner-ups in Suffolk County Division II behind just Mount Sinai with multiple wrestlers who reached the state tournament, many of whom returned this season. But the win certainly gives Hampton Bays—which is 2-0 with a win over Babylon on December 19—a big leg-up on the rest of the division when it comes to possibly winning the league title.
“I do feel that with the guys I have this season, our win over Center Moriches is a bit of a step in the right direction,” Hampton Bays head coach Mike Lloyd said. “It’s been a while for Hampton Bays to have consistent numbers and talented individuals in multiple weights. We have usually forfeited enough matches to keep us from being a competitive dual-meet team. As the way it is with many teams, we’ve continued to have talented individuals that rise to the top, but what has been lacking for us, is a team that can come together and deliver as a whole.”
In order for the Baymen to beat such a talented team as Center Moriches, they were going to have to be in the perfect position to do so, and Lloyd made sure of that prior to any matches actually being wrestled. Without Nick Morea or Steven Ramos at 145 pounds, Lloyd bumped up three of his wrestlers a weight class in order to make up for those losses. Nick Pacheco, who normally wrestles at 126 pounds, wrestled at 132, River Orlando went up from 132 to 138 and Nick Corredor went up from 138 to 145. Both Pacheco and Orlando lost both of their matches, but, they lost by major decisions, not technical falls or pins, which saved some points in a close match. Corredor won his match by injury default after his opponent broke his nose in their match and couldn’t continue.
What also made the match close was that both teams were only forfeiting three weight classes each, 18 match points apiece. Baymen Angel Peralta (106) and Alex Velasquez (152) both won their matches by pin, and Joe Gaudiello won his match with an 8-2 decision.
The match was so close that it was originally thought that it was a tie at 39-39. Ties aren’t allowed, however, so there are a few methods used to break a tie. The first is number of wins within that particular dual meet, then match criteria, which starts with number of pins and forfeits, tech falls, majors and regular decisions. Hampton Bays had more pins (2) than Center Moriches (1), but since overall wins is the first criteria, it seemed as if Center Moriches had the overall victory, so the Baymen lined up ready to admit defeat. But as Lloyd and Center Moriches head coach Mike Koscinski were going over the numbers, Lloyd double checked the team score totals and found a discrepancy that gave them an extra point. After confirming with Koscinski that the final score was actually 39-38 in the Baymen’s favor, Lloyd turned around to his team and said, “Guess what? We won!”
“Suffice to say, everyone was very excited that the match became such a nail-biter,” he said.
Although Center Moriches had more wins (8-7) than Hampton Bays, the Baymen wrestlers were able to avoid giving up big points by not getting pinned as much or by not losing by technical fall.
“When it came to head-to-head matches, I asked every one of my wrestlers to dig deep,” Lloyd added. “I expected them to have the mat sense to recognize what they could do, and if they found themselves in a position that they might lose the match to hold on, minimize the point difference, and whatever they did not to get pinned. Each match became a battle for points in what I could sense was already going to be a close match.”