The Hampton Bays baseball team is off to one of its best starts in recent memory after its two non-league victories over Amityville last week.
The Baymen, who won a total of two games the past two seasons combined, defeated the Warriors, 14-4, on their home field on March 26, then won by a wide margin, 19-1, two days later at home. Hampton Bays head coach Pete Meehan scheduled his team’s two non-league games against Amityville, a struggling program itself, which hasn’t won a game in over two years. It wasn’t to continue to demoralize Amityville as much as it was to gain his team some confidence going into the league schedule, Meehan said.
“It was exactly what I had hoped,” he said of the two games. “We had a good preseason. We got all four of our scrimmages in, pitchers got plenty of work, batters got plenty of work, and the weather was plenty good enough. It was important for us to get off to a good start, to build some momentum and confidence, and it’s well deserved.”
Jaden Ottati started on the mound for the Baymen in what was the season opener on March 26. The junior pitched four strong innings where he didn’t allow a walk. In fact, along with game two’s starter, sophomore Kai Leporati, the duo didn’t allow one free pass. But an error, a base hit and a ball that got lost in the sun, which resulted in a collision and a mild concussion for senior second baseman Jordan Hanes, allowed Amityville to score three runs in the bottom of the fourth to pull within one run of the Baymen’s lead. A six-run fifth inning put Hampton Bays out in front for good, and it tacked on four more in the sixth for good measure.
Kevin Eras, a senior, drove in a career-high five RBIs, three coming on a bases-clearing double and his first two coming off of a two-out base hit earlier in the game. Thanks to 13 walks and three hit batsmen, Hampton Bays had 16 free base runners and the Baymen took advantage of that for the most part. Seniors Joe Sapio and Nick Terry each scored three runs.
Despite scoring 14 runs in the first game, Meehan didn’t like the fact that his team committed eight errors in the field and it struck out seven times, five of them looking. They improved on both in the second game.
Hampton Bays scored 10 runs in the bottom of the first to take control of the game from the get-go. It scored 19 of its runs on 16 hits and, more importantly, it only committed two fielding errors and didn’t strike out once in the game. Meehan, the program’s longtime head coach, said that it may have been the first time one of his teams didn’t strike out once in a game.
Eras had another solid game at the plate, going 3 for 4 with three runs scored. Terry went 3 for 5 with three runs scored and three RBIs and sophomore Jordan Adleson was one of five players with two hits and he also scored three runs. Sapio, Ottati, junior Kevin Sheridan and sophomore Mickey Bracken also had two hits. The Baymen scored 33 runs in their first two games this season; they had scored 38 all of last season.
Leporati was expected to go three or four innings on the mound for the Baymen, but he was able to go five and allowed just four hits, and again, no walks.
Hampton Bays started its first League VIII three-game series with Smithtown Christian on Monday. Game two was Tuesday and the series is expected to wrap up this Friday, April 5, in Hampton Bays at 4:30 p.m. The Knights didn’t have a varsity team last season, but won back-to-back Class D state championships in 2015 and 2016, so they could be fielding another competitive team this spring, another reason why Meehan wanted his team to be in good spirits going into the series.