Just before hosting crosstown rival Westhampton Beach on Friday, four members of the Hampton Bays baseball team unexpectedly quit, forcing coach Pete Meehan to call up three unproven freshman to fill out his varsity roster.
And no one expected the Baymen to be competitive in the game, let alone come from behind to defeat the Hurricanes with a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning.
But that’s exactly what happened.
A suddenly young Hampton Bays team rallied from two runs down to earn a 6-5 win over the Hurricanes, who had just enjoyed a 9-3 non-league victory over Mattituck the day before.
Meehan said he was impressed with the resiliency of his players, especially that shown by the three players—Ryan Gunn, Tim Frost and Bill Dzanoucakis—he had to call up from JV.
Trailing 5-3 in bottom of the seventh, Gunn was hit by a pitch and junior Kevin Quintero was called in to pinch run for him. Sophomore Josh Karl then doubled to put runners on second and third with only one out. Junior Ryan Cavanaugh then singled in Quintero to make it a 5-4 game, leaving runners on first and third.
After Cavanaugh stole second base—his second of the game—junior Ryan Schultheis grounded out to first to plate Karl as the tying run. Senior Jesse Frost then hit a walk-off single that scored Cavanaugh. Frost finished the game 2 for 4 with an RBI and run scored. Karl was 1 for 3 with the double and two runs scored.
Tim Frost was also solid on the mound for Hampton Bays after allowing three runs in the first inning, a rally that was helped by a pair of walks and errors. He settled down quickly and retired 10 of 11 batters at one point in the game. He ended up going four innings in his first varsity start, allowing just two hits and three runs while striking out three.
Schultheis wound up getting the win since he pitched the top of the seventh. Karl pitched the fifth and sixth and got the Baymen out of a jam in his last inning when he struck out a batter with runners on second and third. Frost, Karl and Schultheis allowed only four hits to Westhampton Beach throughout the game.
Dzanoucakis, the third JV call-up, smacked a two-out run-scoring single in the bottom of the fourth inning to keep Hampton Bays within striking distance.
Meehan declined to speculate as to why four of his players, who had accounted for one-third of his 12-man roster prior to the three call-ups, decided to throw in the towel.
Hurricanes head coach Tom Hoare said that while he was disappointed with the outcome, he gave full credit to the Baymen.
“They just strung together some hits,” he said. “We let them hang around instead of extending the lead and it came back to bite us. They got the hits they needed. We had opportunities to extend the lead and we just didn’t do it.”
Sophomore Mike Pesce made his first varsity start on the mound for Westhampton Beach and he pitched very well, allowing three runs (one earned) in five innings of work. Senior Hunter Tracy had an RBI triple.Westhampton Beach would like to remember its win over Mattituck instead, which came on March 21. Junior pitcher Brett Pisaneschi pitched five innings and allowed one hit and one earned run while striking out five. Sophomore Jake Bramwell had three hits while sophomore Dan McEvoy and senior Chris Pesce had two hits each.
The victory was the first for Westhampton Beach since May 6, 2011, when it defeated Amityville 3-2. Hoare said one of his team’s first goals was to earn its first win of the season before starting league play, which began on Monday at home against Harborfields. The Hurricanes lost 13-5.
“We played a good game,” he said of the win over Mattituck. “It was a freezing-cold day out there but we played well. It was important to get off to a good start and beat a good Mattituck team. I was very happy and the guys were excited.”ON THE SCHEDULE: Hampton Bays—Wednesday, 3/27, vs. Newfield (non-league), 10 a.m.; Tuesday, 4/2, vs. Mercy, 4 p.m. Westhampton Beach—Wednesday, 3/27, at Harborfields, 10 a.m.; Saturday, 3/30, vs. Mercy, 10 a.m.; Monday, 4/1, at Eastport South Manor, 4 p.m.