East Hampton’s 9 and 10-year-old Little League traveling all-star team stayed alive in the District 36 tournament Monday by “mercying” Westhampton Beach 10-0 in four innings at the Pantigo fields here.
The lopsided victory was sweet indeed inasmuch as the young Bonackers had lost 2-1 at Westhampton a couple of days before. The win improved Tim Garneau’s team’s playoff record to 3-1, and prompted one of his young charges, Callum Menelaws, to exclaim, “We’ve gotten a lot better this year!”
East Hampton began the playoffs with a 13-7 win over Southampton at Pantigo on June 24, the big hitters being Matthew McGovern, Jackson Baris, Owen Ruddy, and Colin Ruddy. Southampton made a game of it in the fourth, by the end of which East Hampton led 9-7, but Colin Ruddy, in relief of Logan Gurney, shut the young Mariners down in the fifth and the sixth while Baris’s two-run double and two wild pitches that led to scores provided breathing room in the sixth.
The East Hamptoners went on to slaughter North Fork 18-4 — scoring 17 runs on 14 hits in the first inning — before losing 2-1, as aforesaid, at Westhampton. “We had two on and two out in the bottom of the sixth when Owen Ruddy hit a towering fly deep to left field,” Garneau reported later in the week. “I thought we’d won the game. I’d told Owen, ‘Lay into one and let’s go home,’ but their left fielder made a great catch on the warning track. It was a very exciting game.”
Garneau’s charges went right to work on Monday, scoring six runs in the top of the first, the big hits being a run-scoring triple by Henry Garneau and a three-run base hit by Baris. Colin Ruddy and Gurney pitched the early innings for East Hampton, whose lead was extended to 8-0 on run-scoring hits by Burton Garneau and Baris in the third.
“Two runs and they’re done,” the elder Garneau told his players as they went to bat in the bottom of the fourth. They did as directed, winding up as 10-0 victors.
“We’ve got to win Wednesday,” Garneau told his jubilant players afterward. “I think we can play with anybody,” an assessment with which they all seemed to agree.
East Hampton’s 11 and 12-year-old team, coached by Steve Minskoff, didn’t fare as well, losing 11-1 to powerful Wading River and 8-3 to Southampton. Thus they were eliminated from the double-elimination tournament.
“Southampton won it all last year — at least they didn’t ‘mercy’ us,” said Minskoff, who added that “they had a monstrous closer who threw hard and accurately.”
Turning to Little League girls softball, Rich Swanson reported that his team, the Express, had beaten the Red Wings in the best-of-three 11-12 final series by scores of 20-9 and 10-8. Mary McDonald was the winning pitcher in both games, which were played on East Hampton High School’s varsity field.
“We’ve been to the finals three years in a row — this time we won,” said Swanson.