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Sweep Ends East Hampton’s Baseball Season

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 19:13
Vinny Alversa, East Hampton High’s baseball coach, and Nico Horan-Puglia, his cleanup hitter and one of the team’s five seniors, hugged in the wake of Friday’s 6-5 loss here to East Islip.
Jack Graves

East Hampton High’s baseball team needed to win all three games of last week’s series with East Islip to make the playoffs, but the task proved to be too great. The league-runner-up Redmen won 5-1 here on May 7, effectively ending the Bonackers’ postseason hopes, and then won game two, by a score of 7-0, and game three as well, by a 6-5 score, though, despite the drizzly rain, the last game was well worth watching. It did not begin well, however.

Trevor Meehan, East Hampton’s starter, walked the first four batters he faced before, with a run already in, Alex Johnston, with the count full, singled in two runs to put the home team in a 3-0 hole, which prompted Vinny Alversa,

East Hampton’s coach, to replace Meehan with Finn O’Rourke.

O’Rourke, with runners at first and third base and none out, retired Brady Kneisel on a groundout to Carter Dickinson at first base as the runners moved up. Mike Tramaglini, the seventh hitter in the Redmen’s lineup, then beat out a grounder to deep short, a hit that plated East Islip’s fourth run, but O’Rourke got out of the inning with no further damage.

East Hampton got one back in the bottom of the third, thanks to good eyes at the plate. The number-eight hitter, Chase Siska, one of six seniors who started that day, after fouling off seven of John Talt’s pitches with the count full, drew a walk to lead off. Mike Locascio also walked on a 3-2 pitch. After Hudson Meyer, the leadoff hitter, was caught looking at a third strike, Tyler Hansen drew a full-count walk, and Nico Horan-Puglia did too, accounting for East Hampton’s first run. A popout to second by Dickinson and a lineout to left field by O’Rourke ended the inning.

East Islip tacked on two more runs in their fourth, Johnston again being credited with the r.b.i.s., and that’s the way it stood until the bottom of the sixth, when the Bonackers, with Tramaglini on the mound, scored four runs on five hits to get back into the game.

Horan-Puglia led it off with a triple to the center-field fence. A subsequent line-drive single by Dickinson drove him in. Meehan drew a walk, after which Kieran Conlon, who had come on in relief of O’Rourke in the fifth, flied out to center field, but Livs Kuplins, who was pinch-hitting in the seventh spot, singled in Dickinson to make it 6-3.

That brought up Siska, whose single, which loaded the bases with one out, prompted a pitching change. The Redmen’s reliever, Chris LaMacchia, caught Locascio looking at a 3-2 fastball, but Meyer followed with a two-run base hit that pulled East Hampton to within one, at 6-5, and though Hansen was to end the inning with a 6-3 groundout, the rally greatly lifted the spirits of Bonac’s fans.

Horan-Puglia, the fifth pitcher Alversa used that day, shut down the visitors in their seventh. He led off East Hampton’s last at-bat with a deep flyout to center field, but Dickinson and Meehan then singled back-to-back.

When Conlon came to bat, with one out, there were runners at first and third. Alversa called for a safety squeeze. Conlon squared up to bunt, but missed, and Bonac’s pinch-runner at third, who had gone too far up the line, was tagged out trying to get back.

There was still a chance to tie or win — Alversa having brought in a pinch-runner for Meehan at second — but Conlon went down swinging at a 3-2 fastball, and that was it.

The 8-12 season, Alversa said afterward, had gone pretty much the way he thought it would. No one’s head was drooping. Baseball’s a year-round thing here now. The team made the playoffs last year, and may well make them next year, with a strong group coming back.

The coach said he expected his returnees would play in the off-season, and East Hampton, as it did last year, will field five 9-through-13-year-old teams in Brookhaven summer leagues.

About Game One

Tom Costarelli, a left-hander who mixed a swift fastball in with curves, went all the way for East Islip in game one, allowing just two hits, striking out eight, and walking three.

Alversa used three pitchers that day — Zach Dodge, O’Rourke, and Conlon.

East Islip’s big inning was the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, and with the visitors up 2-1, Alversa replaced Dodge with O’Rourke, who, with the count full, gave up a two-run single up the middle to Gavin Veltman before ending the inning with a strikeout, a walk, and a bases-loaded infield groundout.

As it turned out, that 4-1 lead was to prove pivotal. The Bonackers went down one-two-three in the bottom of the fourth; ditto in the fifth. With two outs in East Hampton’s sixth, Dickinson walked, but Horan-Puglia struck out chasing a 3-2 fastball.

Costarelli threw four straight balls to Victoreddy Diaz, East Hampton’s fifth hitter, who led off the home team’s last at-bat, but Meehan forced Diaz at second, and the next two batters fanned, leaving East Hampton out of playoff contention and with two games to play.

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