Following a lopsided loss here to Sayville on April 25, the East Hampton High School baseball team played two strong games with the Golden Flashes, losing 8-7 in extra innings at Sayville on April 27 and winding up on the short end of a 6-4 score here Saturday afternoon.
“Despite the sweep, I think our kids gained confidence in this series,” Will Collins, who assists Ed Bahns in coaching the 5-5 Bonackers, said over the weekend.
While both losses were painful, the second game, which ended in the bottom of the eighth inning with a successful squeeze play, was probably the harder one to take.
Collins said that during the course of that game a number of costly base-running mistakes were made, and that Dylan Carroza, East Hampton’s pitcher, who went most of the way, striking out five and walking two, deserved better.
A home run by Michael Abreu, the center fielder, put East Hampton up 1-0 in the top of the first. Sayville then came back with four runs to take the lead until a three-run homer by Maykel Guzman tied the score in the top of the fourth.
The home team went up 5-4 on a solo home run in the sixth; East Hampton came back to tie it in the bottom half.
“We held them in the bottom of the seventh,” said Collins, “and we scored two runs in the top of the eighth on a one-out double by Brandon Brophy to go ahead 7-5.”
Then came the agonizing home half of the eighth during which Sayville tied the count via back-to-back doubles that followed an error by the shortstop Andrew Rodriguez, who was filling in that day for the absent Deilyn Guzman.
Collins said East Hampton walked the next batter intentionally, and that the runners moved up to second and third on a passed ball that preceded a strikeout.
“That’s when Sayville put on the squeeze. A.J. [Bennett, East Hampton’s first baseman] charged the ball and threw home, but the ball popped out of Ryan Joudeh’s glove.”
“I felt bad,” said Collins, who blamed himself for the aforementioned base-running mistakes that resulted in two pickoff plays and in one Bonac base runner being caught on a tag-up play. “It was one of the hardest losses I’ve ever experienced,” he said.
Saturday, though, was a new day, and a good one for a baseball game. Deilyn Guzman was on the mound for East Hampton, and Brendan Butler, who had shut out the Bonackers 8-0 on April 25, was pitching for the visitors.
A one-out triple down the right-field line by Mike Hewson scored Thomas Hannan (who had walked) from first base to give Sayville a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
East Hampton took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second. A balk by Butler, with Frank Grande up, allowed Cameron Yusko, who had led off with an infield single and had advanced to third on successive 4-3 groundouts, to walk home.
Carroza, who had drawn a two-out walk and whose steal attempt had caused Butler to balk, as he wheeled but did not take his foot off the rubber, scored from second on Grande’s subsequent single up the middle.
In the top of the third, Sayville’s cleanup hitter, Rich Millwater, sent a grounder down the first-base line that wound up in foul territory after passing over the bag, scoring Tom Dieckhoff from third and Hewson from second.
Guzman in the top of the fourth gave up a leadoff base hit to Nick Petrella and threw wide of second on fielding a bunt by Brian Rolon, before a popped-up bunt, a strikeout, and a Grande-to-Bennett groundout set Sayville down.
An interference call on this writer-photographer, who, standing in an entranceway to Bonac’s dugout, became mesmerized by a high foul ball off the bat of Bennett on a 3-2 pitch, helped take East Hampton out of the bottom half of the fourth.
The top of the fifth began with Bennett, who fielded his position flawlessly that day, making a nice scoop of a bounced throw from Rodriguez at short, after which Millwater was hit by a pitch.
A subsequent wild pitch to Kyle Van Dyne prompted Millwater to try to move up to second, but the throw to Grande by Joudeh, who on a similar play had cut down a Sayville runner in the third, caught him.
Van Dyne then walked on a 3-2 pitch, but Michael Rahn grounded to Yusko, East Hampton’s third baseman, for the third out.
Yusko, who hits cleanup, came to bat in the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs, but grounded out 6-3.
Sayville tacked on another run in the sixth as Ben DePietro dropped a high two-out fly ball in right field, but the Bonackers came back to tie the score at 4-4 in the bottom half of the sixth, the big hits being a run-scoring single down the right-field line by Carroza that plated Bennett from third and a double over the right fielder Van Dyne’s head by Rodriguez that scored Grande from first.
Following Carroza’s r.b.i., Petrella replaced Butler on the mound. Grande, the first batter the reliever faced, forced Carroza at second, but then came Rodriguez’s two-out blast. Rodriguez was stranded at third, however, as Petrella struck out Joudeh on three straight pitches.
A single and a walk put Sayville runners at first and second with no outs in the top of the seventh. Van Dyne struck out, and the next batter, Rahn, flied out to Carroza in left, prompting the pinch runner on second to move up to third. There were cries from Bonac fans that he had left early, but to no avail. Petrella then drew a walk to load the bases with two outs, bringing up Rolon, who bats eighth in Sayville’s order.
After fouling off a 1-2 pitch, Sayville’s first baseman drove a ground ball up the middle that Rodriguez dived for but could not get. Rolon’s big hit returned the lead to Sayville at 6-4. A forceout at second ended the inning.
Brophy, who was the designated hitter that day, was hit by a pitch as he led off Bonac’s last at-bat. He advanced to second when Petrella, who was to strike out Deilyn Guzman on a change, threw a wild pitch with the count 1-2. Yusko reached first base safely on a throwing error, putting runners at first and second for Bennett, whom Petrella struck out with a 1-2 fastball, after which Maykel Guzman grounded into a force at second to end the game.
Butler, who was less effective that day than he had been on the 25th, gave up six hits, struck out six, and walked two. Deilyn Guzman, despite giving up five walks, pitched solidly, giving up seven hits and striking out four.
Collins said in signing off, “Losses are never good, but we liked it that the kids fought back both times. They might have turned the corner when it comes to confidence. If they have, getting swept wasn’t a total loss.”
The Bonackers were to have begun a series with Rocky Point at Rocky Point on Monday. Yesterday those teams were to have played here, and today East Hampton is to finish the set on the Eagles’ field.