The East Hampton High School baseball team was swept last week by Miller Place in its season-opening series, though, once the arms are warmed up, the first-year coach, Mike Ritsi, thinks his pitchers, who include Peter Shilowich, Kyle McKee, and Maykell Guzman, should keep East Hampton in the mix.
Last Thursday’s 6-0 loss here was nothing much to write home about, though the day before, at Miller Place, the home team edged the locals 6-5.
“We rallied late,” Ritsi said during a conversation Saturday at the Sportime Arena he manages. “Shilowich started for us and pitched pretty well. We went into the seventh inning down 6-2. Jack Abrams-Dyer reached on an error, Kyle singled, Maykell grounded out, and Brandon Hughes reached on an error, with both Jack and Kyle scoring on the play. Peter then reached on an error, and Max Lerner doubled in Brandon.”
“So, with one out, we had Peter on third and Max at second and the score was 6-5. Will Mackin was up with the tying run on third and the go-ahead on second. They pulled their infield in. Will lined the ball hard to the shortstop, who doubled Peter off third for the game-ending out. If the infield had been at its regular depth, things might have been different.”
“We had a lot of opportunities that day,” the coach continued. “We had the bases loaded twice, once with no outs and once with one out, and in the sixth we had runners at second and third when their shortstop made an athletic catch of a ball hit up the middle by Danny Paige. . . .”
With Patrick Silich, East Hampton’s starting catcher out with an ankle sprain, sustained in a recent nonleague game with Rocky Point, Ritsi has had the versatile Guzman, who’s ordinarily the shortstop, behind the plate.
“We should get Patrick back this week, which will make us stronger both defensively and offensively — he’s our leadoff hitter.”
Concerning last Thursday’s shutout, Ritsi said he thought Wednesday’s pitcher was better. “But while we had five hits Thursday, we couldn’t string any together.”
McKee started for East Hampton that day, and went three innings before Ritsi brought in Guzman in relief and moved Shilowich from third to catcher.
The visitors scored three runs off McKee in the first inning of last Thursday’s game. A full count walk to the second batter got it going, after which the number-three man lined a double down the left-field line for 1-0. The cleanup hitter doubled as well, on a 1-2 pitch, for 2-0, after which the number-five man singled for 3-0.
In the bottom half, following a strikeout by Lerner and a 4-3 groundout by McKee, Guzman singled, but was stranded there when Hughes popped out to first.
Miller Place got another run in its second. With runners at the corners and one out, the runner from third came home as Shilowich, after fielding a grounder hit his way, threw high to first base. Miller Place made it 5-0 in the fourth as the second batter, after doubling with one out, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an infield error. East Hampton had runners at first (Shilowich) and second (Hughes) with two out in the bottom half, but a flyout to left ended the threat.
Besides Silich’s sidelining, Ritsi was to have lost the services during the Easter break of two other starters, Abrams-Dyer, the center fielder, and Ben Newberry, the right fielder, who are reportedly on school trips.
To make up for the shortfall, the coach called Brendon Johnson and Ty Olszewski up from the junior varsity team.
As for Friday’s game, which also was played here, Ritsi, looking down at the scorebook, said, “They scored five runs in the first . . . a hit, a walk, an error, a single, a walk, a double. . . . Joe Macdonald, a junior left-hander, started for us. He has good off-speed stuff, he’ll get better, but in the blink of an eye it was 5-0, and then they got four more runs in the next inning.”
“We brought in Will Mackin in the fifth — he’s a sophomore. It was his first outing, and we definitely were pleased with him. We scored two runs in the fourth and four in the fifth, two of them on a home run by Brandon.”
“Well,” said Ritsi, “that’s high school baseball. We have to be more consistent. We’re 0-3 in the league, 2-5 over all. We’ve got Westhampton this week, two at their place on Monday, and a game here next Saturday, at 10 a.m.”
“It looks like any of the teams in our league are capable of beating any of the others on a given day,” he said in conclusion.