With victories as rare as hen’s teeth this season, East Hampton High’s baseball players, most of them underclassmen, have been grinding it out, but here on Wednesday, May 7, before a crowd of ever-hopeful parents, they came through with a flurry of hits in the bottom of the seventh inning that not only spoiled a no-hitter, but sent Mount Sinai, a team that had been in playoff contention theretofore, home with a 3-2 defeat.
It wasn’t as if the Bonackers were being mowed down in the first six innings — Pat Silich, the catcher, Peter Shilowich, the pitcher, Brendan Hughes, the first baseman, and Maykell Guzman, the shortstop, all hit the ball well at times, but right at the fielders — but in the do-or-die seventh they put it together.
Shilowich, who had only allowed three hits himself, led it off with a hard ground ball single up the middle. Hughes, after falling behind 0-2 in the count, singled between third and short as Shilowich boldly slid into third and Hughes moved up to second on the play.
With runners at the corners then, Kyle McKee hit a grounder toward third. The third baseman, who saw that Shilowich had broken for home, hesitated before deciding to throw to first. His throw was high, pulling Mount Sinai’s first baseman off the bag as McKee crossed it.
Shilowich’s run made the score 2-1, and brought up Jack Abrams-Dyer, the center fielder, who had grounded out short-to-first in the second and had been thrown out trying to bunt his way on in the fifth.
Perhaps Abrams-Dyer had heard Kevin Brophy, a volunteer coach, tell Danny Paige earlier to go up to the plate with the idea in mind that he was going to get a hit. At any rate, he certainly looked determined.
Mike Ritsi, East Hampton’s coach, put the steal sign on, and McKee, who is not a speedster, pulled into second with no trouble as the visitors’ catcher held the ball.
The first pitch was a strike, but Abrams-Dyer “put a good swing on the next one,” in Ritsi’s words, lining a walk-off single to right-center (“where I’ve been trying to get him to hit all season”) that scored Hughes with the tying run and McKee with the game-winner as their teammates, who’d emptied the bench, danced up and down.
It was the first league win of the season for the Bonackers, who had been swept in their four previous three-game series, but you would have thought in those heady moments that they’d won the county championship.
“It’s a brutal league we play in,” said Brophy, who added that Islip, a team that East Hampton had beaten 7-2 in a nonleaguer on April 2, was contending for the League VI title.
The thrilling victory in the team’s last home game of the season undoubtedly was particularly welcomed by the five seniors — Shilowich, Guzman, Ben Newberry, Paige, and Hughes — who were feted before the game began.
East Hampton, 1-13 in league play and 3-15 over all as of earlier this week, was to have finished the regular season at Mount Sinai Friday, but rain put that game off until Monday.
As for his returnees, Ritsi said, “I’ve pointed out how important it is to play in the off-season. The kids on the teams we play do. So, here’s hoping.”