Bonackers Made a Game of It

Huntington’s disease fund-raiser Tuesday
Pat Silich launched a two-out double to the left field foul pole in the bottom of the seventh inning here Friday, but was ruled out at third in trying to move up on a passed ball. Jack Graves

“All it takes is a play here and a play there,” Mike Ritsi, East Hampton High’s baseball coach, said when questioned concerning Friday’s 6-3 loss here to Miller Place, which was the Bonackers’ 10th of the season vis-a-vis two wins.

The good news, said Ritsi, was that he and his assistant, Scott Abran, saw improvement throughout the three-game series, which began with a 12-2 blowout.

“I wouldn’t call the second game [an 8-0 loss] a blowout,” the coach said. “We played pretty well defensively, though we didn’t get much offense. We’re a young team and a lot of people are playing different positions. Still, we’ve got to do everything better.”

East Hampton, with Kyle McKee, who pitched creditably, on the mound, fell behind 5-0 Friday before making a game of it.

In the top of the first, following a strikeout, a walk and an infield throwing error set the table for the visitors’ cleanup hitter, who drove both in with a hard-hit single.

Miller Place made it 5-0 in the top of the second. After McKee again struck out the first batter to face him, he issued a walk, and a subsequent passed ball enabled the runner to advance to second. A hard shot that the third baseman, Phil Zablotsky, couldn’t handle put runners at first and second.

A force at second base accounted for the second out, but a shot up the middle that Brady Yusko, East Hampton’s shortstop, dived for but couldn’t quite get made it 3-0, a squiggly single to the right side made it 4-0, and, with runners at the corners, yet another base hit upped the Panthers’ lead to 5-0 before McKee retired the side on a grounder to Jack Abrams-Dyer, the second baseman.

East Hampton had base runners at first and second with no outs in the bottom half of the inning, but Will Mackin, who had led off with a single, was caught napping off second and two strikeouts followed.

McKee, who was to finish the game with nine strikeouts, and who gave up six hits, walked two, and hit two, fanned the side in order in the top of the third.

Joe McDonald led off East Hampton’s third with a walk, and a walk and an infield single by the catcher, Patrick Silich, following a strikeout, loaded the bases for McKee, who bats third in the lineup. The pitcher came through with a two-run single through the left side of the infield.

It looked as if Miller Place had Silich dead to rights as he tried to advance to third on the play, but he ducked under the tag. That brought up Mackin with runners at the corners. Silich came home with East Hampton’s third run as the tall first baseman grounded into a force at second. Abrams-Dyer struck out to end the inning, but, at 5-3, the battle was joined.

The visitors, thanks to an overthrow of second on a steal attempt, eked out another run in their fourth. A sacrifice bunt brought the runner home as Mc­Kee made the tag on the first baseline. He retired the side on a comebacker to the mound.

Zablotsky led off the bottom half with a double. He held at second as Augie Schultz, a recent call-up from the junior varsity, grounded out short-to-first, and went to third on a single by McDonald.

With runners at the corners and one out, Luke Vaziri grounded out pitcher-to-first, after which Brady Yusko, East Hampton’s leadoff batter, hit the ball on the nose, but right at Miller Place’s shortstop.

Neither team scored thereafter, though Miller Place had the bases loaded with two outs in the fifth when a pop to Yusko at short ended it.

Silich launched a long shot to right center to begin East Hampton’s fifth, but an over-the-shoulder catch foiled his extra-base bid. McKee then singled up the middle, but was subsequently doubled up when Mackin lined out to short — another costly base-running miscue. He had gotten back to the bag in time, but was tagged by the first baseman after overrunning it.

Abrams-Dyer beat out a bunt down the third-base line to lead off the bottom of the sixth, but, with Zablotsky up, he was thrown out trying to steal.

With two outs in East Hampton’s last at-bat, Silich rocketed a double down the left-field line that hit just in front of the foul pole.

“With Kyle up, Pat took off on a passed ball,” said Ritsi. “He was called out as he slid in. I thought he slid around the tag. It was an unfortunate way to end the game, but that’s the way it was.”

“Our goal is not to beat ourselves,” he said, adding in signing off that Bayport-Blue Point, the two-time defending state champion, was to be the opponent this week.