Shoreham’s Ace No-Hits Bonackers

‘It’s a big blow not having Hunter,’ the coach said
Hunter Fromm, East Hampton’s all-county pitching prospect, is out for the season, his coach, Vinny Alversa, said this week, because of a thumb and ligament injury. Jack Graves

A bevy of major league scouts with radar guns were gathered behind the backstop at East Hampton High’s baseball field Monday afternoon, though, unfortunately insofar as Bonac fans were concerned, they were there to watch the other starting pitcher, Shoreham-Wading River’s Brian Morrell.

Even more unfortunate, insofar as East Hampton’s first-year coach, Vinny Alversa, was concerned, were the facts that his number-one hurler, Hunter Fromm, was out for the season owing to hand surgery to repair a broken right thumb and torn ligaments, and his number-two, Phil Zablotsky, was on vacation, “a bit of a surprise” to the coach, who had made it known he wanted his players not to take off during the spring recess. 

Fromm, said Alversa, had broken the thumb of his right (pitching) hand and had torn ligaments while playing shortstop in game three of the Bayport series. “It happened in the first inning,” said the coach. “He had fielded a ground ball, but slipped, and was injured when he planted his thumb on the turf. That took the life out of us. It’s a big blow not having Hunter. He would have been all-county.” 

“He dominated in that first game,” which East Hampton wound up losing 1-0, Alversa continued. “By the time we had to take him out [his 100-pitch count having been reached, a high school limit instituted this season], he had given up just one hit and had struck out 14.”

Zablotsky came on in relief, with the bases loaded and one out. He struck out the first batter to face him, but a subsequent misplayed fly ball resulted in the disappointing loss.

Curt Matthews pitched game two (a 2-0 loss). In the six innings he worked, said Alversa, he gave up three hits and struck out seven. A solo home run and an error in the outfield accounted for Bayport’s runs, he said.

Back to Monday’s game, the scouts were rewarded, for Morrell, whose fastball was consistently in the 89 to 90-mile-per-hour range, no-hit the Bonackers, and in fact had a perfect game going through five and two-third innings, before he walked Zack Minskoff on a 3-1 pitch. He then struck out Ryan Lynch on a hard-breaking curve.

Morrell, a senior right-hander who, according to Newsday, has committed to Notre Dame, struck out 16 batters that day as the Wildcats cruised to a 17-0 win.

“I’d be surprised if they don’t win the states,” Alversa said afterward.

Paul Vespe started for East Hampton, and was succeeded by Elias Coste, Jacen Tuthill, and Lynch. The latter two, who pitched in the sixth and seventh innings, looked pretty good. 

Tucker Genovesi, an eighth grader who had come up from the junior varsity, was to have started at short, “but he broke a finger playing soccer yesterday,” said Alversa, with a sigh. Matthews, then, got the nod, but he did not fare well, making three consecutive errors in Shoreham’s seven-run fourth.

The Bonackers were to have played at Shoreham yesterday, and are to be home against the Wildcats on Saturday at 11 a.m.

“It’s not just Morrell,” Alversa said. “They’ve also got two other pitchers who are very, very good.”

The good news baseball-wise was that Saturday’s clinics Alversa and his staff gave for third through eighth graders went very well. “We had 28 third through fifth graders in the morning and 20 sixth through eighth graders in the afternoon,” East Hampton’s coach said.

There was also a girls lacrosse clinic for kindergartners through sixth graders at the high school Saturday, whose turnout of 40 or so must have boosted the spirits of the varsity coach, Jessica Sanna, whose team thus far has alternated lopsided wins with lopsided losses.

The problem wasn’t the offense, but the defense, Sanna said in reply to a question. “We’re not quick enough defensively,” she said as a group of young clinic-takers sprinted by. 

As of Saturday, she said, East Hampton was 2-2 in league play, with wins over Mercy (20-6) and Hampton Bays (18-3) and losses to Mattituck-Greenport-Southold (19-1) and Bayport-Blue Point (17-2).

East Hampton’s fortunes have tended to rise or fall with the draws, she said. Jacqui Thorsen and E. Bistrian have been sharing them. When Bonac wins the majority of them (the face-offs at midfield), things go well — not so well when it doesn’t.

Baseball clinics at the high school field Saturday morning drew 28 third through fifth graders in the morning and 20 sixth through eighth graders in the afternoon. Jack Graves