East Hampton’s 11-and-12-year-old all-stars were to have played Longwood last night in the District 36 final, having edged Moriches Bay 2-1 here at the Pantigo fields in a very tense semifinal Monday evening.
That game was scoreless through the first three and a half innings, though the young Bonackers, whose coaches are Nicole Dickinson and Andrew Rodriguez, parlayed a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth by Carter Dickinson, a passed ball, a walk to Hudson Beckmann, and, following a strikeout, a hard-hit ball by Liam Cashin, the eighth batter in the lineup, that got by the visitors’ first baseman into a 2-0 lead that was, in the end, to hold up.
Moriches Bay got on the board in the top of the fifth. The visitors’ sixth hitter drove Dickinson’s first pitch through the right side, and moments later advanced to third as the result of a ball thrown wide of first base that wound up in the dead ball area. After fielding a subsequent dribbler, Dickinson tagged out the number-seven hitter on his way up the line as the runner from third scored. Two strikeouts — numbers 10 and 11 for Dickinson — set Moriches Bay down, preserving the 2-1 lead.
By that point, each pitcher, Dickinson for East Hampton and Brayden Hromada for Moriches Bay, had each given up only three hits.
Liv Kuplins, East Hampton’s leadoff hitter in the bottom of the fifth, sent an 0-1 curve right up the middle, but, with Tyler Hansen up, was nailed as he tried to steal second. Hansen too hit one up the middle, though Hromada got a hand on it, making for an easy 6-to-3 putout. Hromada got out of the inning by striking out Hudson Meyer, East Hampton’s catcher, on three pitches.
Facing the top of the order, Dickinson was 14 pitches shy of his allowable count of 85 when the sixth, and final, inning began. He hit the leadoff hitter with his first pitch, and the second batter proved to be a tough out, fouling off three pitches while laying off two balls and watching a wild pitch sail by (enabling the runner to advance to second) before finally striking out.
That was it for Dickinson, who, to appreciative applause, went to short as Hansen, who had been the shortstop, came on in relief.
Moriches Bay’s number-three hitter, a left-hander, stroked a 2-1 single up the middle, putting runners at the corners with one out. Another pitch — a strike — and the runners were at second and third. The cleanup hitter also proved to be a tough out, fouling off three pitches before fanning on a 2-2 fastball.
Hansen’s first pitch to the fifth batter, another lefty, was low and outside. A strike, a ball, a ball, and a foul followed; the count was full. Two out, two on, three balls, two strikes. . . .
And the pitch. . . . Strike three! On the outside corner. Hansen had closed out the win with three strikeouts, and, as a result, East Hampton remained undefeated in tournament play, at 6-0, and advanced to the district final that was to have been played at North Shore yesterday.
East Hampton’s 9-and-10-year-old entry did not fare as well in a district semifinal it played here with Longwood earlier in the week, losing 13-3.
A home run over the center field fence put the visitors up 3-0 in the early going, and, with Trevor Meehan pitching in relief of Kai Alversa, the starter, things got out of hand in the top of the second as Longwood, which led 3-1 going into the inning, scored five times, mostly on wild pitches and passed balls that made their way to the backstop, to effectively put the game away.
Mike Hand’s charges scored a run in the second and one in the third, for 8-3, but Longwood, benefiting from two walks, a wild pitch, a two-run double by its pitcher, Tyler Plugues, who had hit the aforementioned three-run home run over the center field fence, and a two-run error, capped the “mercy rule” win in the top of the fifth, thus ousting the young Bonackers from the tournament.