Sachem North pitcher Brian Hennelly might be his team’s number three starter, but on Friday against Patchogue-Medford, “one” was more evident, and relevant, in describing his performance in Sachem’s 3 – 1 win in a winner's bracket semifinal of the Suffolk County Class AA playoffs.
Pitching a complete game, Hennelly allowed only one run and only walked one. And according to coach Tom Gambino, he pitched “one helluva game."
“All year long, he’s been pitching one helluva game,” he said.
The win moves the seventh-seeded Arrows (19-4) into Monday’s match up against fifth-seeded Eastport-South Manor in the winner's bracket final. That game will be played at Eastport at 11 a.m.. With the loss, the third-seeded Raiders (16-7) host tenth-seeded West Islip Saturday morning in a must-win for both teams in this double-elimination tournament also at 11 a.m.
In a game pitting two lefties against each other - Hennelly and Raider’s Tyler Moston - Sachem broke on top in the second inning. After Nick Teta led off the inning with a dribbler up the third-base line, Moston got Nick Santangelo to chase a pitch out of the strike zone. But then Moston hit Hennelly.
With runners on first and second, Patchogue second baseman Brian Cioffi saved a run by knocking down a ball off the bat of Mike Scarlato. But with bases loaded, Steve Kowalski’s line shot into right scored Teta. Dan Farina then followed with Sachem’s third infield hit, this one off Moston, and Hennelly scored.
“Tyler pitched great for us,” Patchogue coach Tony Frascogna said. “It was one inning, and one ball made it to the outfield.”
The Raiders scored their lone run in the third. Dave Tornetta drew a one-out walk, and moved to second on Frank Capraro’s flair that dropped into right. Two batters later, Moston lined a single inside third base, scoring Tornetta.
The Arrows regained their two-run lead the next inning. After Santangelo led off with an infield hit, Hennelly sacrificed him to second. Scarlato’s single to right moved Santangelo to third. Steve Kowalski then did a good bit of hitting, putting the ball on the right side of the infield, allowing Santangelo to score from third and the Arrows led 3 – 1.
Hennelly wanted to get first strikes against Patchogue-Medford, described by Gambino as “a strong hitting team.” In giving up only one walk, he didn’t give Raiders batters a lot to hit.
“I threw a lot of off-speed stuff,” Hennelly said. “I wasn’t going to throw it by them. I guess I was the crafty lefty.”
“He did a great job against us. He kept us off balance," Frascogna said. “In clutch spots, he got it done and we didn’t. We had the middle of our order up with runners on four times. Our table setters did the job.”
Moston certainly wasn’t out pitched on this day, but he fell victim more to the ball just out of reach of his infield then to Arrow bats. “I felt good, I was throwing strikes,” he said. “I was trying to keep everything low, away from their power.”
On this day, power took a back seat to pitching.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R Sachem 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 3 Patchogue-Medford 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Looking at some other playoff action around the Suffolk County's Class AA brackets ... No. 5 Eastport beat No. 16 Deer Park in the winner's bracket. The Falcons now play No. 8 Commack, who eliminated No. 11 North Babylon in the loser's bracket Friday. No. 10 West Islip eliminated No. 6 Hauppauge in the loser's bracket as well.