May 17, 2006
Playoff Roundup: Who's In, Who's Out, Who's On The Bubble
As another season of varsity baseball/softball draws to a close, The Independent Traveler Watchman takes a look at which teams have qualified for the playoffs, which teams are on the bubble, and which teams have said "sayonara" long before the postseason bell began to ring.
Baseball. Who's in? Let's start with Mattituck, last season's Class C champions, who have proven that talent and experience will prevail even if a team is playing in a completely different league.
The Tuckers (10-4 in League VII) are currently battling Babylon for the rights to the league title and all signs point to Steve DeCaro's squad making another lengthy playoff run behind an outstanding pitching staff, headed by senior lefty Joe Finora.
Alex Sirico has been a monster at the plate this season, delivering clutch hits and belting out home runs with ease and with players such as Don Fahey, Brian Tardif, Kyle Pumillo, Brian King, Chris Rauseo, Pat Claire, John Crosser, Keith Connell and Jake Sisson each having stellar seasons, Mattituck could be poised for another memorable finish.
Southold/Greenport clinched its seventh straight playoff appearance last week when it defeated Port Jefferson and the defending 2005 Co-League VIII champions have a veteran group to lead it.
Senior Kyle Charters and junior David Kubiak pack a strong one-two punch at the top of the Clippers rotation with Matt Hansen, another senior, solidifying the staff. Derek Genoino, Kubiak, and Nick Koehler have all had stellar seasons with the bat and with the contributions of Ryan Osmer, Max Comando, Hansen, Doug Conklin and Charters; Southold/Greenport's potent offense has few holes. The Clippers (9-6 in League VIII) need to draw a favorable playoff seed to give them a chance at reaching the finals.
Riverhead gained access to the postseason last Wednesday when the Blue Waves (9-5 in League IV) toppled Bellport 14-6 behind the hitting of Steven Cumberbatch (2-for-5, three RBI) and Kevin Curtis (2-for-5, three RBI).
Make no mistake. Riverhead is a dangerous playoff team that features one of the strongest lineups top to bottom in Suffolk. Add to that a deep veteran presence and a coach who has a tendency to make the right moves at the right times and you have a legitimate championship contender.
Mark Miloski is a hitting machine, batting over .400 this season with a Suffolk County-high six home runs while Curtis, Jim Senatore, and Richie Vlacci's batting averages are all in the neighborhood of .400 as this article goes to press.
The Waves' pitching has been a tad inconsistent this season although when a team is scoring runs like Riverhead is, you tend to overlook the small negatives. Bottom line is that the Waves staff gets the job done in the clutch and there never seems to be a lack of run support.
Who's on the bubble? Bishop McGann/Mercy (8-5 in League VIII) needs to win only once in its final five games and with two contests remaining against Shelter Island (1-12), the Monarchs appear likely to make it four-for-four among North Fork baseball teams qualifying for the postseason.
Who's out? Remarkably, no one!
Softball. Who's in? Mattituck is the crown jewel of North Fork high school softball once again this season as the Lady Tuckers (11-3 in League VII) look to return to championship status in the next few weeks.
Senior pitching ace Annie Stype is capable of dominating the opposition on any given day and often does while clutch hitters the likes of Marisa Viola, Stephanie Pesce and Alex Hyland ensure that Mattituck's offense posts runs with little difficulty.
Stype's a proven postseason winner and she'll be looking to finish her career on a positive note while Viola, also a senior, is one of the most electrifying players to watch in the county. This is definitely a team to watch.
The arm (and bat) of senior standout Laurie Edwards guides Riverhead into the postseason and the Lady Blue Waves (11-5 in League IV) have high hopes that this will be another long playoff campaign.
Edwards has been no less than fabulous in the pitcher's circle this season, compiling an unheard of earned run average of less than 0.10 in her first 15 starts and striking out close to 150 opposing hitters! She's also the team's leading hitter with a batting average in the vicinity of .480 with power numbers (5 home runs, 19 RBI) to boot. Jackie Zilnicki is another clutch hitter that Riverhead will rely on.
Who's on the bubble? With a 7-7 record in League VIII, Bishop McGann/Mercy has a strong chance to grab two wins in its last four games to finish with a .500 record.
Who's out? Unfortunately there has been one softball representative that hasn't seen the light of success shine upon it this season and that team is Southold/Greenport (1-15, 1-17 overall).
The Clippers offense has improved though and they've played several close games this year; two indications that the team will see brighter days next season.