April 19, 2006
Tuckers Take Three From Knights
"It was a good way to start the season," said Mattituck head varsity baseball coach Steve DeCaro as he commented on the Tuckers' 3-0 start to the Suffolk League VI schedule that culminated in a 1-0 win on April 11. "We got a little complacent in our non-league games earlier this year and we lost some tough ones. To get past a team the caliber of John Glenn was really good for us," DeCaro said. "We were real happy to get out of there with three wins."
|Independent / Shane Psaltis
Alex Sirico struck out seven and pitched the Tuckers to a 1-0 win over John Glenn on April 11. (click for larger version)|
On April 11, the Tuckers received a big boost from the arm of Alex Sirico who pitched a complete game shutout that included seven strikeouts. Sirico surrendered only four hits, out-dueling the Knights' ace Mike Orefice, who allowed just three Mattituck hits and struck out seven for Glenn in a complete game effort.
"He [Sirico] was just absolutely incredible," said DeCaro. "Alex was our spot starter and stepped in and did a great job."
The biggest play of the game also revolved around Sirico as his perfectly timed pickoff throw to third base caught Orefice by surprise as third baseman Jake Sisson applied the tag for the out. Orefice had led off the seventh inning with a double and was on third base with one out after a Glenn (0-3 in League VI) sacrifice. "Alex has helped us out in all ways now," said DeCaro. "He's helped this team with his bat, his glove, and his arm."
The game's lone run was scored in the first inning when senior Pat Claire was hit by a pitch to lead off the game; Donald Fahey walked and Brian King sacrificed both runners to second and third with one out. Claire scored moments later after Chris Rauseo delivered an RBI ground out.
In game one of the series with the Knights back on April 6, Mattituck needed eight innings to motor to a 7-3 victory as ace pitcher Joe Finora picked up his first victory of the season in a start that saw the senior southpaw get stronger as the game grew longer. "Joe looked real good in the later innings," said DeCaro. "He was pitching like he should."
Sirico helped provide the pop at the plate, going a perfect 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI and Chris Rauseo singled home Fahey to snap a 3-3 tie and the Tuckers went on to score four runs in the eighth inning.
Game two took place on April 10 and saw Mattituck's number two pitcher Kyle Pumillo go six innings, allowing only one earned run on three hits while striking out seven Glenn batters in the Tuckers' 9-2 victory. "Kyle throws a good fastball and curveball and is a hard working kid who isn't afraid of challenging people and it showed in that game," DeCaro said.
Claire went 3-for-3 in that game and scored three runs while Fahey registered two hits in four at-bats including a double and two RBI.
Mattituck received strong relief pitching in the first two games of the Glenn series with both sophomore Rich Ireland and John Crosser contributing shutout appearances while striking out nearly every opposing batter they each faced.
"Our starters are keeping their pitch counts low and our relievers have been really good," said DeCaro. "It gives you confidence that you have guys that can come in and close out the game. I don't think that we've ever had that before."
Despite starting the league season with a three-game sweep over a perennially successful, established John Glenn team, the Tuckers aren't looking past their next series and DeCaro reiterated that his team, which won the Suffolk County Class C championship in 2005, still has to record six more wins in order to reach the postseason.
"We're the underdogs right now. We look at everybody in our league and see that no team is easy. Our goal is to make the playoffs. Every series is going to be interesting."
Mattituck was scheduled to start a three-game series against Bayport-Blue Point yesterday at the Tuckers home field with the second game taking place at Bayport and the third back on the North Fork.
Bayport-Blue Point teammates are playing this season with a heavy heart and a roller coaster of emotions after learning that their starting centerfielder Carlo Geronimo died last week following injuries he sustained during a car accident on April 10.
"We feel very bad for Bayport and we're going to do something for them," said DeCaro. "They're going through a very difficult time and all of our hearts go out to them."