May 10, 2006
Tuckers: One Win From Playoffs
One win. Just one victory. That's all that stands in the way of the Mattituck baseball team and the postseason. And with six games remaining on their regular season schedule, the odds of the Tuckers qualifying for the playoffs are more than favorable. In fact, it's nearly a lock for the defending League VIII and Class C champions, despite the move up to League Seven.
|Independent / Shane Psaltis
Mattituck's Joe Finora earned his third victory of the season as the Tuckers triumphed over Mt. Sinai 7-3 last Thursday.
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"We don't look past anyone, especially when you play in this league," said Tuckers head coach Steve DeCaro.
Mattituck moved within striking distance of the playoffs by beating Mt. Sinai two games to one in its three-game series with the Mustangs, beginning with an 8-3 triumph on May 2 followed by a 7-3 win last Thursday.
In the series opener, Brian King shook the rain off his batting helmet and had one of his most productive games of his career, going 3-for-4 with a season-high four RBI and highlighted the dismal weather day by delivering a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning that would later prove to be the game-winning hit.
Joe Finora, Mattituck's senior left-handed pitching ace who entered the game fresh off a one-hit, 17-strikeout shutout performance against Hampton Bays in his previous start, was a bit more mortal on May 2 although he pitched well enough to earn his third victory of the season.
Finora allowed only three hits in his five-plus innings of work before giving way to reliever John Crosser who struck out two in two innings to pick up the save. Crosser has been one of the Tuckers' top relief pitchers this season, often entering the game at a crucial point and shutting the door on the opposition's offense.
Another strong outing on the mound from Kyle Pumillo last Thursday enabled Mattituck to its eighth win of the season. Pumillo pitched a three-hitter and allowed only one earned run in five innings over five innings to record his second victory of the year. Bryan Tardif was the game's hitting star, going 3-for-4 with two RBI.
The Tuckers' final two three-game series of the season will both be difficult tasks as Mattituck plays Babylon (9-2 in League VII) this week with two of the games on the road before concluding its schedule next week against Southampton (5-9), a team that will be focused on sweeping the series in order to make the playoffs.