By Bill Landon
Although the double-elimination game didn’t go as planned, Bobby Vath got by with a little help from his friends.
The first-inning showing was all visiting Connetquot needed to get past Newfield, 3-0, in the first round of baseball playoffs May 14. With a runner in scoring position a Vath pitch was drilled deep to left field for a ground-rule double and a 1-0 lead. Three pitches later, a passed ball at the plate put Connetquot ahead 2-0.
“I went back into the dugout after the top of the first, and they were right there ready to pick me up,” the senior said of his teammates. “So I was ready to go back out there in the second and fight for my team.”
Newfield was unable to answer in bottom of the inning, and unfortunately for Vath, an RBI-single gave the Thunderbirds an insurance run in the top of the second.
Newfield was able to get the bat on the ball after that, but when the Wolverines did get on base, Connetquot’s defense answered the call to keep them there.
Vath found his rhythm in the third, and despite Connetquot putting two runners on base in the top of the sixth, the senior didn’t give up a run the rest of the way. He struck out the next two batters in that inning to get out of the jam.
“He settled down after that first inning and started throwing outs, working off his fastball and had good command of the game,” Newfield head coach Eric Joyner said. “That’s just vintage Vath — he’s a great competitor.”
Newfield faces an unexpected opponent Tuesday, May 15, after top-seeded Smithtown East was upset by No. 17 Bay Shore, 7-4.
“Our approach has to be the same — come out of the gate hot, protect the baseball and throw strikes,” Joyner said. “We’ll have to execute a little better offensively tomorrow than we did today.”
Despite Newfield being the No. 8 seed, Vath said to him and his Wolverines, it doesn’t matter what seed they are, or what number they’re facing.
“We’ll definitely get the scouting reports from the other coaches who’ve played [Smithtown East], because that helped us in this game too, but their number doesn’t scare us,” Vath said. “We’ll go in there with the mentality that if the 17thseed beat the No. 1 seed, anybody can beat anyone on any given day.”