By Bill Landon
Having beaten Longwood the day before by just one run, the Ward Melville baseball team invaded the Lions’ territory Tuesday and let its pitching and batting do the talking to prove the Patriots’ worth. When the dust settled, the Patriots handed Longwood a 12-2 loss in the second matchup of a three-game series.
Ward Melville sophomore pitcher Ben Brown led the way with an impressive performance on the mound to earn the win in his first varsity start. Longwood struggled with the entire Patriots pitching staff, managing just six hits. The Lions were also plagued by four errors over seven innings.
Ward Melville blew the game open in the second inning, scoring six runs on an RBI double by Dominic Lamonica, a two-run double by Troy Davern, and Nick Rizzi drove in a run and with the help of two Longwood errors to give the Patriots a 6-0 lead.
“Today our hitters did a good job in their approach; we got a lot of clutch hits,” Ward Melville head coach Lou Petrucci said. “Dominic Lamonica had a big double in the second inning; Jeff Towle, Troy Davern and the middle-of-the-lineup guys did a good job.”
The Lions tried to claw their way back and scored two runs in the bottom of the third.
Towle took control of the fourth inning, blasting a shot to deep center field, giving both Nick Vitale and Joe Flynn the opportunity to come home for an 8-2 advantage.
“Today, as a team, we had great bats all around putting the ball in play, making them work, putting pressure on their defense and that helped us out today,” Towle said. “[Longwood is] a solid team, but the ball didn’t roll their way. That could’ve happened to us, but we hit the ball hard.”
Flynn was also excited to see the team putting the ball in play.
“Today we came out swinging with the right mind-set; we had to put the ball in play and do whatever we have to do to win,” he said. “We’re not a strong hitting team and we’ve relied on pitching in the past, and that’s what we’re going to do this year, but today we came out with the bats and did a great job.”
The Patriots crossed the plate once more in the inning, to surge ahead 9-2.
Petrucci said he was pleased with his entire lineup.
“The top of the order guys — Joe Flynn got on base; Nick Vitale had a great day today — those guys got on base and did a good job for us,” he said. “The big hitters drove them in with clutch hits and we had more base runners and took advantage of that opportunity.”
The Patriots found the scoreboard once in the top of the sixth and twice in the seventh to put the game away.
Brown said his team misjudged Longwood in the first game of the series.
“I think we came out with a lot of intensity,” he said. “We took this team a little lightly yesterday. We really played hard, we had really good at bats, so that was the difference today.”
With the win, Ward Melville improved to 3-0. The Patriots conclude their three-game series with Longwood on Thursday at home, with the first pitch scheduled for noon.