Comsewogue baseball shuts out Westhampton

Comsewogue baseball shuts out Westhampton

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The Warriors' Dave Heller dashes for first base. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Comsewogue opened its League VI season with a 7-0 win against last year’s archrival Westhampton, at home Tuesday afternoon, letting their bats do the talking. Pitching ace Mike Stiles went the distance, shutting out the 1-2 Hurricanes.

Mike Stiles hurls a pitch during his 13-strikeout performance for Comsewogue. Photo by Bill Landon
Mike Stiles hurls a pitch during his 13-strikeout performance for Comsewogue. Photo by Bill Landon

Stiles, a senior, was as damaging from the plate as he was from the mound. He threw a four-hitter with one walk and struck out 13, and drove in senior John Braun from third base to give his team a 1-0 lead.

With two outs and two runners in scoring position, the Warriors threatened, but were unable to bring either runner home, settling for a one-run lead to open the second inning.

Stiles dished a three up, three down performance at the top of the inning, and Comsewogue went back to work in the bottom of the second.

Dave Heller’s bat spoke next, as he smacked a lead-off single and stole second base on the next pitch.

“Today we hit well,” Heller, a junior, said. “We usually struggle with that, but today we were able to hit the ball. We played solid defense like we usually do, and when you can do both, you win ball games.”

Senior Jake Sardinia found the gap in right field to drive Heller home, and the Warriors extended their lead, 2-0.

After a walk put runners on first and second, Justin Virga, Comsewogue’s junior catcher, did his job with a sacrifice fly to right field to advance both runners. With two outs and a full count, Comsewogue senior Jordan Lisco laid off a pitch for the walk and took first to load the bases. With the count 3-0, Stiles followed Lisco’s lead by taking a pitch for the walk, forcing in a run. With two outs, Comsewogue’s bats cracked again. This time, it was Comsewogue junior Vincent Velazquez, the designated hitter, who belted one deep to right field over the outfielder’s head, driving in Sardinia, Lisco and Stiles for a 6-0 advantage.

Vincent Velazquez connects with a pitch, driving in three runs for the Warriors. Photo by Bill Landon
Vincent Velazquez connects with a pitch, driving in three runs for the Warriors. Photo by Bill Landon

“I kept thinking to keep my hands inside the ball and not to try to do too much with it,” Velazquez said. “He gave me a fast ball and I did what I could with it. It felt good and the ball came off the bat.”

Stiles made short work of the next three Westhampton batters, fanning all three for a quick inning.

The Hurricanes, with their first real threat of the game in the top of the fourth, put two runners on base with one out, but the Warriors turned a double play to escape the inning unharmed.

The Warriors couldn’t score in the bottom of the inning, but Stiles remained consistent from the mound and retired the side in the top of the fifth to keep the shutout intact. Stiles did it again in the top of the sixth inning.

“They’re a tough team,” Stiles said of Westhampton. “I had to pound the zone, throw strikes, but it was cold. The seventh inning was a little tough because my hands were cold, but I had a little left, so it was OK.”

Jake Sardinia makes a grab in the outfield for Comsewogue. Photo by Bill Landon
Jake Sardinia makes a grab in the outfield for Comsewogue. Photo by Bill Landon

With Heller in scoring position, Sardinia drove a sacrifice fly to deep right field, plating Heller for the 7-0 lead.

Fresh off a nonleague win against League I’s Longwood, Comsewogue head coach Mike Bonura is pleased with what he’s seen from his players so far,

“It was a nice win for us — just the way we went about it,” he said. “With our pitching and our defense, that’s what our team does.”

With their last at bat, the Hurricanes would not go quietly and opened the seventh with a stand-up double with one out. A rare walk left Westhampton with runners on first and second, but Comsewogue’s defense came through in the clutch, turning a second double play to put the game away.

Bonura said the key to the victory was twofold.

“Today’s game started with Mike Stiles from the mound — he was just cruising,” the head coach said. “And we swung the bats well on a day that was tough to hit in very cold conditions with the wind blowing in our faces. That’s the type of team we have here and I’m happy with how we’re starting.”

Comsewogue traveled to Westhampton Wednesday, but results were not available by press time. The Warriors are back in action today, at 4 p.m., to host Westhampton in the third game of the series.