Northport Tigers strike out Smithtown East Bulls

Northport Tigers strike out Smithtown East Bulls

By Steven Zaitz

Most times, a harmless looking “1-3” in the scorebook isn’t the most impactful play in a baseball game.

But with the Northport Tigers clinging to a skinny, one-run lead in the bottom of the 5th inning against Smithtown East on Thursday night, that 1-3 became a lucky 13.

Relief pitcher Vincent Staub entered the game in a bit of a mess. Smithtown East had already scored two runs in the frame and had cut a 5-1 Tiger lead to 5-3. Staub allowed an RBI single to short-stop Evan Schickler that brought the Bulls to within one.

After Schickler stole second base, the tying and go-ahead runs were on second and third.

East third-baseman Ryan Diffley hit a sharp one-hopper back to Staub, who managed to deflect the ball towards the first base foul line. Staub scampered off the mound and flipped the ball to Tiger first-baseman Dylan Sofarelli just in time to beat Diffley to the bag.

Northport retained its lead and Staub would finish the game, retiring the side in order in the sixth and seventh for a 5-4 win.

Liam Ryan, who pitched a courageous 4 ⅔ innings, recorded his second win of the year. He and Staub combined to pitch a no-hitter against Centereach in the season opener and are proving to be quite a one-two punch for Sean Lynch’s Tigers who improved to 3-1 with this win.

Northport jumped out to 4-0 lead with two in the first and a loud two-RBI double in the third off the bat of second-baseman Thomas Hardick. Sofarelli drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth to make it 5-1, but Northport had the bases loaded with nobody out after that, but did not plate anybody else.

Ryan, who is making his debut in the starting rotation this year, was effective through his 4 2/3, retiring the side in order in the fourth. But he tired in the fifth, setting up Staub’s houdini act to rescue him and the Tigers. The duo combined to strike out six Bulls.

The two teams moved west on Friday night and East got a measure of revenge with a 7-0 win. Northport is 3-2 on the year and Smithtown East 3-1. The Tigers will face North Babylon next week for three games and East will play Centereach.

– Photos by Steve Zaitz