By Bill Landon
These Warriors are still the superior League VI team.
Despite giving up a 1-0 lead to trail 4-1 in the fifth inning, the Comsewogue baseball team put together an eight-run rally in the top of the seventh to claim a 9-4 victory over Sayville Thursday and take the series by winning two of out three games.
Dan Colasanto crossed the plate first courtesy of Mike Stiles’ stand-up double to take an early lead, but both teams struggled to bring runners home over the next three innings.
“We were all scrappy in the beginning — we had a couple of errors, a couple of bad plays,” Stiles said. “[We just needed] to get a couple of hits, a couple of walks together, and that’s just what we did in that last inning.”
Sayville’s bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth with a four-run rally to take its first lead of the game, which stood until the final inning.
Comsewogue head coach Mike Bonura told his team it’s just a three-run deficit, and to keep their composure.
“Let’s have some quality at bats,” he said to his athletes. “It’s just three runs. We just got to get to first base.”
Despite the deficit, Colasanto went back to work in the sixth inning and retired three in a row.
“We just had to keep our heads in the game and I knew my job was to throw strikes,” Colasanto said. “I knew if I could keep it in the strike zone we’d have a chance, because I have a great field behind me.”
Bonura was pleased with his player’s efforts.
“Dan didn’t get rattled after he gave up three runs in the fifth,” Bonura said. “He just stayed the course and didn’t let anyone’s mistakes in the field effect the way he pitched, and everyone feeds off of that. Dan’s been with me four years — he had a great game, he’s a senior captain who’s a team leader.”
In the top of the seventh, Comsewogue’s Vin Velazquez chopped an infield hit that fell into no man’s land to get him to first in time to load the bases with no outs.
James Mimnaugh followed with single that drove home Ryan Szalay to cut the deficit to two, and teammate John Braun smacked the ball into shallow right field for a two-run hit that drove in Robert Dattoma and Jake Sardinia, to even the score at 4-4.
David Nodeland helped the Warriors claim the lead after Braun and Sardinia crossed the plate off of his deep hit, to give his team a 6-4 advantage.
“We all just stayed in it,” Nodeland said. “Everyone stayed alive on the bench and kept it going. Once the hits started coming they just kept rolling, so it was a nice little rally we had.”
Trying to stop the Warriors in their tracks, Sayville made its fourth pitching change of the game, but to no avail.
Colasanto ripped one deep for a stand-up double, driving in Nodeland, and after scoring a run earlier in the inning, Szalay helped Colasanto earn a run of his own with a short fly ball in the gap,
With a full count against him, Velazquez drew a walk with the bases loaded for the final run of the game and the 9-4 win.
“[We didn’t want to do] anything big, just make sure you get on base, and that’s what we did,” Braun said.
On Sayville’s last at-bat, Bonura said Colasanto wanted to close the game out, but was pulled after his pitch count reached 100, to prevent the risk of injury.
Szalay took the mound in place of Colasanto, and finished the job his teammate started,
With the win, Comsewogue improves to 8-1 atop the League VI leaderboard. The team will travel to Westhampton Beach on Tuesday to take on the No. 2 Hurricanes, at 7-2 in the standings, at 4 p.m.