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Mike Stiles

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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.

The Comsewogue boys’ soccer team got the ball rolling.

In League V action Friday, the Warriors invaded Rocky Point territory and blanked the Eagles, 5-0, to earn their first win of the season.

“Today was a big improvement,” Comsewogue head coach Don O’Brien said. “We’ve been struggling with some injuries and today we finally put a team on the field. They executed the offensive system of play and we created a lot of chances.”

Comsewogue sophomore forward Luis Hernandez scored first less than four minutes into the game from outside the right goal post, giving his team the early lead.

Almost 10 minutes of back-and-forth action later, Comsewogue made another good attempt, but Rocky Point junior goalkeeper Michael Antici made one of his eight saves on the day.

Despite Antici’s efforts, the Warriors found the back of the net again before the halftime break.

With 3:30 left, senior midfielder Nick Towler headed the ball off a corner kick into the right side of the goal to give his team a 2-0 advantage.

“I was going toward the goalie and just saw the ball coming and hit it in,” Towler said, laughing. “I wasn’t trying to do anything special.”

The Warriors were gunning to get another one at the start of the second half, but didn’t capitalize until senior midfielder John Koebel scored off a foul kick that had been sent into the box and rebounded off an opponent.

On the other end of the field, Warriors senior goalie Steven Towler made a couple of strong saves during the second half to preserve the shutout, but overall did not see much action.

Comsewogue senior midfielders Jake Muller and Trevor Kennedy tacked on the final two goals of the game, the latter lighting up the scoreboard when Antici tried to catch a corner kick but instead sent the ball bouncing off his hands and into the net.

The victorious Warriors were optimistic about the future, despite losing some of their top playmakers to graduation last year.

“I think we need a little more experience,” Nick Towler said. He is one of this year’s starters who was a sub last season, and he thinks he and his counterparts are “really holding the team together.”

Rocky Point head coach Joe Camarda was disappointed with his team’s effort.

“They played very flat,” he said. “It just wasn’t our game today. They didn’t really step up the way we’ve been playing, so it was one of our weaker games.”

Through the midfield and attack, Camarda said his athletes weren’t patient enough to get opportunities and finish them.

Rocky Point senior defender Jimmy Gohn agreed.

“We just had an off game,” he said. “We had some OK plays every now and again when we blasted the ball and made some connections up top, but unfortunately we didn’t get too many of those and didn’t do well clearing the ball in the back.”

But Camarda thinks his team has what it takes to be a contender in League V.

“This is, to me, one of my best teams,” he said. “Talent-wise and attitude-wise, they’ve really come together. I think we’re going to have a good season and surprise a lot of people, but if we play like today, I don’t think we will.”

O’Brien said that after a performance like the Warriors had, he’s looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season holds for his squad.

“The game plan was executed to perfection — we just have to keep building and get better,” he said. “I knew it was going to take some time for them to work together offensively to create chances, and that’s exactly what they did today. They’re getting better every game, just like we thought.”

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Comsewogue’s Justin Virga stops the ball at home in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Dan Colasanto, who went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. The win helped Comsewogue claim sole possession of first place with a 16-3 mark in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Dan Colasanto, who went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, hurls a pitch from the mound in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. The win helped Comsewogue claim sole possession of first place with a 16-3 mark in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The League VI title is on the line for the Comsewogue baseball team.

The Warriors took one step closer to claiming that elusive title and the first-round bye after topping Westhampton at home Monday afternoon for the team’s seventh win in a row, to break the first place tie, as both teams were tied 15-3 at the top of the standings.

Westhampton scored first, but the Warriors rallied in the bottom of the fourth inning and fended off a late comeback-effort to earn a 7-4 win.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Comsewogue’s bats came alive.

The runs started adding up when Robert Dattoma’s hit drove in Dan Colasanto to tie the game. Jordan Lisco set up the next scoring opportunity when he singled to right field, putting runners on both corners.

Ryan Szalay’s bat spoke next when he hit a line drive to right center that drove home Dattoma for a 2-1 lead, and Mike Stiles struck next when he laid down a perfect bunt and beat the throw to first.

Erik Bono stepped into the batters’ box and waited for his pitch. He smacked the ball deep to right field to bring home Lisco and Szalay, to give the Warriors a 4-1 advantage.

Comsewogue’s Erik Bono takes a cut in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Erik Bono takes a cut in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. Photo by Bill Landon

“I knew it was going to be a tough game today — we had to come out strong after they scored first,” said Lisco, who went 3-for-4 with a run. “We came back and took the lead and we had good, solid defense, and when you can do that, you win baseball games.”

The Warriors weren’t done for the inning.

Vin Velazquez stepped to the plate and hit a fly ball that dropped into the gap to move Bono over to third, and John Braun finished the job with a shot to left field to bring Bono across the plate as the team surged ahead, 5-1.

Having given up five unanswered runs, Westhampton made a pitching change to try to stop further damage from being done, but Colasanto, back at the plate for the second time in the inning, had something to say first, when he ripped one deep for a stand-up double that scored Velazquez for a 6-1 lead.

Comsewogue’s Justin Virga makes a catch at home plate in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. The win helped Comsewogue claim sole possession of first place with a 16-3 mark in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Justin Virga makes a catch at home plate in the Warriors’ 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. The win helped Comsewogue claim sole possession of first place with a 16-3 mark in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon

“We have a great group of guys,” Szalay said. “Once we get a hit, we all start to hit, and the game- changer was when Dan Colasanto got that RBI-double.”

Westhampton tacked on a run in the top of the fifth, and threatened with one out and two runners in scoring position. Colasanto was able to pitch his way out of the jam though, as he got the batter to ground out to Dattoma, the short stop, who quickly flicked the ball to second and helped his team turn the double play to end the inning.

“We knew coming in we could beat these guys — we all just needed to stay loose,” said Colasanto, who went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. “I told the team that if we stayed loose, kept the chants going and have some fun, we could win it.”

Mike Stiles took over the mound at the top of the sixth, and Westhampton scored two more runs to bring the score to 6-4 before Stiles was able to work his way out of the inning with a strikeout.

“We’ve been able to play error-free baseball all year long,” Comsewogue head coach Mike Bonura said. “Our strong points are our defense and the mound. We’ve struggled with hitting, and obviously you’ve got to hit to score runs to win ball games, but today we finally put a good part of the bat on the ball.”

Comsewogue’s Mike Stiles tosses a pitch in a 1-2-3 inning that helped the Warriors claim a 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11. The win helped Comsewogue claim sole possession of first place with a 16-3 mark in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s Mike Stiles tosses a pitch in a 1-2-3 inning that helped the Warriors claim a 7-4 win over Westhampton on May 11 and sole possession of first place in League VI. Photo by Bill Landon

In the bottom of the sixth with a man on base, Dattoma cracked one to right field for added insurance.

Comsewogue needed three outs in the top of the seventh and Stiles answered the call, putting the game away with a 1-2-3 inning.

“We knew we needed to win this,” Dattoma said. “It’s been a while since we got a title; we’re hungry. We were looking for a little revenge and we got it today. For the playoffs, we’ve got to stay mentally tough, don’t let bad at-bats get in our head, and just work on the next one.”

With one game left in the regular season, Comsewogue traveled to Harborfields Wednesday, but results were not available by press time. A win would give the Warriors the league title and first-round bye for the playoffs.

“We’re all rested and if we get a bye, that’s huge because it’s all about pitching,” Bonura said. “Anyone’s No. 1 can beat anyone. Our pitching staff is healthy, and I’ve got plenty of them.”