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Ryan Picarello

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Mustangs remain perfect in League VII with 15-6 victory

Mount Sinai's Jared Donnelly crushes the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Jared Donnelly just keeps swinging away.

Mount Sinai starting pitcher George Rainer threw seven strikeouts in his win over Miller Place April 16. Photo by Bill Landon

The Mount Sinai senior designated hitter went 2-for-2 with a double, three RBIs and three runs scored to lead the Mustangs to a 15-6 win over neighboring Miller Place April 16. Senior first baseman Ryan Picarello was 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored to keep Mount Sinai perfect (6-0) atop the League VII leaderboard. Senior starting pitcher George Rainer walked three and allowed three earned runs while striking out seven over six innings.

“Our lineup has gotten much better — our one through nine can hit the ball really well,” Picarello said. “We looked the other way, we hit a few holes and we had some good swings.”

Miller Place’s Nolan White and Rob Morales had hits that led to scores in the first for an early lead, but starting pitcher Tom Nealis struggled against a fierce lineup.

Picarello, Donnelly, sophomore catcher Nick Cergol, senior outfielder Ethan Angress and sophomore infielder R.J. Kehoe’s recorded hits to get on base in the second to help Mount Sinai to a 7-3 lead.

The Panthers rallied once again in the top of the third, with Morales driving in Kevin Bowrosen, but Mount Sinai sophomore outfielder Paul Gomes extinguished any chance of a comeback when he rushed to shallow center field to make a diving catch on a rapidly dropping ball.

“I got a bad jump on it — my first step was back — so I had to make it up with that dive,” Gomes said. “It stayed in my glove and I made the throw. I got lucky.”

Miller Place’s  Rob Morales reaches for the ball to hold Mount Sinai’s Ethan Angress at first. Photo by Bill Landon

It was all the Panthers offense could muster, as the Mustangs got back to work with Kehoe, Gomes, Donnelly and sophomore second baseman T.J. Werner crossing the plate in the bottom of the third for a 6-run lead, 11-5. Rainer said he felt confident on the mound with his comfortable lead.

“Once we got ahead I just wanted to stay ahead in the count,” he said. “We just kept tacking on runs and that helped me a lot out there. Because it was so windy, I had to make sure I commanded my fastball.”

Head coach Eric Reichenbach said although his Mustangs (7-1 overall) have five shutouts so far this year and boast multiple sluggers, he thinks his team will need to work on playing a more complete game to be able to make a deep run. Donnelly is now boasting a .462 batting average and .576 on base percentage. He’s has 12 hits, 13 RBIs and 13 runs over Mount Sinai’s eight games. Picarello has 11 hits over eight games, driving in eight runs and scoring 12. He has a .478 average and .586 on base percentage.

“We got a good lead, especially through the first few innings, but then we took our foot off the gas,” Reichenbach said. “I like what I see out of my offense — I’ve got a lot of big bats in the lineup, they’re squaring up a lot of baseballs — and we’ve got some team defense.”

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Wildcats outscore Mount Sinai 16-4 to advance to Class A finals

 

By Bill Landon

Slamming home a win was exactly what Shoreham-Wading River’s baseball team did.

Wildcats ace Brian Morrell, and first baseman Dean Stalzer both hit grand slams in a 10-run second inning to lead Shoreham-Wading River past Mount Sinai, 16-4, in the Class A semifinals May 20. The team will face Bayport-Blue Point May 24 in the championship round.

Morrell’s bat got the game started in the first inning with a two-run home run over the left field fence. Senior Thomas Brady singled next, and classmates Vincent Uzzi and Jon Luppens hit RBI singles for a 4-0 Shoreham-Wading River advantage.

The Mustangs were unable to answer, and the Wildcats’ bats went back to work in bottom of the second.

“It was a fast ball inside and I knew it right away [that it was gone].”

—Dean Stalzer

Senior Kyle Baylous hit a ground-rule double, Morrell followed with a single that put runners at the corners and senior Nick Manesis drew a walk to load the bases. With the table set, Stalzer jumped out on a fastball, and sent it flying over the left field fence with room to spare for a grand slam that doubled the Wildcat’s lead.

“We came out hot like we planned to do,” he said. “It was a fast ball inside and I knew it right away [that it was gone].”

The inning was far from over. Uzzi and senior Alex Bettenhauser hit singles, and Luppens drove Uzzi home for a second time. Senior T.J. Sicoli smacked the ball through the gap to load the bases, and Baylous was hit by a pitch to walk home the Wildcats’ 10th run.

Enter Morrell. The University of Notre Dame-bound pitching ace also jumped on a fastball, and blasted it the opposite way for the second grand slam of the inning and a commanding 14-0 lead.

“That just doesn’t happen … two grand slams in one inning is amazing,” Morrell said. “They pithed me outside all day … it was a fastball away and I just wanted to beat them.”

Morrell, who has pitched three no hitters this season and six in his varsity career, was critical of his performance on the mound despite earning the win and going 2-for-4 with two home runs and six RBIs.

“My command was pretty bad today — I made my pitches and got outs, but they hit me a little bit,” he said. “Going to the county finals means a lot especially after last year where we fell short. We have a great team and I feel that we can do a lot.”

“The potential is always there to put together two good innings early, but that was pretty intense.”

—Kevin Willi

Senior Will Esposito lit up the scoreboard first for Mount Sinai, and Morrell walked the next batter to load the bases. Looking to spark a rally, junior Ryan Picarello nailed a two-run shot to right field, but the Mustangs couldn’t keep the inning going. In the bottom of the fifth, Mount Sinai tacked on its final run.

After a close game between the two teams in their last outing, Shoreham-Wading River head coach Kevin Willi said he was surprised by the margin of victory. He added he was impressed with the collective effort his squad showed and how everyone made a contribution. He said the Wildcats have scored 32 home runs in its 22-1 season.

“The potential is always there to put together two good innings early, but that was pretty intense,” he said. “It was good because we just came off our closest game of the season, the 3-2 win over Mount Sinai, where we had to come back down 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh. To come back — getting the bats going — that’s been the story all year.”

But the Wildcats didn’t need to worry about coming back this time around. Stalzer, who finished 2-for-5 with five RBIs, plated Morrell in the bottom of the sixth, and Uzzi drove home Stalzer to give the game its final score.

“We knew that Mount Sinai wasn’t going to lay down and let us have it,” Stalzer said. “So our mindset was to be really focused today. If we lost today it would’ve been our first loss [in the postseason], and we didn’t want to play them again.”