Prep Baseball Report

Long Island Look In: Patchogue-Medford 4, Half Hollow Hills East 3

Vinny Messana
PBR-NY Contributor

Patchogue-Medford 4
Half Hollow Hills East 3

To say that Pat-Med came in with the chips stacked against them would be an understatement. As the No. 14 seed against No. 3 seed Hills East, they would have to pull off all their victories on the road. They put a sophomore, Randall Alejo, up against Vanderbilt-commit Matt Hogan and they had a number of sophomores playing prominent roles in the game.

None of that mattered, as they pulled off the upset with a 4-3 victory to advance to the Class AA semifinals against Commack beginning on Monday.

"We wanted to kind of represent our league, and we did a nice job, we've had great at bats for the past few weeks," said Coach Anthony Frascogna.

Both starting pitchers were sharp through four shutout innings, but Pat-Med broke through with two runs in the top of the fifth. Sophomore Tyler Miller started it up with a solo shot to left field.

"He's really hitting well, he's been hitting about .500 since we called him up from JV. Our seniors led us, but our sophomores saved us," said Frascogna.

They added another run later in the inning on an unearned run. Second baseman Andrew Ciufo hit a ground ball to third, and the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag to allow Phil Gerard to score and extend the lead to 2-0.

The game was far from over, though, as the Thunderbirds answered right back with a three-spot in the bottom of the inning on an RBI ground out by Elliott Goldstein and a two-run single off the bat of catcher Kevin Cavataio to give Hills East a 3-2 lead.

In the top of the sixth, Hogan's command eluded him as he seemed to have difficulty with his landing on the mound. After fanning the first batter, he walked one, and struck out the next. He then walked Gerard to put runners on 1st & 3rd for MVP Brad Malm. They opted to intentionally walk him to load the bases, but Hogan walked Frank Papanikolatos to bring in the tying run. Coach Belz opted to take out Hogan in favor of Zach DeCicco who walked Ciufo to bring in the go-ahead run. He settled down and fanned catcher Daniel Codispoti but the damage was already done.

The Thunderbirds had two more opportunities off reliever Angelo Sciandra, but he retired the final six batters of the game without any drama to send Pat-Med to the semifinals.

Hills East finishes the season at 18-6, while the Raiders advance to the next round which will be a best-of-three against No. 2 seed Commack. It will be a great match up on Monday between ace Josh Rovner and Peter Theodorellis.