There's a familiarity between the Wheatley and Carle Place baseball teams. A few of the players, including Wheatley shortstop Andrew Hastings, spent the fall season as teammates on the schools' combined football team.
But any sense of camaraderie ends when the players step between the chalk lines onto the diamond. Hastings and his teammates proved that Monday in a 16-1 win over host Carle Place (0-3) in Conference B/C.
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"I know a lot of the kids on the team,'' Hastings said, "but it's fun to get to play against them instead of with them for once.''
It was even more fun because of his 3-for-4 day at the plate. Hastings reached base five times (two walks), drove in three runs, scored four and hit a home run to centerfield in a five-run third inning.
Along with the pitching of senior Matt Rothstein, who threw a three-hitter while striking out 12 and walking only one, it was a fun day all around for Wheatley.
Wheatley (3-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI double by Hastings and an RBI single by Tom Gillette (3-for-3, two RBIs).
Carle Place threatened in the first, loading the bases with one out, but Rothstein escaped by striking out the final two batters.
"I think he struggled in the first inning for sure but then settled down,'' Wheatley coach Paul Paino said. "He got ahead of all the batters from inning two through seven, and once he was ahead of guys he was able to throw all his pitches with confidence.''
After Wheatley broke the game open in the third inning, it added two runs in the fourth and seven in the sixth.
"Our team has scored 15 and 16 runs a game,'' Rothstein said. "It makes my life easier on the mound. I just have to throw a lot of strikes and I know my team will back me up.''
Carle Place scored in the fourth when Eric McCoskey singled in Billy Chiappone.
"We're scoring a lot, playing good defense and pitching well,'' Rothstein said. "We made it to the playoffs last year and we came up short, but we really think this is our year to win.''