Brett Pisaneschi, Dan McEvoy lead Westhampton over Islip
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Westhampton won three games when Brett Pisaneschi was a freshman, they went 0-20 when he was a sophomore, and won six games last season. Through it all, Pisaneschi, a four-year starter and eventual staff ace, went through the same motions: pitch, get the ball back from the catcher, battle batter after batter and wait for the support he was sure would come.
It's been four years. The support is here.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Dan McEvoy singled, stole second, third and came home when the ball was thrown away as Westhampton (11-10) backed up Pisaneschi's three-hitter, defeating Islip, 1-0, in the first round of the Class A playoffs Wednesday.
The fifth-seeded Hurricanes, who this year notched wins against powerhouses Shoreham-Wading River and Bayport-Blue Point, advance to play Shoreham on Friday, while No. 4 Islip moves to the losers' bracket in the double- elimination format.
The feat is even more impressive because Islip (10-8) was impeccable. Starter Mike Lamneck was perfect through six innings, and sterling defensive plays by the infield -- particularly shortstop Tim Going and third baseman Kevin Colgan -- made the Buccaneers seem untouchable. Lamneck ended up with a two-hitter.
"I've been throwing in these games since I was 8," Pisaneschi said about high-pressure situations. "I wasn't nervous at all. All we do we practice and we're in one of the toughest leagues. If we can beat a team like [No. 1 seed] Shoreham twice, we have a chance to go all the way."
Pisaneschi had pinpoint command of his fastball and curve, and got many of his 10 strikeouts with his deceptive slider. He struck out the batter swinging on a fastball high and away to strand runners on second and third to end the game.
Still, "I was relieved" when McEvoy broke through, he said. The junior singled to left and stole the two bases of his own accord. But when the ball was thrown away, "my initial reaction was to stay and play it safe because we had one of our biggest hitters [Pisaneschi] at the bat," McEvoy said. "But coach was screaming, 'Go, Go, Go,' and as soon as I heard that, it was on."
He beat the throw home easily.
"It was unbelievable," he said. "I've been on varsity since freshman year, when we were 0-20. To go this far is unbelievable. It's big. I'm still pumped up right now."
As for Pisaneschi, he never seemed to have any doubt.
"I knew my hitters would come around if I kept doing what I was doing," he said.
It took a little while, but that patience has finally paid off.