Miller Place ace Cody McPartland worked up and down the Eastport-South Manor lineup and came out nearly unscathed, allowing only one hit in the sixth inning and striking out seven as the Panthers picked up a 12-0 win in the opening game of a three-game set in League VI baseball Monday.
"It's definitely an asset to have a pitcher like that every Game 1 and to get performance after performance," Miller Place coach Tom Veryzer said. "I try to remind my team not to take what he does for granted and it's special."
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ESM's Andrew Karkoda opened the game by reaching on an error but it was one of the few blemishes for Miller Place. Karkoda was one of four Eastport baserunners who reached on two errors, a walk and a hit. He was the only one to reach second base.
"They have some good hitters but I just have to go out there with my best stuff and hit my spots and they're not going to touch me," McPartland said.
The Miller Place defense was solid behind McPartland when it had to be. Second basemen Kevin Cergol and shortstop TJ Dromerhauser each made highlight-reel plays in the second inning and Cergol robbed ESM star Mat Annunziata of a hit in the sixth, one batter before Mike Shine was able to hit a grounder just out of the reach of a fully extended Dromerhauser for the Sharks' first hit.
"To see your guys making diving plays and saving you on plays in the hole will put you right on top," McPartland said.
Miller Place was on top almost from the beginning. Leadoff man Travis Bell, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI, started the game with a double and came around to score on an errant throw after a Cergol bunt.
Miller Place (7-3) added an unearned run in the second and Ethan Fox drove in two runs to help break the game open as part of a six-run third inning.
"We knew Cody was going to pitch a great game and we just needed a couple of runs and we finally got them for him," Fox said. Fox also delivered another two-run single in the fifth inning.
The series shifts to ESM (8-2) Wednesday as the Panthers prepare to make a run to the top of league VI.
"We know they're the team to beat right now and we have to come out and do things right on our end and we have to continue to focus on that," Veryzer said. "Things went well for us today but we know we'll still have two more great games."