Riverhead's Matt Crohan misses out on third straight no-no

Riverhead pitcher Matt Crohan delivers a pitch during Riverhead pitcher Matt Crohan delivers a pitch during a game against Copiague. (April 9, 2013) Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

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No-no-no? No. But so close.

Riverhead lefthander Matt Crohan's bid to become the first Long Island high school pitcher to throw three consecutive no-hitters fell short in a 10-0 win over Copiague in a Suffolk League IV game Tuesday.

Crohan, who had no-hit East Islip and Centereach in back-to-back starts, allowed a ground-rule double to leftfield by Copiague second baseman Junior Carty in the sixth inning.

The drive elicited a stream of emotion from both sides of the field at Copiague. The home bench and fans applauded Carty's hit and acknowledged Crohan's effort.

Riverhead supporters gave him a standing ovation.

The moment was not lost on Crohan, who tipped his cap and smiled. "I felt this emotion come over me," he said. "It was like someone lifted this huge weight off my shoulders and I could just relax now that someone got a hit."

Crohan allowed another single to center before striking out the side in the sixth and two more in the seventh.

Cody Smith, who singled, doubled and tripled, led a Riverhead offense that pounded 12 hits and used a five-run fifth inning keyed by a Ryan Gaffney two-run double for a 7-0 lead.

The effort put Crohan on a different kind of streak -- shutout innings. It was Crohan's third straight shutout and extended his scoreless innings streak to 21. He finished with 15 strikeouts and two walks.

Scouts from seven major- league teams stood behind the backstop and gunned him consistently between 87-90 mph.

"He's a special player and a humble one at that," Riverhead coach Rob Maccone said. "He never let the pressure bother him and treats every opponent with respect."

Said Copiague coach Ken Rittenhouse: "He's just a stud pitcher that has so much more confidence in his fastball. I'm happy we got a clean line-drive hit."

And it was the smallest guy in the lineup that ended the no-hit bid. Carty, who is 5-5 and 130 pounds, moved here from Santiago in the Dominican Republic in 2009. "I haven't been hitting well but I was looking for a fastball and hit it real good," the leadoff hitter said. "He's the best pitcher and mixes it up. And we have so much respect for him."

So much respect that the Eagles were having some fun with Crohan on social media.

Junior centerfielder Jose Taveras added Crohan as a friend late Sunday night on Facebook and proceeded to put some interesting posts on Crohan's page.

"I loved it. I thought it was great and added to the atmosphere of the game," Crohan said. "They wanted me to know they were coming out swinging the bats."

He had them swinging and missing. He threw 94 pitches, 65 for strikes and 11 of his 15 strikeouts were swings and misses.

"My favorite posts were pictures of Ned Stark, the Lord of the North from the HBO series, Game of Thrones. One post said, 'Prepare Yourself For Matt Crohan' and from Lord of the Rings he used Boromir, 'One Does Not Simply Throw 3 No-hitters.' It was very cool."

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