Vincent Negri tosses three-hitter as Commack tops Patchogue-Medford

Commack starting pitcher Vincent Negri throws in a Commack starting pitcher Vincent Negri throws in a game against Patchogue-Medford on Thursday, March 27, 2014. Photo Credit: George A. Faella

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The cold gripped Commack's Vincent Negri, weighing down his arm and compromising his feel for the ball.

Bad timing, too. In the previous game, the only thing colder than the weather was Commack's bats, and Thursday, the Cougars had the dubious honor of bouncing back against Patchogue-Medford ace P.J. Martino.

Oh, and the Raiders scored two unearned runs in the top of the first. Worst of all, Negri wasn't getting the low strike call he wanted.

But while the Cougars may not have been able to change the unfavorable circumstances, they sure could change how they approached them . . . a lot.

Negri warmed up and kept the ball up, and Jesse Berardi led a small ball-fueled onslaught as Commack beat the Raiders, 6-2, in League I.

"I had to stay within myself and battle it out," said Negri, who pitched a three-hitter with one strikeout. "After the first, I talked to Kyle [Lamantia, his catcher] and we decided to elevate the ball and move it around because the low ball wasn't being called."

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While Negri coaxed flyout after pop-up after flyout, the Cougars (1-1) debuted a down- and-dirty offense -- one they practiced after their 6-1 loss to the Raiders (1-1) on Tuesday.

Matt Glubiak singled to lead off the bottom of the first, was sacrificed to second and scored on Berardi's single. Berardi advanced to second on the throw home, stole third and tied the score on Ryan Steffans' single.

Andrew Caccamo reached on an error to lead off the second, was sacrificed to second by Lamantia and scored the go-ahead run on Glubiak's single to right.

"We had to play small ball," Negri said. "It was the only way. We've been practicing because we haven't been hitting."

Martino was pulled after hitting Berardi, the first batter of the third. Commack, ever aggressive, scored three unearned runs in that inning.

"You get a guy on, you bunt him over and get him in," Berardi said. "Our team will be based around that until we get some big bats. And we will. We will find them."

When that happens, the Cougars will be more than happy to adapt again.

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