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Seaford's batterymates setting the playoff tone
Lucas Hall and Jake Doyle are more than batterymates and junior captains.
“They’re seniors with just an extra year, a bonus year,” Seaford coach Mike Milano said. “That is what they are.”
In other words, Hall and Doyle don’t want to waste any time. They want to make this season one to remember.
As Doyle tells Hall, “Just go big, or go home,” Hall said. “You never know who is watching you.”
Hall and Doyle are a big reason why the No. 13 Vikings (14-9) are set to play at top-seeded Division in Game 1 of the Best-of-three Nassau Class A semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
In 13 innings pitched this postseason, Hall (1-1) has allowed an earned run on six hits, striking out 12 and walking two. In the Vikings’ 2-1 fourth-round loss to Bellmore JFK on May 15, Hall pitched a two-hitter, striking out seven and walking two.
“His off-speed stuff has definitely gotten better since his freshman season,” said Doyle, who has caught every one of Hall’s games since the two were called up to the varsity level as freshmen. “When he’s down with the ball, it’s got a lot of tail on it and he can keep guys off balance.”
From Hall’s perspective, it all starts with the fastball. The lefthander said he throws the hard stuff in the low to mid-80s and is expected to show it off come Wednesday in Game 2 at Seaford.
“I throw mostly fastballs and the curveball and a little bit of the changeup,” said Hall, who went 4-1 with a 1.52 ERA in 41 1/3 innings pitched, allowing 26 hits and 15 walks, striking out 46, with 14 pickoffs during the regular season. “I definitely just try to get three quick outs and throw the least amount of pitches.”
What Doyle is hoping for from Hall is a duplicate of the lefthander’s performance in Seaford’s 2-1 win over Mineola on April 7. In that Conference A-IV showdown, Hall was perfect through six innings before allowing a leadoff homer to Nick Iadevaio in the seventh.
Hall struck out 13 in that one and didn’t walk anybody, before tossing a no-hitter in an 8-0 win over Island Trees on April 29. Doyle would take either of those performances in this series.
“He was pumping strikes those days, living down in the zone,” said Doyle, who is currently 7-for-12 with a homer, a double, four RBIs, four runs, two stolen bases and three walks this postseason. “That’s when he’s at his best.”
Milano called Doyle his best hitter since his freshman season, yet the No. 3 hitter has thrown out 75 percent of base runners (9-of-12) this season, while batting .431, with 25 hits, 10 RBIs, 13 runs, 10 walks, an on-base percentage of .515 and only two strikeouts in 68 plate appearances.
Doyle can’t wait for Tuesday.
“We’ve got to limit the mistakes,” Doyle said. “Keep it within reach at the end. We got enough tough guys to stay in the game and get the win.”