Mattituck's Yianni Rauseo reacts to giving up 2-run homer after...

Mattituck's Yianni Rauseo reacts to giving up 2-run homer after coming in in relief during a regional baseball tournament at Pace University. (June 7, 2011) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Mattituck lost starting pitcher Thomas Ascher after the first inning with a stiff arm and the Tuckers bounced back. They allowed five consecutive runs in the first two innings but rallied to tie the score in the third.

The Tuckers fell behind again and managed to regain the lead. Mattituck had an answer for everything Westchester Briarcliff did until the bottom of the sixth inning.

Briarcliff scored the go-ahead run on a dropped fly ball to rightfield with two outs and Mattituck couldn't rally in the seventh in a 9-8 loss to Briarcliff yesterday in a state Class B Southeast Regional baseball final at Pace University.

"We had missed opportunities in the field," said Mattituck third baseman Travis Zurawski, who went 4-for-4 with three runs. "We made untimely errors."

Steven Ascher, who pitched five innings last Thursday and threw 87 pitches in a complete game Sunday, entered the game in the fourth inning. The score was tied at 8 in the bottom of the sixth and Ascher walked the leadoff batter before getting two groundouts. Then the fly to rightfield was dropped, allowing a run to score.

"We made a couple of basic defensive mistakes," Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro said.

Thomas Ascher, Yianni Rauseo and Steve Ascher had RBI hits in the first, but Mattituck (19-6) made two outs on the base paths trying for an extra base. Thomas Ascher struck out the first two batters before a routine pop-up dropped in. That led to three runs.

"Before we left Mattituck, his arm was stiff," DeCaro said of Thomas Ascher. "He came in after the inning and said he wasn't feeling so hot. We went to plan B, which was scramble for pitchers. We asked Steven to pitch for a third time in a week. He said this morning he wanted to pitch. He felt good after warmups."

Rauseo hit a two-run homer in the third to tie the score at 5 before Zach Ship homered in the bottom of the inning to give Briarcliff (19-6) a 6-5 lead. Mattituck scored three runs in the fifth with Nicholas Bieber's single giving the Tuckers an 8-6 lead. Colin Orr and Spencer Kulman hit consecutive run-scoring doubles to tie the score at 8 for Briarcliff in the bottom of the frame.

"We're not used to being down," DeCaro said. "We kept coming back and never gave up. I can't say enough about my guys."

Mattituck scored 25 runs in the Suffolk Class B final and ended Oyster Bay's 22-game winning streak in the Long Island championship.

"The season was a complete success," Zurawski said. "It was a great ride. I didn't think we would get this far."