There's been quite a stir surrounding the ability of Patchogue-Medford's hard-throwing sophomore Matt Vogel. Raiders coach Anthony Frascogna gave the talented Vogel just enough of a taste of the varsity level as a freshman and that experience is paying off big time this year.
The 15-year-old has been brilliant, throwing three shutouts in four starts. He also has recorded a save.
"He's everything we thought he'd be," Frascogna said. "He's the real deal."
"I threw the cutter for strikes all game and felt I had real good command of my pitches," said Vogel, whose ERA dropped to 0.45. "The key for me is to get ahead of the hitters."
That was not a problem Monday. Vogel started 18 of 25 hitters with a strike. He also danced a change-up, curve and fastball all over the strike zone to frustrate Longwood hitters.
"He's aggressive and went after guys early in the count," Longwood assistant coach David Delfranco said. "He was always working ahead."
Vogel didn't need much support. Senior first baseman Tom Rubinstein doubled to lead off the second and scored on a one-out single by Justin Mercurio for a 1-0 lead. Mercurio stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out throwing error for the 2-0 edge.
"I hit a fastball up the middle for the base hit," Mercurio said. "It was nothing fancy, just trying to put the ball in play. And I had a good jump on a pitch in the dirt to get to third before the catcher's wild throw let me score a key run for some breathing room."
After Vogel surrendered a third-inning single to freshman Andruw Gazzola, the overpowering righthander retired 14 straight batters to end the game.
"He was on his game," said Gazzola, who went 2-for-3 for Longwood (2-7). "He has great stuff."
Somewhat lost in Vogel's domination was the workmanlike effort of Longwood starter Frank Trionfo. He allowed one earned run, four hits and one walk, striking out three.
The Patchogue pitching staff of Vogel, Dan D'Onofrio and Tyler Moston has thrown four shutouts in the past five games as the first-place Raiders (8-2) enjoy a five-game win streak.
"We're rolling pretty good," Frascogna said. "Our pitching has been excellent."