Aidan Crowley’s attempt to become the first high school pitcher in Long Island history to throw four consecutive no-hitters lasted about 33 seconds.
The Shoreham-Wading River righthanded junior, coming off his third straight no-hitter, threw an inside fastball for a ball on the first pitch. Miller Place leadoff man Ryan McAlonie laced the second delivery up the middle for a single.
Crowley reached across his body and got his glove on the ball but was unable to stop it from its final destination in centerfield. No-hit bid over.
“It was in my head, but I wasn’t upset,” said Crowley, who was unable to extend his Long Island record of 25 no-hit innings. “I just wanted the win because it’s such an important series in our league.”
With that specter of another no-hit bid out of the way, Shoreham-Wading River and Miller Place, both undefeated in league play at 3-0, saw five lead changes in an entertaining Suffolk VII baseball game.
Mike Smith drilled a one-out, two-run walk-off double to right centerfield in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Shoreham-Wading River a 6-5 come-from-behind win over Miller Place yesterday at the Moriches Sports Complex.
Smith’s game-winning hit set off a wild celebration in the middle of the infield.
“It was an outside fastball and I drove it the other way, something we work on all the time,” Smith said. “What a big win for us.”
D.J. Brown and Peter Minneci both drew full count walks before cleanup hitter Nick Bettenhauser dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third.
“It was a great bunt,” said Shoreham-Wading River coach Kevin Willi. “He’s a complete team player. He won a game for us last year with a squeeze bunt. We knew he’d get it done.”
Brown and pinch-runner Thomas Riess scored after Smith’s drive split the outfielders and erased a 5-4 deficit.
The seventh inning hit made a winner of reliever Blake Osness, who threw a scoreless top of the seventh. Crowley (4-0) threw six innings, allowed eight hits, and four earned runs with six strikeouts.
His nemesis was McAlonie, who had three hits, two stolen bases and three runs scored against the big righty.
“That’s a real good hitting team and it all starts with the leadoff guy,” Willi said. “We were disappointed for Aidan but not worried about him. He has character and is more concerned with team goals, which makes him a winner.”
Miller Place starter Tom Nealis (3-0) was not involved in the decision. Nealis was overpowering at times. He allowed four hits, walked four, struck out nine and gave up two earned runs in five innings. He had at least one strikeout in every inning and fanned two in each of the first, fourth and fifth innings.
Nealis was also a key cog in the offense, with two hits, two RBI and a run scored. His RBI single in the fifth keyed a three-run inning for a 5-3 lead.
“It was back and forth all game,” said Miller Place coach Ricky Caputo. “I like the way our guys came out tough. It’s going to be a great series.”