Anthony Visconte had pitched a grand total of three innings this season before being tossed into a starting role in his previous outing.
Dave Palmer, a big kid with big power, hadn't hit a single home run this season despite having five in scrimmages.
"Yeah, it's all clicking," Palmer said after host East Islip's 12-0 win over Hauppauge Friday. "We're very confident."
And who can blame them? Visconte, a sophomore, pitched a three-hitter and Palmer opened the scoring with a three-run homer to leftfield in the first inning as the Redmen amassed a whopping 17 hits in their biggest offensive onslaught of the season.
After the teams split a pair of eight-inning walk-off wins to begin the series, East Islip's victory in the final game of the regular season left Hauppauge at 7-8 and ended the Eagles' bid to make the playoffs after an 0-5 start. It also set the postseason pace for an offense that has at times lagged behind strong pitching, Palmer said.
"Our pitching and our defense are going to be good," he said. "Hopefully, our hitting steps up like it did today."
East Islip (10-5) scored two runs in the third and five in the fourth for a 10-0 lead. Anthony Ferezza's two-run homer in the fifth provided the final margin.
Visconte, who has emerged as the third starter after an injury to Casey Krebs, earned his second varsity win in as many starts. He struck out seven, walked one and didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning.
"My fastball and my curve were the only pitches I threw," Visconte said. "In the beginning of the game, I was spotting the fastball pretty good and the same with the curve."
It's a very back-to-basics approach, and one the East Islip offense imitated. Despite a panoply of big hits (the two homers and Doug Rulon's fifth-inning triple, to name a few), the Redmen did their biggest damage by keeping the line moving. They batted around in the fourth on the strength of four singles, three walks and an error.
"This gets us going," Palmer said. "We've had a rough time really settling in and getting hit after hit . . . so we really weren't trying to do too much. All we wanted to do was hit the ball up the middle, and I think everyone did it really well."
And with the playoffs around the corner, it seems things are clicking at the right time.