Sachem North's Zach DeMilt drives a single to the outfield against...

Sachem North's Zach DeMilt drives a single to the outfield against Commack in a Suffolk league II baseball game, Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at Commack high school. Credit: George A Faella

Commack’s record-setting righty Evan Kay did his part, as did Sachem North starter Anthony Vino. The staff aces squared off in a battle for first place in Suffolk League II.

Kay held Sachem North scoreless through six innings. It was his eighth straight start not allowing a run, dating to his four playoff shutouts that helped lead Commack to the Long Island Class AA baseball championship last season.

Vino allowed a three-run home run to Commack leadoff man Matt Shovelson in the third inning but kept his team close with five scoreless frames.

The game was won and lost in the bullpen.

With Kay out of the game, having reached the state limit for pitch count at 105, Sachem North scored three times in the seventh to force extra innings and then got a Zach DeMilt two-run single to key a three-run eighth inning for a 6-3 win over host Commack Wednesday night to take sole possession of first place in League II.

“It was an 0-2 pitch, up and in, and I got my hands out and drove the ball,” said DeMilt, who went 4-for-5, including a double and three RBIs. “The mindset was just put the ball in play.”

Prior to DeMilt’s clutch hit, the Commack bullpen had imploded, issuing six walks and a hit batsman in two innings. Matt Podesta had drawn a bases-loaded walk to give Sachem North a 4-3 lead.

“We lost seven games by a run last year and missed the playoffs,” Sachem North coach Tom Gambino said. “We have a very balanced team this year and we compete. We grind out wins.”

Trailing 3-0 in the top of the seventh, Sachem North forced extra innings when DeMilt scored Rob Kienzle on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-1 and with two outs and a 2-2 count, Nico Moraitis drilled a two-run double just inside the right field line to tie the score at 3.

“Kay didn’t have his best stuff today and he battled through six innings,” Commack coach Matt Salmon said. “He made big pitches when he needed them. He gets that little extra and competes. But our bullpen let us down. Now, we have to bounce back in the next game of this series.”

Kay scattered eight hits and walked four while striking out seven. He tied and then broke the Long Island record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched by Ward Melville’s Anthony Kay in 2013. Anthony Kay pitched 53  2⁄3 straight scoreless innings. Evan Kay extended the new streak to 59  1⁄3 innings.

“The record doesn’t happen without great defense,” Kay said. “You can’t go that many innings without making big plays.”

Sachem North (11-2) had a runner in scoring position in all six innings against Kay and could not get the key hit.

“We hung in there and took the momentum late,” Vino said. “I made one mistake with a pitch up in the zone, but we stayed close. It was a huge win.”

Vino allowed six hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Ryan Palm picked up the win with two innings of scoreless relief, striking out the final two batters.


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