Commack righthander Evan Kay called it attack mode.
The junior made quick work of Patchogue-Medford, pitching a one-hitter in Game 1 of the best-of-three Suffolk Class AA championship series Saturday afternoon in Commack. Kay struck out six and needed only 86 pitches in the Cougars’ 7-0 win over the Raiders.
Kay (3-0) retired 12 of the final 13 hitters he faced. He allowed an infield single by Dave Granucci in the third inning and walked two.
Fourth-seeded Patchogue-Medford (16-7), the co-Suffolk League III champion, failed to advance a runner past second base. The Raiders will need to win at home on Monday at noon to force a deciding Game 3.
Top-seeded Commack, the defending Class AA champion, improved to 22-2.
“I felt like I had total control of all my pitches,” said Kay, who has held opponents scoreless in 14 innings in the postseason. “I went out aggressively after the hitters and tried to avoid walking people. I pitched without fear.”
Kay had fantastic rhythm and used a running two-seam fastball that handcuffed multiple batters, along with a changeup that had hitters out in front.
“He’s gotten better and better and his changeup is awesome,” Commack coach Matt Salmon said. “He’s really been unhittable, and our defense played very well behind him.”
“Their pitcher had good velocity and kept us off-balance,” Patchogue-Medford coach Anthony Frascogna said. “And they are by far the best-hitting team we’ve seen.”
Commack’s offense complemented the efficient pitching of Kay. Entering Saturday, the Cougars had scored at least 10 runs in seven of their previous 10 games.
They got a leadoff walk from Aidan Murphy in the bottom of the first inning and Chris McHugh singled to put runners at first and second with none out. Joey DiMotta followed with a two-run triple to right-centerfield to give Commack a 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, No. 9 hitter Adam Gonzalez smoked a double to deep rightfield to begin a four-run frame.
Murphy walked, McHugh followed with a single to load the bases and DiMotta was hit by a pitch to force in a run to put Commack ahead 3-0.
Connor Schramm dropped a squeeze bunt to drive in Murphy and Kay followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-0.
Matt Mayer punctuated the rally with an RBI single to give the Cougars a 6-0 lead.
“Every batter contributed in some way in that rally,” Salmon said. “We’ve had some great teams. But this may be our best lineup ever.”
Commack made it 7-0 in the fifth when DiMotta singled and scored on a double by Schramm.
“We are seeing the ball well,” DiMotta said. “Our guys are locked in and it’s the entire lineup. It’s hard to stop because we continue to feed off each other.”