The moment presented David Falco an opportunity, and he seized it.
With his team trailing by a run in the sixth inning on Monday, the Center Moriches sophomore third baseman batted with the bases loaded and two outs — and drove a 2-and-2 fastball to deep centerfield for a three-run double that gave the Red Devils a 3-1 win over Babylon.
In the opener of a pivotal three-game series in Suffolk League VIII baseball, CM moved into a second-place tie with Babylon at 6-4.
“I didn’t feel any pressure at all and I felt really comfortable at the plate,” Falco said. “It makes all the hours of working on my hitting with [former major-leaguer and current Farmingdale State coach] Keith Osik worth it. I’m starting to put it all together and hit with confidence and it’s good for the team.”
Center Moriches coach Dennis Donovan said: “David’s been hitting well the last two games. And he’s driving the ball the other way with confidence.”
Falco’s blast drove in Dave Franchi, who had doubled to lead off the inning, along with Liam Pulsipher and Alec Maag, who drew walks. Franchi finished with two hits.
Babylon righthander Shaun Kaminski shut out Center Moriches for 5 2⁄3 innings. He had allowed only one hit and three baserunners through a dominant five innings.
Falco walked on four pitches and barely missed a two-run homer with a long drive to the warning track in the fourth. “I hit it well in my second at-bat, but not good enough,” he said.
Babylon opened the scoring in the third. Joe Rende led off with a single and scored on Kaminski’s one-out double into the left-centerfield gap. Pulsipher settled down to retire the next two hitters. “The mark of a good pitcher is being able to overcome some adversity and keep your composure. I thought he did a nice job with that today,” Donovan said.
Pulsipher walked the bases loaded in the second, but after a visit from Donovan, he recorded two strikeouts and a groundout.
“That was the turning point in the game and a real confidence- booster for me,” said Pulsipher, who struck out 10. “I made some adjustments and got comfortable from that point.”
Pulsipher retired 13 of the final 14 hitters he faced and exited with two outs and no runners on in the seventh. Sophomore Nathan Siegerson picked up a strikeout for the save.
“It’s a really good win for us in a league that everyone seems to be pretty competitive,” Donovan said. “This is a nice comeback win.”