Baseball coaches at all levels want their players to forget about previous successes and failures in a new at-bat. David Franchi couldn’t do that with the game on the line. And maybe this time, it was for the best.
“I was having a rough day at the plate,” Franchi said. “I was 0-for-3 coming up to the plate at that time. I was just thinking to myself, ‘Got to come up big here.’”
Franchi did exactly that, turning on the first pitch and lining it to right-centerfield to drive in Ryan Vetack in the seventh inning to give host Center Moriches a 2-1 walk-off victory over Southold in Suffolk VIII on Monday.
Franchi, a lefthanded hitter, said Southold’s Dylan Clausen was pitching him outside throughout the game, and Franchi wanted to find a pitch early in the count to drive and end the contest.
“He threw me a meatball right down the middle,” Franchi said, “and I just had to take advantage of it.”
The pitch before, Anthony Maag drove in pinch runner Kevin Smith with a two-out single to rightfield as the Red Devils tied the score at 1. Smith was running for Matt Almond, who singled to lead off the inning.
“It felt great,” Maag said. “I saw the second baseman just looking at it, it felt so good.”
Clausen kept the Red Devils off balance as he allowed seven hits and one walk and struck out in seven in 6 2/3 innings.
But Liam Pulsipher was even better for Center Moriches (8-8). He held the potent Southold offense to four hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in the complete game.
“I was a little nervous,” said Pulsipher, who added he was coming off a leg injury. “I don’t normally get nervous but I was a little nervous because they’re a decent team up and down through the order. But I knew I had the stuff to do it. You always have to believe in yourself. I was ready.”
Southold (15-3) broke the scoreless tie in the sixth inning when Clausen walked with one out, stole second and scored on Luke Hansen’s single.
“Coming out and pitching against good teams like Mattituck, them, Babylon and holding them to a little bit of runs always feels great,” Pulsipher said.
The win puts Center Moriches one step closer to the postseason after starting the season 0-6.
“It just gives us the motivation to keep going and keep pushing,” Maag said.