Robert Bradley dipped into his pitching repertoire and pulled out a nasty changeup. He mixed the change with his fastball and devastating knuckle drop curveball — the results were impressive.
Bradley fired a three-hitter, walked two and struck out nine in Division’s 3-1 come-from-behind win over Wantagh Monday in a Nassau Class A baseball game.
After a slow start, Bradley retired 16 of the final 17 batters, including a called third strike on Mason McLane with the bases loaded and two outs to end the second inning.
“It’s the best I’ve felt all season,” Bradley said. “I got through the first two innings when they touched me for a run and that was it. I had command of all three pitches and felt great. We had some real positive energy in a really big game.”
Division (9-1) used a two-run fifth inning to snap a tie at 1. Colin Diez drew a one-out walk and came around to score when Hunter Traenkle drilled a line drive just out of the reach of diving centerfielder Peter DelGais. As the ball rolled to the left centerfield fence, Diez roared around the bases for the 2-1 lead, and Traenkle cruised to second with a standup double.
“He gets the big hits when we need them,” Division coach Tom Tuttle said. “He had both of our big hits today. There is no doubt that Hunter is one of the best hitters in Nassau.”
Traenkle also lined a one-out single to score Matt Cavanagh in the third inning to tie the score at 1.
“I was ahead in the count in both at-bats,” Traenkle said. “And I was looking to drive a fastball. I barreled both of those up. When the centerfielder dove for the second one I thought he might snag it but it got past him.”
Diez said as soon as he saw the ball get by the fielder he was off to the races.
“I just turned it on,” said Diez, who was one base all three times. “I was looking to score all the way.”
Pinch runner Jason Lemieux came in for Traenkle and moved to third on a wild pitch. Lemieux scored when James Giovanakis dropped a squeeze bunt down the first base line.
“They executed and played some small ball and that was the difference,” said Wantagh coach Keith Sachs, whose team dropped to 11-3. “We’re playing well. Division got the key hit today.”
Wantagh starter Mason McLane, coming off consecutive no-hitters, allowed six hits, three walks and struck out seven in the loss. He came into the game with four walks and 62 strikeouts in 30 innings of work.
“Mason has been great this year,” Sachs said. “We need to bounce back in the next game.”