Josh Rovner breathed some life into the Patchogue-Medford baseball season. The senior righthander helped the Raiders stave off elimination from playoff contention with a brilliant performance Monday against first-place Ward Melville.
Rovner struck out 13, walked one and allowed two hits in six innings-plus as host Patchogue-Medford came back for a 4-3 win over Ward Melville in a Suffolk League I game.
“That was his best outing of the season, and that’s saying something,” Patchogue-Medford coach Tony Frascogna said. “He’s had a no-hitter and a one-hitter this year. He came out with our season on the line and beat the League I champions.”
Patchogue (9-10) needed to win its final two games of the regular season to reach the playoffs. A win Tuesday against Longwood and the Raiders are postseason-bound.
Patchogue scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to erase a 3-2 deficit. Rovner singled and went to third on a single by Vito Morabito. Rovner scored on a fielder’s choice to tie it and Phil Gerard lined a sacrifice fly for the lead.
“We’re still in it,” said Rovner (4-2), an Adelphi commit. “We battled and it was a great team win.”
Rovner surpassed the pitch count limit of 105 after a nine-pitch battle with the Patriots’ Trevor Cronin resulted in a leadoff walk in the seventh inning. He was relieved by senior Billy Schramm, who induced a lineout to leftfield and a line drive back to the mound that he turned into a game-ending double play for the save.
Ward Melville (16-3), which clinched the Suffolk League I title last week, took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Max Nielsen singled and Joe Rosselli hit a long two-run home run.
“I left that pitch out over the plate and he got it,” Rovner said.
It was a rare mistake. In fact, Rovner made up for the homer by hitting one himself — a two-run shot that followed Erik Matz’s single in the second inning and tied the score at 2. It was Rovner’s first homer this season.
Ward Melville starter Chris Buehler settled in after that, retiring 13 of the next 17 batters.
“He did a nice job for us, but we didn’t hit enough to support him,” Ward Melville coach Lou Petrucci said.
Ward Melville took a 3-2 lead with an unearned run in the fifth inning. Two infield errors and a hit batsman loaded the bases with two outs before Rovner walked Logan Doran to make it 3-2. He struck out Rosselli to end the threat, making the comeback — and postseason berth — possible.