An innovative way to keep soggy baseballs a bit dryer...

An innovative way to keep soggy baseballs a bit dryer enabled Rocky Point catcher Niko Sorice, among others, to get a firmer grip on the ball during during a Suffolk League V baseball game against Kings Park at the Medford Athletic Complex on Monday, May 2, 2022. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Necessity truly is the mother of invention and that principle was on display Monday as Rocky Point and Kings Park faced off in a chilly mist at the Town of Brookhaven’s Medford Athletic Complex.

The teams weren’t deep into the contest when the supply of game-ready baseballs began to get waterlogged. And it wasn’t long after that when the towels the teams were using to dry them off were soaked, too.

That’s when Rocky Point coach Anthony Anzalone got resourceful. Kings Park had relocated the game to the turf field at Medford because the Kings Park diamond was underwater — some quick thinking by Knights coach Andrew Abreu and KP AD Bill Denniston. Anzalone thought the hot-air hand dryers at the facility could help.

“The conditions were terrible and the balls were slick,” Anzalone said. “Our pitcher [Cody Miller] had more walks than expected because of the grip for his curveball. And their pitcher [Aidan Colagrande] is really tough to hit and his control wasn’t as good as usual.”

Anzalone dispatched senior Michael Nofi to take a handful of baseballs to the men’s room and hold them under the dryers long enough so they could be circulated back into the game. In the third, fourth and fifth innings, the two pitchers issued only two walks.

“I’d like to think it made a difference,” said Anzalone, whose Eagles won the game, 4-0. “We were fortunate they had us at that field so the dryers were an option.”

Stony Brook’s biggest win

Jon Brewer saw many great high school pitchers in 12 years coaching in Georgia. Then Stony Brook School’s new coach saw Thomas White.

“Thomas White was, to date, the best pitcher I’ve ever seen at the high school level,” Brewer said.

And Brewer’s Bears managed to beat him.   

They traveled to Andover, Massachusetts, and split a doubleheader with heralded Phillips Academy on April 30. Stony Brook won the opener, 2-0, hanging a tough loss on Perfect Game’s top-ranked pitcher and third-ranked player overall in the country’s junior class. White has committed to Vanderbilt, but the 6-5 lefty is expected to be a high first-round pick in 2023.

“From what everyone tells me,” Brewer said, “it’s definitely the biggest win in school history among athletics.”

Brewer said White was throwing 96 mph heat. He dominated, yielding one run and one hit and fanning 11 in five innings. But Stony Brook junior righty Johan Franco, who was throwing 88, tossed a three-hit shutout.

“He mixed it up and kept Phillips Academy off-balance,” said Brewer, who also credited the fielding behind Franco and the work of freshman catcher Devon McMorris.

Franco, who had just one strikeout, also doubled in the second, putting two in scoring position. The Bears scored when White balked. They added another run off a reliever in the sixth. 

Syosset’s Sebastian Perez, a sophomore rightfielder/pitcher, tripled and later scored. Brewer said, “He’s going to be a big name.”

More High Schools