Longwood leadoff hitter Joe McDonald lined a double to leftfield and the barrage began. The Lions first six hitters strung together three singles, two doubles and Louis Kaleb’s three-run home run to open a six-run first inning lead before an out was recorded.
The big inning propelled Longwood to a 9-6 win over Patchogue-Medford in a Suffolk League I baseball game Tuesday in Middle Island. Longwood improved to 3-0.
The Lions needed late inning relief help from one of its starting pitchers to save the win. Senior righthander Josh Dannenberg came on in relief with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the sixth inning.
"He’s the right guy at that moment and was available to pitch," said Longwood coach Ryan McSherry, in his sixth year. "He’s a polished pitcher, who’s one of our top starters. We needed to stop Patchogue’s momentum."
Dannenberg induced an infield popup and recorded two strikeouts to end the sixth inning threat. He pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, recording the final out on a rocket line drive back to the mound.
"I barely saw that one, almost took my head off, the catch was all reaction," said Dannenberg, who struck out seven in his first outing, a win over Brentwood. "I just came in to pound the zone, fill it up with strikes and not walk anyone." Dannenberg retired all six batters to earn the save.
The Longwood offense provided plenty of run support. In the first inning, Tommy Ventimiglia doubled home a run and Jake Hall singled home two more to build a 3-0 lead before Kaleb’s blast over the leftfield fence.
"I like to set the tone with the first at bat," said Longwood first baseman Joe McDonald, who led off last week’s win against Brentwood with an inside the park home run. "It gets us going and we can hit one through nine in our lineup."
Patchogue-Medford crept back into the game, scoring twice in the second inning on Justin Moustouka’s two-out, two-run single and a two-out RBI single from Matt Schlanger in the third to make it 6-3.
Longwood extended the lead to 8-3 when Mason Mehling keyed a two-run third inning with an RBI single.
The Raiders continued to come back when Schlanger’s third hit of the game, a two-run single in the fifth, made it 8-5.
"After the first six batters," Patchogue-Medford coach Tony Frascogna said. "I was proud of the effort, how we got back in the game."
The first four Raiders reached base in the sixth and Patrick Dallas’ RBI single made it 8-6 with the bases loaded and no outs and Schlanger, who was 3-for-3, up next. Huge spot.
That’s when McSherry called on Dannenberg.
He popped up Schlanger for the first out.
"Josh has the makeup for the big moment," McSherry said. "And he came through."