Dan Luppens had to dig out of a hole. He fell behind 0-and-2 with runners in scoring position and the score tied in the bottom of the fifth.
Luppens worked the count full, knew a curveball was coming and fouled it off. He fouled off a couple of fastballs before he got a hold of a fastball that was up and inside.
Luppens crushed the pitch to deep centerfield for a two-run double, the game's deciding hit, which broke a tie at 1 in a 6-1 win for host Shoreham-Wading River over Bayport-Blue Point on Friday in Suffolk League VII baseball. The teams split the four-game season series and Bayport-Blue Point (9-2, 9-2) leads the league by one game over SWR (8-3, 8-3).
"I was looking for the perfect pitch and fighting pitches off," Luppens said. "I didn't want to walk. I like pitches up and got one. I got moved up to the four spot and they were counting on me to come up big."
The Wildcats used the same lineup for two consecutive games for the first time this season. Luppens batted fifth most of the time before moving to cleanup the past two games. Steve Schneider (3-for-3, a walk, two runs scored) led off the inning with a bloop double down the rightfield line. He went to third on a single by Nick Bottari (2-for-3, two runs, RBI), who stole second to set up Luppens' big hit. Luppens scored on a single by Tyler Osik to make it 4-1.
"Luppens has been doing that for two years," SWR coach Sal Mignano said. "He's not afraid to swing at any borderline pitch to keep the at-bat alive. He's a real aggressive kid."
Evan Kearney made his first start of the season for SWR. He picked up a win in relief three weeks ago and has pitched well. The third spot in the starting rotation has been up for grabs all season and Kearney took advantage of this chance by getting the win. He allowed one run, five hits and two walks in five innings with three strikeouts.
"Normally, when pressure comes, I feel like I can deliver a little bit better than normal," Kearney said. "I got into some pressure situations, but I buckled down and got out of it. With more on the line, it helps me focus more."