The Mattituck baseball program has established itself as one of the very best in the state in recent years. The Tuckers earned two of the past three Long Island Class B titles and went on to the state crown in 2015.
The Tuckers’ return to the state final four and bid for another state title was short circuited by a Livonia team looking for some revenge after losing the state title to Mattituck two years ago.
Lefthander Reid Vanscoter fired a two-hitter, walked four and struck out eight as Livonia shut out Mattituck, 7-0, in a state semifinal Friday night at SUNY-Binghamton.
“Great season, rough day,” said Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro. “We ran into a solid pitcher who pitched backward by throwing his curveball to set up his fastball. We had our opportunities early and he was able to escape unscathed.”
Coincidentally, it was Vanscoter who grounded out for the final out in the 2015 state championship game as a sophomore. He came back in his senior year with a little extra incentive to beat Mattituck.
“We didn’t get a hit until the fifth inning,” DeCaro said. “He was pitching with a purpose. He was throwing a nice slider and pounding the corners. The kid knows how to pitch.”
Mattituck (19-7) loaded the bases in the second inning but Vanscoter induced a groundout and a strikeout to get out of the jam.
Livonia (23-1) scored a run in the second inning and two in the third against Mattituck starter Brendan Kent for a 3-0 lead.
Senior Ryan McCaffrey broke up Vanscoter’s no-hit bid with two outs in the fifth inning. Senior Matt Heffernan followed with another single and it looked as if the Tuckers had a rally brewing. Vanscoter, who is committed to pitch for Division I Binghamton, recorded his seventh strikeout to end the threat.
“He was hitting his spots,” Heffernan said. “We had some chances. But we didn’t capitalize and that was the difference.”
Livonia peppered the Mattituck defense and found all the right spots to outhit the Tuckers, 15-2.
“That’s baseball,” Heffernan said. “They had a bunch of hits that just found the right place. We’ve had days like that but today everything fell their way. It was still a great season.”
Mattituck will look back on another successful campaign in which it earned a share of the Suffolk League VIII title and captured the Suffolk Class B championship.
“I told them not too many teams get the chance to end their season in the state tournament,” DeCaro said. “I love this team to pieces. We had great senior leadership and nice blend of players. I’m proud of them.”