At over 6 feet tall, Mike Keller doesn't look like a typical No. 8 hitter. In the past two games, he hasn't played like one, either.
Keller went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI single on Tuesday as fifth-seeded Shoreham-Wading River defeated top-seeded Glenn, 5-1, in the third and deciding game of their Suffolk Class A baseball semifinal series.
The Wildcats will face third-seeded Bayport-Blue Point in the best-of-three finals. The rematch of last season's championship series will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday in Bayport.
It doesn't seem to matter where Keller hits in the order -- his approach is the same.
"Just try to hit it hard, get on base," said Keller, who homered in Game 2. "Just trying to get the bat on the ball and make something happen."
In addition to the offense provided by Keller, Shoreham got what coach Kevin Willi described as a "dominant" performance from starting pitcher Brian Morrell. He allowed one earned run and seven hits in seven innings, striking out eight.
The sophomore is in his third season on the varsity. "He's grown a lot in those three years," Willi said. "His demeanor has changed. I think that's his biggest asset; he's very cool on the mound."
And he was equally cool at the plate.
Morrell, who went 2-for-3 with an intentional walk, opened the scoring in the first inning with a double that drove in Matt Fox. The Wildcats broke open the game in the third with consecutive RBI singles by Chris Sperruzzi, Keller and Alex Bettenhauser.
Glenn (17-6) swept the Wildcats (14-9) during the regular season. Keller said that made the series win feel even better.
"It feels great because they had our number in the beginning of the season," he said. "But now we are a better team."
The victory gives Shoreham a chance to avenge last season's loss in the finals to two-time defending state champion Bayport-Blue Point -- just as the Wildcats turned the tables on Glenn.
In addition to beating Shoreham for the county championship last season, Bayport-Blue Point swept the Wildcats this season.
"They are always our rivals since Day One," Morrell said, "so it's going to be a great matchup."