Joe Rubenstrunk retreated on the pop-up to shallow rightfield and caught the ball over his left shoulder for the final out. The second baseman’s nice grab sealed host Newfield’s 3-0 win over North Babylon in a Suffolk League IV baseball game played Friday in heavy wind.
Newfield (4-0) gained sole possession of first place. The Wolverines play at West Islip (3-0) today at 10 a.m. North Babylon fell to 1-2.
Reliever Ryan Wappaus came on with one out and no one on base to record the final two outs.
Senior starter Kyle Johnson scattered five hits, struck out six and walked one in 6 1⁄3 innings for the victory. He did not allow a runner past second base.
“I felt like I had good command,” Johnson said. “I was getting ahead of the hitters and the defense picked me up in some key spots. Anything hit in the air, even with these ridiculous winds, was an out. Our guys played great.”
Newfield coach Eric Joyner said it was vintage Johnson.
“He worked the zone really well and was so composed,” Joyner said. “And I thought our defense was really good.”
The same could not be said for the North Babylon defense, which made some costly mistakes as Newfield put together a two-out, three-run rally in the second.
Wolverines catcher Brandon Baez got it started when he reached base on an infield single. After Dom Spinelli worked the count to 3-and-2 against North Babylon starter Brian Primm, Joyner sent Baez on a steal of second and Spinelli skied a pop-up to shallow right, where two fielders dove to make the catch and neither came up with the ball. Third-base coach Mike Prisco waved Baez home for a 1-0 lead and Spinelli moved to second base.
The next batter, Mike Manzolillo, hit a fly ball to short centerfield, where three fielders converged but allowed the ball to fall for a hit as Spinelli scored. Sophomore Mike Prisco drilled the next pitch for a run-scoring single and a 3-0 lead.
“We couldn’t communicate on two short pop-ups into the outfield and it cost us the game,” North Babylon coach Steve Corrado said. “This is a direct result of not having the opportunity to be out on the field getting in practices to work on communication defense. Take nothing away from Newfield, that’s a great team, but with the exception of one bad inning on defense, this was a scoreless game.”
Primm went six innings with four strikeouts. He allowed five hits and three walks and hit three batters.
“He deserved better,” Corrado said.