Bobby DiCapua scrambled off the mound toward the third base line. If ever there was a time for the West Islip sophomore to show off his athleticism this was the moment.
Newfield had cut a six-run deficit to four and had the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh inning. DiCapua induced a nubber and as Mike Manzolillo raced to first base, DiCapua barehanded the ball and made the throw.
DiCapua nipped the runner for the final out as host West Islip edged previously unbeaten Newfield, 6-2, Saturday in a Suffolk League IV baseball game.
DiCapua, who came on in relief with the bases loaded and one out, retired the final two batters to record the save.
“I had to be mobile and get off the mound quickly to make that play,” DiCapua said. “We just got him.”
West Islip (4-0) took sole possession of first place with the win. Junior righthander Mike LaDonna shut the Wolverines out over the first six innings as West Islip built a 6-0 lead.
LaDonna mixed an 85-mph fastball with a wicked changeup and scattered three hits, walked four and struck out eight, including the side in the sixth. He tired in the seventh, walking the first two hitters before being removed for a reliever with his pitch count at 96.
“Mike is as cool as a cucumber out there,” said West Islip coach Shawn Rush. “And he’s a complete athlete. He competes on every pitch.”
Relief man Jordan Piht struck out his first batter but ran into trouble when Kyle Johnson lined an RBI single and Mike Prisco and Chandler Giovinco drew consecutive walks to load the bases. Giovinco’s pass forced in a second run and had Rush bring in DiCapua.
“We’re not a team with superstars,” Rush said. “We win because we’re a baseball team with a lot of good players. DiCapua is a special kind of athlete like LaDonna.”
Giovinco, the Newfield starter, ran into trouble in the first inning. Jim Loeffler walked, stole second and scored when Giovinco threw away a routine two-out grounder for the first run. LaDonna’s RBI single made it 2-0.
“We had the lead and I just had to keep the ball low and let the defense make the plays,” LaDonna said.
The Lions added four more runs in the third on three hits and two well-executed bunts. Loeffler started the rally with a leadoff single, Anthony Ippolito bunted for a single and cleanup man Anthony Cinquemani walked to load the bases. LaDonna, who went 3-for-3, drilled a two-run double down the leftfield line to make it 4-0.
“I’m seeing the ball well and getting good pitches to hit,” LaDonna said. “It’s a real good team win.”