According to scouting services, West Islip has not faced a pitching prospect with as bright a future as Ian Anderson’s.
The hard-throwing Shenendehowa righthander, who was chosen third overall by the Atlanta Braves in Thursday’s amateur draft, likely will draw the start against West Islip on Saturday in the state Class AA semifinals at Binghamton University.
West Islip coach Shawn Rush has heard about Anderson. He has watched his YouTube clips and understands the hype. But he is confident in the two senior pitchers who carried the Lions to their second Long Island championship in three years.
“They’ve got to hit Ray [Weber] or James [Kory],” Rush said. “I think any team that gets to one [run] first is going to feel pretty good.”
Rush said he has not decided if he’ll start Weber, who is committed to pitch for Albany, or Kory, who played in West Islip’s state semifinal loss in 2014.
If the Lions (25-5) advance, whoever does not start in the 10 a.m. semifinal against Shenendehowa (19-5) will take the mound in the 4 p.m. final against either Ketcham or Webster Schroeder.
“Bottom line is all four teams up there are going to have one really good pitcher,” Rush said. “We’re fortunate to have two.”
CLASS A SEMIFINAL
Wantagh (23-5) vs.
Saturday, 10 a.m.
at Union-Endicott H.S.
For Wantagh coach Keith Sachs, this trip upstate is déjà vu. The Warriors beat an undefeated Queensbury squad en route to the 1998 state title, and the two programs will face off Saturday in a semifinal. Queensbury (23-0) again is undefeated and beat its last two opponents by a combined score of 27-0.
“As scary as it seems that you’re playing a team so highly ranked, that’s the same situation we were in in ’98,” Sachs said.
A sore arm has rendered Will O’Brien unavailable to pitch, but Sachs said Wantagh will continue to rely on pitchers Jimmy Joyce and Bobby Hegarty, a stout defense and timely hitting.
“How many teams win nine playoff games without their ace — and their ace is an All-State player two years in a row?” Sachs said. “The team just kept moving.”
CLASS D SEMIFINAL
Smithtown Christian (11-9) vs. West Canada Valley (19-6)
Saturday, 10 a.m.
at SUNY Broome CC
Only two players graduated from the Smithtown Christian team that repeated as state champion last year. With a veteran group, the Knights expect to add another title when they face West Canada Valley in a semifinal Saturday.
“We’re just excited to go up again,” coach Chris White said. “This will be our fourth time up in a row, and we’re excited to play for another state championship.”