The ominous dark cloud moved over the field at Rocky Point. Game 1 of the Suffolk Class A championship series was tied in the last of the eighth. Could the Eagles touch the plate before the rain?
Top-seeded Rocky Point beat No. 3 Mount Sinai, and the rain by just a few minutes. The Eagles claimed a come-from-behind, extra-inning, 5-4 victory on a walk-off hit by pitch Saturday, extending their winning streak to 16 and ending the Mustangs’ winning streak at 14.
From four runs down to one game up.
“We just stayed calm,” coach Anthony Anzalone said. “… We always know we have a chance to stay in the fight.”
After an error, a walk, a sacrifice and an intentional walk, Carbone’s right foot absorbed the impact from the baseball after reliever Matt Galli released it.
“It gives our team a lot of momentum going into this next game,” Carbone said.
Game 2 in this best-of-three is set for noon Monday at Mount Sinai. The Mustangs (18-5) will have Chris Batuyios on the mound to try to help prevent the end of their season.
“I have my best arm going,” Mount Sinai coach Eric Reichenbach said. “We’ll see what happens. The thing we have to hope for now is we get out of Monday and we get back here Tuesday.”
Officially, that last run won this game.
Really, Sean Hamilton won it for Rocky Point (22-2) with just brilliant relief work. The Hofstra-bound senior righty went the final 5 1/3 — no runs, one hit, three walks, one intentional, and 11 strikeouts.
“We’ve been on varsity since freshman year, so we both lead this team together,” said Cody Miller, the East Tennessee State-bound senior shortstop/pitcher, who had three hits. “… But when he steps on the mound, I know they are not scoring any more runs.”
Hamilton replaced starter Nic Bernhardt with two on and two outs in the third. Kyle Salvati had just lined a bases-loaded, two-run single to left, making it a three-run inning and a 4-0 lead. But Hamilton indeed prevented the Mustangs from scoring any more runs.
“My mindset is just to stop them where they are, keep the score where it is, just hold them,” Hamilton said. “I know our bats are going to wake up eventually. I know they’ve always got my back.”
They awoke in the fifth, producing two runs against Salvati on an RBI groundout and an RBI single by Miller. They tied it in the sixth on a two-run single by Christian Ark after Galli replaced Salvati with two on and two outs.
Then they loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh. But Galli pulled off a great escape, fanning the next three.
“He’s the guttiest kid I have,” Reichenbach said.
It only delayed the ending of the Eagles’ comeback win.
“These guys train for this,” Anzalone said. “They live for the big moment.”