Zach White was handed the baseball and asked to give the type of performance that would extend Shoreham-Wading River’s baseball season.
The senior righthander responded with a fabulous three-hit shutout as the Wildcats downed Rocky Point, 5-0, Saturday in the Suffolk Class A tournament in Wading River before a raucous crowd of more than 700 that rimmed the field.
The win forces a winner-take-all game Monday at 4 p.m. for the right to advance and play in the next round.
“This was all or nothing,” White said. “There was no room for error, we needed to go out and get it.”
White allowed only four base runners and never had two men on base in any inning. He threw an economical 83 pitches, struck out 11, walked none and pounded the zone early by throwing 18 first-pitch strikes. He improved to 7-2 and increased his strikeout total to 77 in 54 innings.
“I felt like I had my command early,” White said. “And getting the lead gives me the chance to be aggressive and throw some risky pitches to outs.”
White was buoyed by home runs in the first and third innings. Junior cleanup man Vincent Uzzi drilled a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the first for the 2-0 lead.
Junior shortstop Brian Morrell led off the third with his Long Island-leading 11th home run to make it 3-0. He added a double and scored three run.
“I have to say I was so fired up when I came to bat,” said Uzzi, who also crushed a two-run homer last week in a 3-2 comeback playoff win over Bayport-Blue Point last week. “I feed off that energy. The atmosphere had been awesome in these games.” It was Uzzi’s third homer of the year.
Rocky Point starter Paul Dominguez allowed four hits through 5 1⁄3 innings but was hurt by the two long balls. He was removed with one out and one on in the sixth to a nice ovation.
“It comes down to a decisive game and that’s exciting,” White said. “Our crowd will be into it, their crowd will be into it, and the winner will move on.”
The crowd size grew throughout the game as the neighboring communities came out in support of their teams.
“I love it when everyone is into it,” Uzzi said. “We’re looking forward to Monday.”