Brian Morrell and Brandon Bonnano engaged in an epic pitcher’s duel Friday in a Suffolk VII baseball game. The two braved 44-degree temperatures and a stiff wind to compete in a memorable game that saw 28 strikeouts and needed an extra inning to finish.
Morrell drove a first-pitch fastball from Bonnano to deep centerfield to score Tom Brady with no one out in the top of the eighth inning to key a two-run rally as Shoreham-Wading River edged host Mount Sinai, 2-1.
Morrell scored what proved to be the winning run when he came home on a wild pitch for the 2-0 lead. Mount Sinai (4-1), which beat Shoreham, 2-0, earlier in the week, lost for the first time. The two will play the third game of the series today.
Morrell lost his shutout bid when he allowed a bloop RBI single to Sam Kessler in the bottom of the eighth. He struck out 14, walked two and allowed three hits for the win.
“This was a big win for us and a momentum builder,” Morrell said.
Bonanno was equally impressive Friday. He struck out 14, walked two and let up five hits.
Both pitchers were overpowering with excellent movement, mixing nasty breaking balls and staying ahead in the count.
While Morrell cruised through the first seven innings, allowing just one hit, Bonnano escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth. He induced a groundout to end the threat and send the game into the seventh inning still scoreless.
“We have a very tough schedule to start the season,” Morrell said. “We had the defending county champion in Bayport for three games and now Mount Sinai. We had a huge team comeback in the third game against Bayport to sweep the series. And now we’re in a battle with Mount Sinai.”
Shoreham-Wading River erased a 4-1 deficit to come back for a 5-4 win over Bayport last week and head into the Mount Sinai series undefeated. Mustangs righty Sam Kessler fired a one-hitter handing the Wildcats their first loss of the season.
Morrell returned the favor Friday as he outdueled Bonnano in a gem of a game.