Smithtown West got a real good look Wednesday at the newest addition to the Smithtown East pitching staff. Actually, it was too good of a look.
Righthander Pat LaGravinese transferred from St. John the Baptist back to his hometown school for his senior year. He struck out nine, including eight looking, as Smithtown East defeated Smithtown West, 8-2, in Suffolk League III.
LaGravinese scattered three hits, walked one and hit one batter in a complete game for East (2-0). He punctuated the performance by getting the final batter looking at an 0-and-2 fastball.
"I felt great out there," said LaGravinese, who threw 85 pitches, 63 for strikes. "I had excellent command and was getting ahead of them with breaking balls."
LaGravinese had 23 stitches removed from just under his right biceps earlier in the day. He said he felt no pain in the area and was happy to be cleared by the doctor in time to play.
"He had a surgical procedure to remove a cancerous growth about three weeks ago," his father, Cesare LaGravinese, said. "Thankfully, he's in the clear now. But he'll have an inch-and-a-half scar from the operation, but that's no big deal because he's healthy. It was good to see him compete today and smile after the game. He's been under some pressure because he doesn't want to let his teammates down."
LaGravinese, who helped St. John the Baptist win two CHSAA titles, added a double, was walked intentionally twice and scored two runs.
"He's as good as advertised," Smithtown East coach Ken Klee said. "He's so calm and knows the game. He was dealing out there. He pounded the zone with two pitches all game."
Smithtown East opened the scoring in the second inning when Mike Ruggiero lined a single to center, moved to second on a wild pitch and came home on Dylan Vetter's single. East added a run in the fifth, when LaGravinese doubled and scored on Matt Milne's single.
Smithtown West broke through with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Mike Bugliarelli had an infield hit, Rob Tammaro was hit with a pitch and Brandon Lamanna doubled in both to tie it at 2. LaGravinese ended the rally by inducing a groundout.
Smithtown East responded with a six-run seventh. James Myers' single broke the tie and Milne doubled to make it 4-2. Ruggiero singled in another run, and five walks helped the Bulls pull away.
"I am happy about quite a few things today," LaGravinese said.
He couldn't have said it better.