Thomas Fletcher still considers himself a middle infielder, even if he keeps finding himself in the closer’s role for Oyster Bay.
Fletcher recorded a six-out Houdini-like save in the Baymen’s 6-5 victory over Wheatley Friday afternoon in a Nassau B game at Bethpage Ballpark, home of the Long Island Ducks.
Fletcher induced a weak ground ball that landed inches off the plate and was picked up by catcher Colin Rainey, who threw to first to end the game with the tying run on third base.
“I love that situation,” Fletcher said. “A couple games ago, we were playing Great Neck South. I was in the same situation and I blew it. So, I vowed that from that day on, it would never happen again. The past three games, I’ve come in to close and been lucky enough to get the save.”
Fletcher said that, after not pitching since the summer, he had been aiming the ball a little too much. After the blown save against Great Neck South, he changed that.
“I’ve been more ambitious to pitch to contact,” Fletcher said. “…I kept going home and threw with my dad a lot. I got my control back and now everything is working well for me.”
Oyster Bay is better for it. They’ve won all three of their conference games and also have showed a flair for the dramatic. A three-run sixth inning erased a 4-3 deficit. Aidan Russo’s two-RBI single drove in Matt Yerkes and Matthew Wong.
“I was just looking for a fastball in the zone and I got it,” Russo said.
Earlier in the inning, Yerkes’ single with the infield in tied the score at 4.
“It was exciting,” Yerkes said. “I’m not trying to do too much there. I’m just trying to do my job, get guys on, maybe get a couple runs, and put us in a good spot to win.”
Oyster Bay starter Tyler Peronace allowed four runs (three earned), six hits, and struck out four in five innings.
The seventh-inning scramble wasn’t the only hairy moment for Fletcher. After allowing a leadoff triple and a run in the sixth, he notched a strikeout and induced a ground ball with the tying run on base to end the inning.
So, does he still consider himself a middle infielder?
“I don’t know. I’m more feeling like Mariano Rivera,” Fletcher said jokingly. “But, I have a lot of fun when I’m closing.”