Ward Melville’s Greg Vivenzio met a big moment with a big performance on Friday.
In the first games of the Coaches Memorial Opening Weekend, the senior righthander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and then got the last two outs with the tying run on third base as the Patriots defeated Sachem East, 1-0, at Moriches Athletic Complex.
"I didn’t even know," Vivenzio said. "I was just treating every inning fresh and not thinking about what had happened the innings before."
Sachem East’s Evan Fisher broke up the no-hit bid by doubling to right to lead off the seventh. He took third as Vivenzio’s third strike to the next batter required catcher Tom Ribaudo to throw him out at first. Vivenzio finished the seven-strikeout one-hitter by getting the next two East hitters to strike out and ground out.
Ward Melville took a very aggressive approach on the bases and it produced the lone run in the contest. The Patriots had runners at the corners with two outs in the bottom of the first after Josh Russo's single to left. Patriots coach Lou Petrucci gambled on a double steal and Ribaudo raced home from third and slid under the throw to score.
"I had get a good jump . . . and as soon as I saw the catcher throw over the pitcher's head, I knew I had to take the chance," Ribaudo said. "Fortunately, I got it."
Sachem East's Matt Guido allowed only five hits but took the loss.
The Coaches Memorial – 43 games including all 55 schools from Suffolk County at five sites – is an event hosted by the Town of Brookhaven and is dedicated to the memory of Suffolk coaching greats Carmine Argenziano of Deer Park, Bob Ambrosini of Connetquot and Bill Batewell of Sachem and Bellport, all who died while high school baseball was on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. Argenziano and Batewell died from complications of COVID-19.
"It’s great to see the kids playing baseball again after last season didn’t happen," said Ed Morris, Brookhaven commissioner of Parks and Recreation. "The kids missed so much last year and we thought this would be a great idea to get everyone here."
Vivenzio not only missed out on his junior season when the 2020 baseball slate got wiped out, he missed out on the one chance to play with his older brother Chris, who now is a freshman at Pace. The two were to be the front of the Patriots’ rotation as a big 1-2 punch.
"I was really, really excited to join the varsity and play with my brother," Vivenzio said. "We were looking to be like a dynamic duo and it was going to be fun. We were both obviously devastated when the season got canceled."
He may not have had his brother at his side, but Vivenzio got his first varsity start and made the most of it.