A three-round battle for first place in Nassau B/C is being waged this week and Wheatley took the first round from Oyster Bay on Monday. The clash played out in apropos fashion for a matchup of unbeatens, with the game’s outcome hanging in the balance until the final pitch.
Wheatley lefthander Kyle Rosenberg had crafted a first-rate performance when he hit the state-mandated 105-pitch limit with one out and a one-run lead, but men on first and second base. Sophomore righty Connor Quinn was summoned to close it out, struck out the first batter he faced and then looked on as Mike Gatti hit a potential game-tying ground ball into the hole between short and third.
On a dead run, Dylan Rosenberg made the high-degree-of-difficulty snare and fired to third baseman Costa Koutsoftas for a force out to finish the 3-2 victory at Oyster Bay’s Memorial Field.
“Such a great play Dylan to end it,” said Quinn, who now has three saves on the season. “He has great hands and always makes the tough plays.”
“Kyle was spectacular right until he hit the limit and it was a good thing we had Connor to finish it,” Wheatley coach Paul Paino said. “He may be a sophomore but he’s exactly the guy you want in that situation against the best hitters in their order. He’s not afraid of the moment and he wants to beat the best.”
Highly accurate with a cutter and a slurve, Kyle Rosenberg allowed two runs on four hits and walk while striking out 10.
“It was all about throwing first-pitch strikes for me,” he said. “When you do that, you really cut the batter’s chances to get a hit . . . I’m throwing in the 70s, but if I mix my pitches I can keep hitters from zeroing in on anything.”
He took a 3-0 shutout into the sixth where saw his run of 13 straight Baymen retired end with a hit-by-pitch. Mike Gatti singled and Jonathan Goldschmitt walked to load the bases and Tommy Rizzuto delivered a two-out two-run single to center before Rosenberg got out of the jam still holding a one-run lead.
Quinn came off after he allowed a single and a walk with one out in the seventh.
Oyster Bay starter Gatti pitched six innings and struck out 11 but was largely sabotaged by the defense behind him.
Wheatley scored in the first when Dylan Rosenberg reached on a third strike that went the backstop and took second on a wild throw to first base. He advanced on a sacrifice and scored on Bryan McCleary’s sacrifice fly.
The ’Cats got two more in the fourth with the Baymen’s help. One error put two men in scoring position before sophomore Danny Gillette – in his first varsity game – laced a single up the middle to score one. The hit wasn’t fielded cleanly, allowing another second run on the play and the 3-0 lead.
“There’s no question that we beat ourselves today with the errors,” Oyster Bay coach Jeff Schiereck said. “We have to clean it up for Tuesday’s game and get one back.”