The Wheatley Wildcats varsity baseball team took the first game of their three game series against the Carle Place Frogs 11-0 on Monday afternoon. The Wildcats got the bats going along with a brilliant pitching performance from senior John Ryan in the opening game of the Nassau B semifinals.
Wildcats Head Coach Paul Paino stated that once the offensive outburst got going, the boys made it look easy and they seized the opportunity to take a commanding lead in the series.
“Early on we were scratching runs out and trying to put things together” said Paino. “In the middle of the game, I just had to sit back and watch them hit.”
The Wildcats entered the game finishing in second place in the Nassau BC Conference with an overall record of 15-4. They won all three meetings against the Frogs in the regular season and look to keep the fire in their rivalry going in postseason play.
“We have a great rivalry going with these guys” said Paino. “We never take them for granted. They’re always a tough bunch and a good team.”
The Wildcats got the game’s first run in the bottom of the first inning with an infield single by Evan Mattioli to give the boys a 1-0 lead. With runners on first and second to start the inning, Mattioli would hit a chopper to third and the runners would advance on a tough wild throw to first.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Wildcats would get another run off a two out single by junior designated hitter Matt Cristina. With two outs and a runner on second, Cristina would smack a single up the middle to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead. His hit would eventually set the stage for the Wildcats’ offensive onslaught.
“I was looking to hit a single” said Cristina. “Once I started off, the whole team would get juiced and ready to go. I did my thing and that powered us to a win.”
In the bottom of the fifth, the Wildcats put the game out of reach with a four run rally. They would take a 6-0 lead and knock the opposing starting pitcher out of the game. A single by Mattioli, heads up base running by junior centerfielder Antonio Deodato and a two run double by Cristina did the damage.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Wildcats weren’t finished as they piled on five more runs to take an 11-0 lead. A single by Deodato, a two run double by Mattioli, a sacrifice fly by Ryan and an RBI groundout by senior first baseman Hunter Pomerantz highlighted the inning.
Ryan pitched just like his overpowering self by striking out nine Frog batters and allowing no walks and only six hits in a complete game shutout. He also went 2-4 at the plate with a run batted in.
“He’s striking out 10-15 guys every single time out” said Paino. “He strikes out two an inning and he hits. What more could you ask for out of a guy like that?”
Mattioli went 3-4 with a double and four RBIs and Cristina went 2-3 with three RBIs to pace the offense for the Wildcats.
The second seeded Wildcats look to avenge last year’s defeat to the third seed Frogs, where they took two out of three against them in the semifinals. This year, the Wildcats have the momentum and a chance to send the Frogs home early. They will hand the ball to Deodato in Game 2 tomorrow at Carle Place. Paino expects another big outing from the southpaw. To advance to the next round, the Wildcats will look to use the same formula that got them the win in Game 1.
“We gotta get our pitching going, which I’m confident we will, and keep our bats going” said Ryan. “We needed to get that one at home going away. Hopefully we come out tomorrow and do the same thing we did today.”