SOMERS, N.Y.— Senior Marc Maestri and the Somers baseball team felt the pressure rise when the umpire declared that the bottom of the 10th inning would be its final chance to break a scoreless tie against visiting Walter Panas on April 20.
That was when the bell was answered at last, as Maestri clubbed the game-winning hit that plopped right between the left and center fielders to grant Somers a 1-0 walk-off victory.
Junior Nick Keating raced to beat out the third-baseman’s throw on a slow tapper to start the domino effect with one out.
Senior shortstop Matt Pires and senior third-baseman Garrett Wilson smacked singles to center, setting the stage for Maestri’s magic.
Both teams spoiled various chances to score earlier in the game. The Tuskers had in opportunity late in the ninth when they had second and third base filled with just one out but failed to score.
The Panthers created many more base-runners, 12 to be exact who were all stranded. Junior right-fielder Nick Ruggiero saved a run by laying out for an inning-ending catch on a shallow fly-ball near the foul line in the fourth.
The starting pitcher Maestri tossed a brilliant seven frames for no runs, three hits, six strikeouts and four walks.
“He had everything working today without a doubt,” Somers coach Joe Wootten said. “His fastball was spotty but his out-pitch was his curveball and he did well with that pitch. He was mixing it up very well and kept the hitters off-balance. His two-seam fastball was also dirty today.”
He worked out of trouble on several occasions to help preserve the shutout, including the fifth inning when the bases were juiced with one out.
“I knew I had a job to do on the mound and went out there trying not to give up any runs,” Maestri said. “I just dialed in and focused to throw strikes.”
The veteran coach said that the team’s success is dependent on performances on the mound.
“That’s the bottom-line,” Wootten said. “Maestri and (Michael) Hirsch gave us two great outings. The way the pitching goes, is the way each game and our season will go.”
With the infield in, senior second baseman Matt Mariani snagged a screaming line-drive and abruptly doubled up the startled runner at first for the escape.
Sophomore right-hander Logan Carriero, who earned the win, tossed three scoreless innings while letting up just one hit.
“This was his statement game,” Wootten said. “He had a tough outing his first time, but he showed a lot of poise and grit in those last few innings and got the job done.”
Panas’ starting pitcher Mike Cox, also a left-hander, used a wicked change-up to keep the Tuskers guessing for eight innings. Senior slugger Joe Napolitano still hammered three singles and walked.
Somers was blanked by Croton-Harmon, 8-0, only a day before its unique victory. It also annihilated visiting Ardsley, 13-0, for its first win of the season.
Against Ardsley, Hirsch tossed an outstanding complete game for just five hits, four walks and five strikeouts.
“He was spotting his fastball and got ahead on every single hitter,” Wootten said. “It was all him. We could have scored two runs and won that game.”
Pires smoked a triple and went 2 for 3 with three runs scored. Mariani was 2 for 4 while driving in two and crossing home once. Junior left fielder Chris Boncardo knocked in two runners and scored twice while going 2 for 3.
The Tuskers lost 5-4 in nine innings to Panas on April 22 as the Tuskers and Panthers played 19 innings over a three-day span.
Somers visited Brewster on April 26 at 4:15 p.m. before hosting the same team two days later at 4:15 p.m.
“We are feeling good after two times around our pitching rotation,” Maestri said. “Our pitchers are locked in and throwing well. We are waking the bats up some games but we have momentum and we are focused on league play this year.”