The baseball team opened the season on Monday against Greenport, but ended the day without a verdict as a 5-5 game moved into extra innings in the waning daylight. Yesterday afternoon they completed their first game and earned a 6-3 victory over Port Jeff.
Joe Wozny burst onto the Suffolk County baseball scene last season as he nearly no-hit Port Jeff in his debut, ringing up 12 strikeouts in a 5-1 victory. Yesterday, he was nearly as dominant after wading through a rocky 1st inning.
An error put the Royals’ leadoff hitter on before a single and a double followed to put the Royals up 2-0 without an out being recorded. Wozny’s vast experience showed as he battled back, stranding the runner with two swinging strikeouts and a 1-3 putout. Wozny settled down in the top of the 2nd as he bookended a walk by freezing two batters with strikeouts and closed an efficient inning with a 4-3 putout. Two more swinging strikeouts in the top of the 3rd kept the Royals at bay before the Bear bats finally woke up in the bottom half of the inning.
Seamus Scanlon began the frame with a single, stole second, and then moved to third on an infield single by Aidan Mega. A Wozny single plated Scanlon to halve the Port Jeff lead and moved Mega, who swiped second, to third. The Bears tied the game when an errant pick-off attempt at third allowed Mega to scamper home. A second overthrow in the same sequence allowed Wozny to take third. Tim Wozny helped his brother’s cause with a two-out infield single that gave the Bears a 3-2 lead.
Wozny gave up a single to begin the 4th, but Mega erased the threat, catching the runner stealing second with a perfect throw to Scanlon who applied the tag. Wozny downed the next two Royals to post a third straight shutout inning. In the Bears’ half of the 4th, they were able to extend the lead thanks to some timely hitting. Jack Derco got things started with a trickler that kissed off the third base bag. He then took second on wild pitch and Malik Ulysse moved him to third with a well executed bunt. The Royals’ pitcher made a great stab at a hard hit ball from Scanlon for the second out, but Mega battled back from being down in the count to earn a walk and bring up Wozny. The pitcher helped his cause with a rope to left center field that scored two to put the Bears up 5-2.
As the game moved into the 5th inning the cold, windy day began to seep into the bones of the assembled crowd, but Wozny merely brushed it aside as he turned up the heat. The sophomore reared back and pitched his most dominant inning of the day, striking out the side, the third of which coming on three pitches, to quiet a spirited Port Jeff dugout. Wozny registered three more strikeouts in the 6th to close his day with 13. The Bears tacked on an extra run in the bottom of the inning thanks to a hit batsman (Mega) and an E4 on a slow roller off the bat of Wozny to give the Brook a commanding 6-2 lead entering the final inning.
Wozny reached his pitch count limit in the 6th and gave way to Dan Rueda. In need of a big rally, the Royals opened the inning with a single and a walk. Both runners moved into scoring position before a sacrifice fly plated the leadoff batter. As the volume in the Port Jeff dugout rose, David Choi snuffed out Port Jeff’s hopes, turning a brilliant double play by fielding a ground ball, stepping on second, and whipping the ball to Tim Wozny’s waiting glove to seal the victory.
The Bears return to the field today to finish Monday’s suspended game with Greenport before beginning their regularly scheduled second match-up with the Porters.