The last time Stony Brook’s baseball team strode off the field at Hackley was on April 11, 1970 with an 11-3 win in hand. Yesterday afternoon, the Bears renewed hostilities with their old Ivy League rival in the first round of the NYSAIS state tournament, coming away with a 6-1 victory over the eighth-seeded Hornets to move on to Saturday’s quarterfinals.
The ninth-seeded Bears came up to bat in the top of the 1st where leadoff hitter Seamus Scanlon set the tone for the afternoon by grinding out a nine-pitch at bat for a walk after falling behind in the count, 0-2. It was the first of 12 full counts that the Bears worked in the game as they forced Hackley’s hurlers to labor through tough at bats all afternoon. In the bottom of the 1st, T. J. Wachter took the mound and worked around a one-out walk with a pair of strikeouts to move the game to the 2nd, tied at 0-0.
The Bears went quietly in the top of the 2nd, but Wachter opened the bottom by hitting a batter with his first pitch, stirring up the Hornets’ bench. After a steal and an error, Hackley had a runner on third with one out, but a pair of strikeouts ended the threat.
The Bears broke through in the 3rd thanks to what proved to be a costly error for the hosts. With two outs, Joe Wozny hit an infield pop up that should have signaled the end of the inning, however, the first and second basemen collided, allowing the ball to fall and the inning to be extended. That brought Wachter to the plate who already had a pair of home runs and a double in his last two postseason games. Coach Dustin Mones gave him the take sign for the first pitch to allow Wozny a chance at stealing second, but the hanging curve that followed overruled the coach’s directive and Wachter belted the pitch deep to left field and out for his fourth home run of the season. The slugger then pitched a dominant bottom half, needing just 11 pitches for a pop out and a pair of strikeouts as the Bears took a 2-0 lead into the 4th.
In the 4th, the Bears’ patience and grit at the plate paid big dividends as they broke the game open with a four-run frame. Tyler Smith led off the inning by smoking a double over the right fielder that one-hopped the wall. Aidan Mega and Jack Derco followed with full count walks to load the bases before Scanlon drew a walk to force home a run. 3-0 Bears. Wozny came up in a big spot and delivered on the first pitch, driving a ball over the head of the left fielder to clear the bases, unleash bedlam in the away dugout, and give the Brook a commanding 6-0 lead. In the bottom, Wachter used just 10 pitches to get past the 3-4-5 hitters then, in the 5th, Scanlon made a beautiful leaping stab at a liner to preserve Wachter’s no-hitter through five innings.
The Hornets threatened again the 6th with a leadoff single and a one-out walk. Wachter responded by inducing a pop up and was one strike away from getting out of the inning, but line drive pushed a run across as Hackley moved within 6-1. Wachter struck out the next better to quash the rally.
The game moved to the bottom of the 7th with the Bears still holding a 6-1 edge. An error put the leadoff batter on second that stirred hopes of a miracle comeback, but Wachter slammed the door with back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout to cap the first state tournament win in program history.
Wachter finished with a two-hitter, allowing 1 earned run over 7.0 innings while striking out 11. He added a hit, a walk, and 2 RBIs at the plate. Wozny’s 3 RBIs led the team while Scanlon was a tough out all day with 3 walks and an RBI.
The Bears move on to face #1 seed Poly Prep on Saturday @ 11:00am at Poly Prep.
- The Bears are now 10-10 all-time vs. Hackley dating back to 1948 (records are missing from 1965).
- This is the first NYSAIS win for a PSAA baseball team since 2014 when Berkeley Carroll beat Dalton, 3-0.
- The only other time Stony Brook met Hackley in the playoffs, the Brookers came away with a 2-0 win in Tarrytown on May 24, 1957.
- Wachter’s four home runs is tied for first among Long Island private school players and tied for sixth overall on LI.