On an intermittently beautiful and chilly Saturday morning, 25 total runs kicked up the dirt on Jeff Adams Field. In a game of crooked innings, the Bears produced enough offense to emerge victorious in a 16-9 win over Wrath Baseball, Millennium High School’s travel program.
The Bears were slow to wake up for the 11:00am start time as Wrath loaded the bases with no outs on a single, a walk, and a hit by pitch. The next five outcomes at the plate yielded runs for the opponent thanks to a walk, an infield single, a groundout to first, a sacrifice bunt, and a double. A groundout to first mercifully ended the inning with the Bears trailing, 0-5. There were plenty of pursed lips on the Stony Brook side, especially once Wrath’s tall, wiry starter dug in and started sizzling upper 80s fastballs. But the Bears began the process of chipping away in their half of the 1st as Lee-Anthony Santiago and Justin Porrino reached base after being hit by pitches and Jojo Franco took first on a walk with no outs. A pair of strikeouts followed, but Logan Charboneau, in his first at bat of the season, drew a walk to plate the Bears’ first run to close within 1-5.
Tim Wozny took over pitching duties in the 2nd and looked sharp, registering a full count strikeout to the first batter, striking the second batter out looking, and working around a two-out walk with another strikeout to infuse the Bears with some confidence. The Brook tacked on another run in the bottom, despite strikeouts from the first two batters. Santiago walked and moved to third on a pair of passed balls. Sam Ribeiro DiCanio followed with a walk, but the fourth ball was also a wild pitch, sending Santiago dashing home with the Bears’ second run. Franco and Tyler Smith drew walks to load the bases, but the Bears couldn’t take advantage and remained down, 2-5, heading to the 3rd.
An infield single and a pair of one-out walks loaded the bases for Wrath as they went back to pressuring the Bear defense. Aaron Babaev came on in relief and induced a flyout to center, which plated a run, before ringing up a strikeout, after falling behind in the count 3-0, to limit further damage. The Bear offense finally awoke in their half of the 3rd as they lit up the scoreboard with their own five-run inning to grab a 7-6 lead that they would not relinquish. The Bears led off with a groundout, but Wozny began the rally with a double down the left field line. He moved to third on a passed ball and then came home on a bloop single by Jayden Stroman. 3-6. Stephen Cisz followed with double down the right field line that plated a hustling Stroman. 4-6. A strikeout threatened to stem the tide, but Ribeiro DiCanio sent a bloop to almost the exact same dead zone that Stroman found to pull the Brook within 5-6. Franco then sent a ball over the right fielder’s head to knot the score before Smith skied a fly ball to right that fell to the earth for an E9 and a 7-6 lead.
Babaev threw up a zero in the 4th when he buckled the knees of the leadoff hitter for a strikeout, then worked around an error and a walk to induce a deep fly out to Ben Monforth in left before Stroman leapt to snag a lineout at second to end the inning. The Bears continued to tack on runs in the bottom half after Charboneau reached on an infield single and Stroman and Cisz walked. Santiago put a ball on the ground, but his hustle down the line forced a rushed throw to first which skipped past the baseman to yield a pair of runs. 9-6.
The Bears gave back two runs in the 5th on a walk, an error, a single and an error, and a passed ball, but still led 9-8 after the dust cleared. Franco led off the Bear half with his second double, but Wrath retired the rest of the side in order as the game moved to the 6th.
Santiago took over pitching duties in the 6th and closed out the game with four masterful innings. The inning began with a single, but Santiago picked off the runner for the first out. A walk followed, but Santiago started a 1-4-3 double play to slam the door on the inning. The Bears followed by taking back control of the game. Wozny led off with a walk before Cisz used his speed to dig out a one-out infield single. The sophomore promptly stole second and Chris Diesso followed with a stinger to left field to bring in both runs. 11-8. Santiago and Ribeiro DiCanio both walked to load the bases and Franco continued his impressive day with a two-run single to left. 13-8. Smith then turned in a great at bat, earning a walk after falling behind 0-2, and Babaev kept the line moving with a two-run single to right. 15-8.
In the 7th, Santiago turned in one of the cleanest innings you’ll ever see, using just five pitches to induce three groundouts, including two back to himself, to dominate the side. Wrath came back by striking out the side in the bottom half, then threatened in the top of the 8th when a double and a single put two on with nobody out. Another groundout back to the mound and a strikeout nearly got the Bears out of trouble, but an infield single plated a run to pull Wrath within 9-15. A backwards K by Santiago ended the threat. In the bottom half the Bears notched their final run when Santiago walked, stole second and third, and scored on an E4 off the bat of Franco. Then Santiago emphatically closed out the Bear victory with a pair of strikeouts and a lineout to right to retire the side in order. For his four outstanding innings and busy day on the base paths, Santiago earned the day’s game ball.
The Bears are back in action on Tuesday afternoon at home in a rubber match vs. Ward Melville.