Long Island’s traditional week of spring weather ended today as feel temperatures soared near 90 degrees, but the baseball team remained the hottest thing on Jeff Adams Field as they topped Long Island Lutheran, 10-0, in the NYSAIS Tournament Quarterfinals.
Since April 25, the Bears have compiled a record of 9-1 with their only loss coming against Phillips Academy Andover, the top-ranked team in New England. Over those 10 games the Bears averaged 9.1 runs while allowing a scant 2.2 runs per game as a youthful but immensely talented group continues to find its stride at the right time.
This afternoon was a triumphant playoff return for the Bears who lost in the NYSAIS quarterfinals in 2019, the last year the tournament was held, followed by a two-year COVID-19 hiatus. This time around, in the first home state tournament game in team history, the Bears made the most of their opportunity and became just the sixth team in Stony Brook Athletics history to earn a berth in the State Final Four.
Jojo Franco took the ball for the Brook and needed just nine pitches to sit down LuHi in order, sandwiching a pair of strikeouts around a fly out to right. In the bottom half, LuHi recorded two quick outs before the Bears staged a rally that began when a pesky Tyler Jones used his speed to register an infield single before stealing second and third. Following a Logan Charboneau walk, Aaron Babaev’s high pop found the grass in the Bermuda Triangle between left, center, and shortstop to plate the Bears’ first run.
In the top of the 2nd, Franco yielded a leadoff double, but a heads up play on a fielder’s choice by Jayden Stroman erased the runner bound for third for a big momentum play. A fly out and a walk followed before Franco ended the inning with a strikeout. The Blue & White threatened in the 2nd, but headed to the 3rd still clinging to a 1-0 lead. In the 3rd, Franco bent but refused to break as he walked three batters, threw a wild pitch, and overthrew second base on a pick-off attempt, and yet did not yield a run as the Bears’ ace struck out three in the inning to keep the Brook in the lead.
The Bear offense finally gained some breathing room in the bottom of the 3rd as they rang up four more runs coming with two outs. Charboneau walked and stole second between a pair of strikeouts before Seth Laureano doubled the lead with a two-bagger into right center. 2-0. A wild pitch sent Laureano to third before Franco helped his cause with a single to left field that put the Brook up 3-0. A pair of walks to Sam Ribeiro DiCanio and Alex Baaden loaded the bases and forced LuHi’s starter from the game before Stroman welcomed the new hurler with an infield single that, coupled with a throwing error from the shortstop, brought home two more runs and a 5-0 lead.
Franco again worked in and out of trouble in the 4th when he walked two with one out before Baaden tracked down a tough fly out in center and Jones made a slick play on a grounder to third to end the inning. The Bears tacked on another run in the bottom half when Charboneau sent a line drive to left, stole second, and came home on a Babaev single. 6-0.
Jacob Lippe came on in relief in the 5th and the freshman showed tremendous poise as he shook off a leadoff double with a 1-3 ground out and a strikeout. Two walks followed to load the bases, but the Bears got out of the inning when Devon McMorris gunned down a baserunner following a wild pitch to end the threat. In the bottom half, the Bears lit up another crooked number on the scoreboard to trigger the 10-run mercy rule. Baaden reached on an E4, Stroman was hit by a pitch, and Sebastian Perez walked before Jones was hit by a pitch to force in a run.7-0. A Charboneau sacrifice fly and a Laureano walk followed for two more runs before Jones emphatically sent the Bears into the state semifinals by stealing home and ending the game.
Franco earned the win with four gutsy innings, yielding just 1 hit while ringing up 7 strikeouts. Laureano and Stroman each had 2 RBIs and Jones and Charboneau each had 2 runs on a day when contributions came from everyone on the field.
The Bears now move on to Monday’s semifinal vs. #3 Fieldston at 3:30pm on Jeff Adams Field.
Stony Brook State Final 4 Teams
|2022||Baseball||vs. Long Island Lutheran|
|2017||Boys Basketball||vs. Millbrook|
|2009||Girls Soccer||vs. S. S. Seward|
|2009||Girls Basketball||vs. Tuxedo|
|2008||Girls Soccer||vs. North Salem|
|1998||Boys Soccer||vs. S. S. Seward|