The hits were few and far between in the first round playoff matchup between Rocky Point and Kings Park Wednesday afternoon as Rocky Point had ace Joe DeFrank on the mound and Kings Park countered with all-league pitcher Joe Guercio.
Both pitchers went the distance for their teams but it was Kings Park who came up with two big hits en route to a 4-0 victory at Craig Biggio Field.
Nick Venier lined a fastball over the right field wall in the first inning for a two run home run and Henry Baker hit a two run double into the right-center field gap in the top of the sixth for all of the games' scoring.
“(Venier) was sitting on a 3-2 fastball and that’s my fault,” Rocky Point head coach Andrew Aschettino said. “That was my call right there and he sat on it, it’s on me. Live and learn. Credit the kid who hit it. You can be sitting on one pitch but you still have to hit it, and he did.”
Both pitchers shut down the opposing lineup through the middle innings until Baker’s double in the sixth. DeFrank had gotten the first two Kingsmen batters out before Venier popped up a pitch just to the right of the pitcher’s mound. Three Eagles converged, but none of them caught the ball. Joe Auliano followed with an infield single and Baker’s line drive double put the game all but out of reach for Rocky Point.
Guercio made no mistakes through his seven innings, giving up only four hits and striking out five. The Eagles put the leadoff man on base in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings but could not score any runs.
“We had runners in scoring position twice, we had a runner on third with one out,” Aschettino said. “All year long we try to preach to put the ball in play with a runner on third and less than two outs and we had two strikeouts looking. You can’t win baseball games doing that stuff.”
DeFrank gave up only five hits and struck out three over his six innings to keep Rocky Point in the game but it was not enough against Guercio.
“Guercio pitched great, he threw strikes, got ahead of guys, mixed in his curveball, hit his spots and had the defense behind him,” Kings Park head coach Mike Luzim said.
Rocky Point slides over to the loser’s bracket and will play on Friday. Kings Park moves on to play Sayville in the semi-finals of the winner bracket on Friday.
For Luzim and the Kingsmen it’s just more of the same.
“I told the guys back a while ago that we had to win six out of seven games (to make the playoffs), so basically the last seven games were all playoff games,” Luzim said. “It helped us a little bit, we still came to play and still did our jobs but we have no pressure now, we’ve been used to it for the last seven games."