HUNTINGTON STATION, New York, April 23
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Facing a 4-3 deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning of a rubber game with League III-rival Copiague (1-9), Walt Whitman’s Ryan McAllister stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter with Wildcats on first and second.
With a hometown crowd out in support and a team of Wildcats cheering him on in the Friday night showdown, McAllister ripped a double into the gap and Whitman (2-7) walked off with their second win of the season, 5-4.
“I try to fit him into situations when I can because I know he has a good bat,” Head Coach Steve Greco said of McAllister.
Greco said the Wildcats stormed the field as they celebrated the win, which marked the team’s first series win of 2015 as it took two of three games from the Eagles of Copiague.
“Realistically we were one bad inning away from sweeping the series, but we knew it was just a matter of time before we got the hit we needed,” Greco said.
The series’ first game resulted in a 3-1 victory for Whitman on April 14 as Josh Gerson, a junior, was dominant on the mound for the Wildcats; he struck out six and did not allow an earned run.
On April 15, however, the Wildcats suffered a setback, Greco said, as Whitman allowed the Eagles to capitalize in the sixth inning and break a 4-4 tie that eventually led them to an 8-4 victory.
Along with McAllister, the final win came thanks to pitchers Jared Restmeyer and Julian Kleberg who were able to limit Copiague’s opportunities with a combined nine strikeouts. Kleberg, a senior, recorded his first win of the season and Sean McEntee and Josh Shapiro, a pair of senior captains, were both 2-for-4 at the plate in the win.
“When you get off to a bad start, sometimes it’s a struggle to try and push through it,” Greco said. “But we’ve been talking a lot recently about rising up through your problems and changing them; the guys really bought into that last week.”
Whitman continued League III play after press time on Wednesday as it started a three-game series with Smithtown West (6-3). The Wildcats will once again be in action today, Thursday, with the second game in that series scheduled for 4 p.m. at Smithtown West High School.
The Wildcats will follow up the Smithtown West series with a series against Smithtown East (8-1) beginning on April 28. Greco said Whitman, a team young in age and experience, may try to model itself in the same way Smithtown has.
“Historically they both have very strong programs, but we usually play close games with them,” Greco said. “Smithtown West is a team that has been young, but now a lot of those guys are juniors and seniors. They have the experience that hopefully we’ll have in the coming years.”
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander
(Thursday, April 23, 2015; A38)