The rain came down hard at Aviator Field Wednesday night. Grey-laden skies portended an ominous sign of things to come, and the question quickly became: will the game go nine innings?
The answer: no…but not because of rain. The light grey skies grew darker, and the issue turned to the darkness of the field.
The two umpires, Mike Bitetto and Tom Major, converged to the right of the mound after the eighth to decide whether to continue. They figured with three outs to go they may as well give it a shot.
Westhampton right-hander Nathaniel Rhodes was on the mound ready to close it out for the Aviators. The score was 9-7 and the left fielder Mike Sciorra was walking into the box. The first pitch from Rhodes caught Sciorra on the left wrist. The Osprey dropped his bat and held his wrist in the left-hander batter’s box wincing in pain. As he began to trot down the first base line, Bitetto signaled that the game was over.
A fitting end to what was otherwise a circus of a day. The match up featured two all-star pitchers in TJ Harmon and Stephen Hansen going head-to-head.
North Fork’s Chris Adams pulled the first pitch of the game over the left-center field fence to break the ice. Three more runs came home in the top of the first with the Ospreys tattooing Harmon with a four spot.
That 4-0 lead went away quickly. The Aviators plated four in the home second tying things up at four.
After Harmon left the bases loaded in the top of the third Chaney Dodge cracked a solo shot to dead center to give the Aviators a 5-4 advantage.
But in this game, leads meant nothing. Parker Bates walked with one out in the top of the fourth and Luke Stampfl ripped a two-run jack to put the Ospreys on top 6-5.
In the bottom of the fifth, Dodge scored for the Aviators on a Matt Hansen sacrifice fly to tie the game at six.
After walking with one out in the top of the seventh Peter Matt came around to score on a Mike Sciorra double to give the Ospreys a 7-6 lead.
But Brandon Alberto could not keep his team on top. Three more runs scored, proving to be the difference in the ballgame.
On a day where it seemed every player was swinging a hot bat, one player stood out among the rest. Chaney Dodge, the Westhampton Aviator, went 5-for-5 with four singles and a solo home run, scoring three times.