The baseball team got off to a quick start against undefeated Smithtown West Monday morning but by the time the game was over, its youth and inexperience had shone through.
The Thunderbirds dropped the first of a three game set against the Bulls by a final of 11-1.
The game started off well for the Thunderbirds after their first two batters of the game, Chris Corso and Mike Parziale, reached base on bunt singles off Smithtown’s Anthony Gatto.
Gatto, a highly regarded pitcher, was making his first start of the season and the Thunderbirds used small ball to catch the Bulls off guard early. Like most of the game though, they weren’t able to capitalize and went scoreless after two pop ups and a caught stealing.
“We have a young team,” Hills East coach Tim Belz said. “We didn’t come through when we wanted to come through and they capitalized on every mistake we made in the field or on the mound.”
The Thunderbirds were able to get on the board and put more pressure on in the second inning. Mike Ceperano homered to lead off the inning and sophomores Stephen Woods and Jon Eisdorfer put together back-to-back two out hits to put a runner in scoring position. But Gatto was able to escape after getting Corso to ground out to second base.
Smithtown West jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second inning after James English delivered a three-run homer with two outs.
“We hit throughout the lineup and it just shows today,” Smithtown coach Al Nucci said. “The top of the lineup for the first two innings didn’t do anything and then the number eight hitter (English) is up. Most teams number eight hitter can’t hit the ball 400 feet. Ours did.”
In the third, Smithtown struck for two runs on only one hit. Ricky Alessi was hit by a pitch and Gatto drew a walk. After getting two outs in the inning, Eisdorfer gave up a groundball to Tyler Reinig that snuck through the infield and brought in two runs. Eisdorfer was able to get through four innings, giving up eight runs, six of which were earned, while surrendering five hits, walking three batters and hitting two more.
“I believe it was a 3-1 baseball game that went a little more than we expected,” Belz said.
Sal Corso relieved Eisdorfer and pitched a scoreless fifth before allowing the final three runs in the seventh. The loss drops the Thunderbirds to 2-5 overall as well as in league play. They continue the series with Smithtown Wednesday morning at home.
“Hopefully we’ll just step up and hit when we’re supposed to hit and make the plays when we’re supposed to make the plays,” Belz said. “We’re a really good team. I really believe in this team. I hope they step up.”