Mules varsity baseball officially wrapped up their season on Wednesday, but for all competitive purposes, it really ended the previous evening around 7 p.m.
On that fateful night Malverne High School suffered an 8-6 loss to the Wheatley Wildcats, a conference opponent, and had their playoff dreams dashed.
It was the second of a three game series against Wheatley that they would have had to sweep in order to extend the season. After winning the first match-up, 7-6, they ultimately lost the next with a final bruising, 12-4 rout.
In the early innings of Game 2 on Tuesday, Malverne showed an edge, as though
they would carry the previous day’s success through at least one more and force
the Wildcats into a do-or-die scenario with them. They let Wheatley go through
only seven batters with two hits in the first two, ending both with double plays on line drives with tag outs, first by starting pitcher Rancher Rodriguez #4, then third
baseman Dave Williamson #10.
On offense, center fielder Scott Subino #3, who led off the game with a walk, scored to give the Mules the initial lead 1-0, after #18 Jordan Richard (left field) singled with a ground ball that made it through to right.
The Wildcats were able to finagle that lead from the Mules, however, with two unearned runs in the third, from a balk and a throwing error on a routine ground ball.
During the following inning, the Mules seemed to regain control, putting the first two batters out, and then cut it short when Subino threw a man
out from center field who was trying to stretch a single into a double.
Wheatley came back though and piled on six more runs suddenly in the fifth through various means - hits, errors, walks, and a fielder’s choice - that put Malverne on the ropes.
“We had one bad inning,” Mules Coach Young summarized after the game. “We
just didn’t play well defensively. That’s what killed us.”
Down 8-2, the Mules staggered a bit in their half of the fifth, but pulled together a rally in the sixth when Wheatley brought in a reliever. It was almost enough to overtake their opponents, but with the bases loaded, two
outs, and only two runs behind, short stop Jose Rodriguez, who had three hits,
was caught stealing home on a passed ball.
Malverne’s relief pitcher, Dominic Gandolfo #13 held the Wildcats off for the last two innings to keep his team within reach, but to no avail. With their final at bat, the Mules went one-two-three to end the game and, effectively, the season.
“We just didn’t get the clutch hit that we needed in the end to score enough runs,” Young said. “It’s been our season. We’ve had a lot of tight games all season. It’s just a matter of getting that clutch hit or getting the ball to bounce the right way.
Game 2 Box ScoreRuns Hits Malverne 6 8 Wheatley 8 8