The Hills West Baseball team is just the latest of the school teams to make a playoff appearance. After obtaining a 13-10 regular season record, however, the team was unable to make it past the third round of the Suffolk AA Playoffs. Their season came to an end after a defeat against No. 6 ranked Ward Melville.
This 2016 season started off with a lot of adversity. Fourteen seniors graduated and ⅔ of the starting rotation went along with them. This new team had limited varsity experience, and not a lot was expected from them. But this team persevered and had big wins against No. 2 ranked West Islip. By then this team was a force to be reckoned with.
Playoff baseball games come down to two things: how well a team pitches, and how well they hit. These two games were no different.
Hills West played a do or die game against Sachem North. A win would continue their playoff run, a loss would send them home. The pressure was on Colts pitcher James Madden to step up and deliver an outstanding game. He came in clutch throwing a whopping six strikeouts, and allowing just two walks. This pitching allowed Hills West to establish a lead and keep it, the final score being 4-2. Matt Barone was a large contributor, hitting 2-4, including a run scored. When asked about how the team was able to get this win he responded “We were able to get runners in scoring position and executed three squeeze plays.”
The game against Ward Melville had an alternate outcome, and at the expense: the 2016 Colts’ season. Coming off a tightly contested game that resulted in an extra inning victory for Ward Melville just 2 days prior, Hills West was eagerly awaiting the rematch. But Ward Melville came out swinging, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, and didn’t look back. Hills West was able to cut the lead to 3-2 in the third, but one of Ward Melville’s star pitchers Troy Davern was too much to handle for the Colts, retiring 13 consecutive batters in the final 3 innings, recording 5 strikeouts along the way. The Colts season had come to a close. James Madden had this to say “The season had a rocky start but we grew as a team and really played our best baseball in the playoffs, we have a lot to be proud of”.
Although over earlier than what was expected, the Colts season was not even close to a failure. They were able to finish 3 games above .500, with 12 conference wins and a first round playoff victory. The team is excited for next season, as returning juniors Bradley Camarda, who had eight wins this season, Matt DiBella, Matt Barone and TJ Anatra will help to continue the winning efforts. This season may be over, but the team’s success is only beginning, as the Colts look forward to a promising 2017.