Rotunno's complete game boosts E. Islip
The final line doesn't tell the story of how well Ken Rotunno pitched Wednesday. The East Islip righthander rolled through the Smithtown West lineup before giving up four runs in the seventh inning.
Rotunno was working with a six-run lead, but he went the distance for East Islip in a 6-4 home win over Smithtown West in Suffolk League III baseball.
Rotunno threw a five-hitter, walked one and struck out four. A sinking fastball and splitter led to 11 ground ball outs.
"The first six innings everything was working," Rotunno said. "The seventh inning I lost it a little bit. I can't let that happen. I have to get the final three outs."
Rotunno allowed just three baserunners through six scoreless innings. The defense was crisp, including a diving catch of a line drive by shortstop Paul Dondero and a diving stop and throw to first by second baseman James Reed.
Pete Hanabergh led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored on Bill Rombauts' groundout to give East Islip (7-1, 7-1) a 1-0 lead. Dave Palmer led off the second with a walk and scored on a fielder's choice and John Dondero scored on a grounder in the third to make it 3-0.
It remained that way until the sixth when the Redmen added three insurance runs. Nick Osburn hit a two-run homer and John Dondero (3-for-4) hit an RBI double before Smithtown West (7-4, 7-4) scored four in the seventh.
"Looking back, that was big," Dondero said. "We finally broke through with some big hits. We are a couple big hits away from showing what we're made of."
The record shows East Islip is one of the top teams in Suffolk Class AA, but the Redmen believe they have yet to play their best.
"We're coming along," East Islip coach Sal Ciampi Jr. said. "We have a chance to be a real good team this year. Despite our record, we haven't put it all together. We've been fortunate enough to win games. We still have improving to do."
"We still make some mistakes and can't get runners in from third with less than two outs," he said. "But even with that we're playing great. We're hoping to fix those problems and go far in the playoffs."