The Mattituck baseball team trekked nearly 100 miles Saturday to Mamaroneck High School with dreams of one more road trip together -- to Binghamton for the state final four next weekend -- dancing in their heads.
A day after punching its ticket to the regional final, the Tuckers fell one step short of the state tournament, losing 3-0, to Rye Neck in the Class B Southeast regional final.
Mattituck had its chances early and late but was unable to scratch across a run against Rye Neck's Angelo Spedafino. The Tuckers loaded the bases in the first inning and got the tying run to the plate in the seventh but Spedafino and reliever Chris Pennell were up to the challenge. Pennell entered with one out in the seventh and struck out the final two batters.
"We probably had runners on base in every inning but couldn't get things going," coach Steve DeCaro said. "We just couldn't get anything across because they made the pitches."
Brian Pelan led off the seventh with a single, moved to second on a ground ball and to third on a wild pitch before Tyler Webb drew a walk. That's when Pennell came in to put out the fire.
It was a step in the right direction for the Tuckers, who fell in the county championship last year. But DeCaro said the team was still disappointed.
"We had a couple of guys back from the 2011 team that made it to the Southeast regional final and it meant a lot to us to get back there," he said. "Our goal all along was to get to the states. We got there but we wanted to get a little further up state. At the same time, we had a great year and it's going to take a couple of days to sink in how great of a year it was."