Follow baseball in the Hudson Valley on Twitter: @MSGVarsityKDJ
RYE, N.Y. — Even though he was pitching at home, Andrew Waite never felt comfortable on the mound. The Rye Country Day right-hander slipped on almost every pitch, even falling a few times in the fifth inning, as the rain-soaked dirt reeked havoc on his most important start of the season.
“The mound was really sloppy,” said Waite, a junior. “I was slipping all over the place out there.”
But if there was one comfort for Waite on Monday, it was his ability to grind through it all and lead the Wildcats to a playoff victory.
Waite allowed just two runs on one hit over six innings as second-seeded Rye Country Day knocked off No. 7 Greens Farms 8-2 in a Fairchester Athletic Association quarterfinal.
The 6-foot-3 Waite struck out six — all after the start of the third inning when the RCDS coaches fixed the rain-soaked mound — and allowed only a fourth-inning infield single.
Peter Shu had two hits, including a two-run double in the third, as RCDS booked a semifinal matchup at home against No. 3 Brunswick on Wednesday.
“Shu has been an animal out there,” Waite said. “He had a walkoff in our last game. He drove in a couple of runs, playing a great first base. He’s been doing everything for us.”
Shu ended the regular season in dramatic fashion for the Wildcats, delivering an game-winning hit against King.
“I was really pumped after that game,” said Shu, a junior first baseman. “I carried it into the next game and I’m getting more hits.”
While the top of the RCDS lineup has carried the offense all season, it was the second half of the order that did almost all the damage on Monday. The No. 5-9 hitters, including Shu, accounted for all five hits and seven of the eight RBI.
Luke Cappellano, Matt Crowley and Andrew Starker all had RBI singles in the sixth as the Wildcats broke the game open with a four-run rally. Cappallano and Ryan Carroll drove in runs on sacrifice-fly’s in the second.
“It means a lot,” Waite said. “The top of the order has been carrying us all season. So some other guys had to step up today and they did a good job.”
Rye Country Day will need a clutch pitching performance on Wednesday as sophomore Tyler Fernandez takes the mound. Fernandez beat Brunswick 1-0 in the first meeting on March 31 while Waite won the second 2-0 a month later.
“Coming into the playoffs as the two seed, we feel like we should get into the championship and hopefully win it,” Waite said.
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at email@example.com