Needing one win in the final regular-season series against Port Washington to clinch third place and more importantly, a berth in the upcoming Nassau County Class AA baseball playoffs, Mepham (10-6-1 overall, 10-5 in Conference AA-II) made things easy by winning the first game, 3-0, last Saturday. Senior Jason Foley turned in another in a season-long string of dominating performances, twirling a four-hit shutout with nine strikeouts to earn the win.
“It was a big win because we [also] beat their No. 1 starter who is also a very good pitcher,” coach Bill Murphy said of his team, which dropped the second game of the series, 6-3, last Monday.
Foley’s numbers are as eye-popping as his fastball, and the senior continues to show that he gets stronger as the game progresses. He’s on a streak of three straight starts without allowing an earned run and owns a sparkling 5-0 mark with a 0.87 earned run average and 59 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched. He shut down Calhoun, the defending Long Island Champions on April 29, striking out 12 in an 8-0 win and spun a one-hitter in a 2-1 win over Valley Stream Central two starts prior, whiffing nine. His most impressive start, however, may have come in a 4-2 victory over the regular-season Conference AA-II champs, MacArthur, when he struck out the final batter of the game with the tying runs in scoring position in the seventh.
“He seems to enjoy the competition and understands what he’s capable of doing right now,” Murphy said, adding that his dominance has also had a carryover effect on the team. “It’s the idea that he’s going to go out and get a win, whether he [dominates] or grinds it out like he did against MacArthur.”
Junior Ben Hoffman has been one of the more consistent Pirates at the plate and helped spark the offense in Foley’s shutout over Port Washington, swiping a pair of bases and scoring a run. He also clubbed a home run among his two hits and drove in three runs to back Foley against the Colts. First baseman Dominick Bove has been rock solid as the No. 3 hitter, peppering the field with line drives
“He’s had a great year and worked himself right into the middle of the lineup,” Murphy said of Hoffman.
Likely a No. 9 seed entering the playoffs, Mepham could be staring at a first-round matchup against crosstown rival Kennedy this Saturday with the first pitch time still to be announced.
“This group is one of the closest and most fun to be around since I’ve been here at Mepham,” Murphy said.