For most of Thursday’s baseball game, Mattituck High School accomplished what not many teams have done this season. The Turks made the undefeated Babylon sweat.

After all, it’s not every day that someone who hasn’t pitched much this year knocks out the best team in Division IX and B in the Suffolk County League in the fifth.

Even after the Panthers took a five-point lead in a 5-2 win over Babylon over the final two innings, the Tuckers still felt good about themselves.

Mattituck (12-6, 6-6) scored in his first two starts against right-hander Daniel Madsen (a county best 9-0 in 48 innings this season). Madsen had seven strikeouts, zero walks and five hits.

“We showed a lot, man,” said veteran right-hander Mike Moody, who pitched a full game in his second start of the season. “I wish we had one today. But I think we did put in a big effort and showed that we could get a single and two runs in the seventh inning with two outs.”

Added right fielder Brendan Barkley, who drove on both runs: “We could have stolen one here, we really could.”

After Wednesday’s 13-6 home loss to Babylon (18-0, 13-0), the Turks needed a game like that.

“Definitely helps the confidence of the team, especially going into Saturday against them,” said shortstop Dylan Spooner, who hit one of the hits. “For the boys to see Madsen and know that we can put the ball on the ball and we can play close games with these guys.”

Typically a center fielder, Moody shrugged off trouble in the opening four innings, holding six runners in trouble, including a first inning with the bases loaded. He gave up six hits, struck out and walked four times.

Head coach Dan O’Sullivan was ecstatic about the team’s performance.

“Pride, nothing but pride,” O’Sullivan said, noting his decision to pitch Mody on Thursday so he could use top starter Andrew Berman in Saturday’s 10 a.m. senior day game of the regular-season finale against Babylon

“We want to make sure we have the best possible candidates,” O’Sullivan added. “[Mowdy] Let’s stay in the game and he’s earned himself a playoff berth if need be, which is great. “

Babylon made the break on an RBI three-pointer by John Hudgens and an infield hit from a run-and-score by Mattingly Goldstein. The Panthers added another three in the sixth, scoring on a turnover, a double from Cristino Tufano and a sacrifice fly by Hudgens to make it 5-0.

The game ended in unusual fashion. With two outs in the seventh, Barkley brought designated hitter James Reedy and shortstop Ben Vogel to the field with a right-handed hit. However, Barkley was ruled out while trying to turn the hit into a double.

“My coach told me to stop, but then I saw the pitch and I was just late,” Barkley said. “When I saw it coming home, my instinct was to run for second.”

O’Sullivan took responsibility.

“I would never blame him,” he said. “I preach aggression to these guys all the time. Most of the time it works. A few times we got kicked out, but they trusted me. It’s on me. If something bad happens, it’s my fault.”

Regardless of what happens Saturday, Mattituck will face Maurice Center (10-7, 6-7) in a best-of-three semifinal. The first game is scheduled for Tuesday 16th May, the next game will be held on Thursday 18th May, and if required, the third game will be held on Friday 19th May (all games at 4pm) . A higher seed will host each match. The winner will meet Babylon in a three-match series for the Class B Championship the week of May 22.

“We probably won’t know the seed alignment until Saturday night,” O’Sullivan said. “There’s a good chance it will end in a split. We’re both playing against each other. If it comes down to common opponents, they can go one or two ways, but we’re ready for it.”

Despite the failure, the Tuckers are optimistic.

“I’m really excited about the playoffs,” Moody said. “I really think we can make a run. I don’t know if people expect us to, but we have a good team. It’s going to click in the playoffs. I just can’t wait.”

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