Head coach Dan Sullivan recalled Mike Garrett with 5:42 left in Mattituck High’s 2-0 win over Southold in the Brookhaven Township Summer Football League on Monday night Contest.
That’s not to say Garrett didn’t play well.
“You have to catch up in about an hour,” Sullivan said. “I’ll give you some rest.”
You read that right. Garrett, along with goalie Jack Gold and linebacker Sean Murphy, did double duty in a unique double-duty game that night. A one-hour football game kicks off at 5:45 pm at Center Moriches HS, followed by an 8 pm baseball game in Eastport.
“It’s been fun going straight from one game to the next,” Garrett said.
When Chicago Cubs Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks famously uttered his line, “It’s a good day for a ball game…let’s play two!” A few years ago, he probably didn’t have a foursome this year Summer’s achievements.
“I love it,” Murphy said. “Win or lose, I play with my friends, especially the little ones. It’s nice to see some young kids learn.”
High school athletes are known to compete in fall, winter and spring sports. Some of them, like Trevor Zappulla, a recent Mattituck graduate, won Suffolk County championships this spring with their lacrosse and track teams.
But it’s rare to play two team sports hours apart.
Sullivan is the head coach of both the school and summer league teams, which makes it easier for him to coordinate things. There are always challenges.
Given that some players have jobs and family vacations, Sullivan realizes it can be a challenge to get a baseball team together at times. Last year he decided to send a team to summer league. Football leagues have existed for years.
“I feel like kids have to keep playing like football,” he said. “I was lucky. I had some help and guidance from my parents [baseball] The same goes for games, so I don’t have to go to all the baseball games. Because football season is coming up, I try to make it my top priority. “
One of the challenges is making sure there are enough players for each match. When the Tuckers were in a scoreless tie with Morris Center on June 19, Sullivan had to pull Gold off the field goal so he could help fill out the baseball lineup in a nearby game.
“Sometimes it’s difficult when we have to leave one game early to play another,” he said. “My favorite thing to do is play sports with all my friends, so that’s what I do. I do four sports if I can. It’s a lot of fun.”
When Garrett was unavailable for baseball games, Murphy, who usually plays third baseman, was asked to catch the ball.
“It’s been a lot of fun since I haven’t fished in years,” he said. “It feels energizing to be able to enjoy going from one place to another.”
Playing two sports can mean a long day, especially if you have a summer job.
“I go to work and then in the morning,” said Murphy, who works as a dock worker for a local company. “Sometimes I still leave work early, and then I play football and usually baseball. I work in the sun all day. A lot.”
Garrett added: “I’m tired when I get home, but this will be my last season. I’m about to enter my senior year. I’ll try to take every opportunity I can to play.”
After the summer playoffs, the Mattituck football team begins training on August 21 and faces rivals Morris Center on August 28 in the non-league season opener.
“I can’t wait,” Gold said.
Erick Morales scored twice as the Tuckers beat North Fork opponents 2-0 in football on Monday. In the next baseball game, Mattituck lost 12-7 to the Pat-Med Raiders. Gold hit two runs, Murphy pitched two innings, and Garrett grabbed the game.
“We were very successful on the football field against our North Fork neighbors,” Sullivan said. “We’re missing a few guys, but I’m proud of the old ‘veterans’ who stepped up and I’m proud of the young guys who are eager to get out and learn about the college game.
“On the baseball field, we fought against a strong team. We missed a couple of returning varsity players due to work or engagements with other traveling teams, but we fought anyway. We did have a rough summer, but The players are working hard and many are playing positions they’ve never played before. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get a game-like experience day in and day out against some very talented players. “