Center Moriches baseball celebrates success


Center Moriches varsity baseball has endured a plethora of success in the past decade, emboldened by their expert coaching staff and the aptitude of their varsity lettermen.

311 Frowein Road is the residence of the Center Moriches Red Devils, members of Suffolk County League VII, who since the middle of last decade have been a consistent mainstay of invigorating seasons every spring. In 2016, The Red Devils won the Suffolk County Championship, followed by falling in the Long Island Championship to Wheatly. Two years later, a two-year reign began.

In 2018, Center Moriches was crowned state champions with an immaculate record of 23-4. In the state title game and trailing Seton 7-3, Center Moriches poured it on effectuating 7 runs in the 6th inning, encompassing the victory.

The Red Devils defeated the Seton Saints 10-7 to capture the New York State Class B Championship. 2019 was a masterpiece season, as not only did it conclude in a back-to-back state championship, but Center Moriches was immortalized in perfection, vanquishing every opponent they faced, going 26-0 with the season concluding with an 11-1 win against Schuylerville for their second New York State Class B Championship in as many seasons.

Head coach Dennis Donavan led the team to victory in the three championship seasons. The current head coach is Paul Gibson III, son of the former pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, and New York Yankees. Gibson has a young, talented staff likely to succeed soon due to his ballplayers’ virtuosity and athletic finesse on the diamond.

Three seniors who next year will take their talents to the collegiate baseball level are Louie Iannacchino, centerfielder, committed to SUNY Plattsburgh; third-baseman Jack Rupe, committed to Dominican College; and shortstop/pitcher Leyton Pulsipher, Central Connecticut State commit. Leyton is the son of former Mets pitcher Bill Pulsipher, who played 19 seasons of professional baseball. Some of these young men have potential for a brilliant future at Center Moriches High, such as eighth-graders Max Rayburn and Luke Reybor. Max plays first base, and Luke, a corner outfielder, starts every day in rightfield. Three adroit and polished freshmen are Christian Meadows, Joe Hiller, and catcher Brayden Hromada. Hiller is a pitcher and second baseman while Meadows catches and plays the outfield.

Two first-rate sophomores are leftfielder Gavin Derosa and first-baseman Andrew Foster. Some impressive wins for the Red Devils during the 2022 season consisted of winning the season opener at home against Babylon, 3-2, on April 4, followed by overpowering and shutting out the Southampton Mariners on the road, 11-0, on April 11, and a day later annihilating Southampton again, 11-1, at home, followed by a third win in as many days dismantling the Mariners, 15-4, to post another road victory.

In an away game on Monday, April 25, the Red Devils contradicted their name as they fulfilled a heavenly miracle against Mattituck. The Mattituck Tuckers had a commanding 7-0 lead as Center Moriches slowly chipped away. On the precipice of defeat, trailing 7-3 with two men away in the sixth inning (they play seven innings in varsity), Center Moriches erupted with 7 runs, concluding the surreal comeback by a 10-7 score. Two days later, Center Moriches baseball executed another road victory again scoring double digit runs winning 14-8 at Mattituck.

On May 2, the big bats showed their poise again and conducted another win as Center Moriches narrowly tiptoed past Shoreham Wading River 10-9, adding another win in the column. On May 9, The Red Devils jousted the Elwood John Glenn Knights, grappling them in a tight skirmish and outshining their division rivals 8-6, putting a dent in the Knights’ armor. Joe Hiller twirled six impressive innings on the hill and Riley Morris was ascribed the save in an 8-6 win after sending down the final three batters of the ballgame in the home half of the seventh. Center Moriches put a bow on the final game of the regular season, prevailing over Elwood John Glenn 13-9, scoring seven runs in the second inning and tallying five in the third. The Red Devils posted a 9-10 record and earned a trip to the Suffolk County Class B Playoffs. In the postseason opener on May 18, they took a tough 1-0 loss to Mattituck, but implemented that loss two days later by shutting out Babylon 9-0 at Babylon. The victory advanced Center Moriches to the Suffolk County Class B Championship in a best of three series. Two adversaries who duked it out all year met for all the marbles: Mattituck Tuckers versus Center Moriches Red Devils. The Red Devils dominated in an 8-0 shutout, inching closer to a trophy. One more win was needed, and the Suffolk title would be theirs. And on Tuesday, May 24, the Red Devils lived up to the famous saying, “Good pitching beats good hitting.” Riley Morris, Jake Rupe, and Leyton Pulsipher combined for a team no-hitter, crowning Center Moriches as Suffolk County Champions! Center Moriches beat Mattituck 2-1 completing, a two-game sweep in the county finals. Morris went five innings, striking out three batters earning the win; Rupe pitched the sixth inning with one strikeout; and Pulsipher closed it out in the seventh, credited with the save. Leyton sent the Tuckers down 1-2-3 in the home half of the seventh, concluding the game and Suffolk title with a strikeout, commencing a jubilant frenzy. The team rejoiced on the pitching mound, all smiles emanating, their repletion basking in the gratification in all the hard work this spring that culminated in a championship. Center Moriches will play Wheatley on June 2 for the Long Island Championship.


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