In a one-game wild card anything can happen, and just about everything did Wednesday night on Shelter Island, where the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League held its first-ever wild card playoff game with the winner advancing to the traditional four-team postseason format.
The Sag Harbor Whalers, who entered the playoffs as the fifth seed behind Shelter Island, Westhampton, Long Island and Riverhead, posted a comeback for the ages as they erased a six-run deficit to escape with an unlikely 12-10 victory.
The Whalers advanced and will face Riverhead in a three-game series starting Thursday, July 26, at Sgt. Jonathan Keller Field in Calverton at 4 p.m. Game 2 will be back in Mashashimuet Park on Friday, also at 4 p.m., with Game 3 back in Calverton on Saturday, if necessary.
On Wednesday, Sag Harbor took an early first-inning lead off a solo home run by Nick Thornquist (UT-San Antonio), but the Bucks bounced right back with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Shelter Island stretched its lead to 6-1 in the third inning, and 8-2 in the fourth.
Connor Anderson (Texas State) drove in three runs in the top of the seventh inning and Kros Bay (Crowley County CC) followed with an RBI double and a run scored to tie the game, 9-9. Joe Suozzi (Boston College), who led off the seventh with a single, came up again and this time smashed the first pitch to deep center field to give the Whalers a 12-9 lead they would never relinquish.
It was the first postseason win for the Whalers since their first season in 2008, when they competed as members of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League.