Part of the charm of the Mets’ trade deadline week acquisition of Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays was Stroman’s return to his roots. The erstwhile Blue Jays ace grew up on Long Island and suddenly finds himself playing baseball in Queens, not far from his Patchogue-Medford (N.Y.) High School stomping grounds.
Well, Stroman isn’t the only Mets pitcher now starring near his hometown. Fellow Mets starter Steven Matz is also a longtime Long Island native Mets hurler. And, as fate would have it, the two were onetime travel teammates and high school rivals on the Island.
Most critically, the two combined for, “what is widely regarded as one of the best games in the history of Long Island high school baseball,” per Newsday, a 1-0 Ward-Melville (N.Y.) victory against Stroman’s Patchogue-Medford squad.
Apparently the victory wasn’t determined until the seventh (final) inning, and it took a third strike in the dirt — which in turn necessitated a throw to first base — to earn it. The loss hardly put a damper on Stroman’s performance, as chronicled by Newsday:
Stroman struck out 14 and allowed three hits. Matz struck out 12 and allowed one hit. Each threw a complete game, and both coaches said there was no way either pitcher wouldn’t have returned to the mound if the game had gone to extra innings.
Per the Long Island daily, both coaches look back at the dueling aces face off as a career high-water mark. Twenty-six combined strikeouts, to just four hits. An MLB scout from all 30 teams. Eventually, a league title for Ward-Melville.
It was all in a wild day at the ballpark for two pitchers who can now compare notes in the same dugout again.
“We tried the best we could to make it a normal routine,” Patchogue-Medford coach Tony Frascogna told Newsday. “It was fun to take in and I tried to look at it and realize this probably won’t happen again.”