Perfect start for North Shore


The North Shore baseball team has faced tough moments in the early stages of 2024. But the Vikings will always have March 25 - opening day. 

It was the debut as head coach for Rob Gates after nine years as an assistant to the now-departed Scott Lineman. And the opener could’ve have gone more perfectly. 

 His son, Garret, pitched a perfect game – the first one in at least 15 years for the Sea Cliff/Glen Head school. The final was 2-0 over Herricks as lefty Garret Gates stuck out 20 batters. The only ball put in play came in the opening inning – a grounder to first.

 The former North Shore High quarterback threw 88 pitches – 66 for strikes.

 “Throwing a perfect game was an exciting way to start off the year for sure and get our first win of the season,’’ Garret Gates said. “It definitely felt good after focusing on command during the winter and have a dominant outing.’’

  For the season, Gates is 3-1 with a 0.85 ERA, sticking out 54 batters in 24.2 innings.

“His command has been so much improved,’’ the father Gates agreed. “He worked at what he needed to do for the college level. He’s a hard-throwing left plus he’s throwing the breaking ball whenever he wants so they have no shot.’’

Gates committed to NJIT but first he’s trying to get the Vikings back on track. After the season opener, things haven’t gone as perfectly. But they may be in the right direction as the Vikings’ record improved to  4-5 (2-4 in Conference A2) after beating Cold Spring Harbor, 11-1, Friday, April 19th.

 “We’re struggling a little defensively,’ Gates said. “We had two key injuries right before the season that have hurt us defensively.  

 One of those players, junior shortstop Ryan Lau should return this week. He was an All-Conference player as a sophomore and should solidify the infield. Senior infielder Trevor Miller has done an adequate job filling in at shortstop but moreso at the plate with a sweet on-base percentage 

Their best defender and hitter has been senior catcher Matt Ryan, hitting .333. Opponents have attempted just one steal on the 6-3, 215-pounder committed to Adelphi.

“He’s built like a college player,’’ Gates said. “He’s got tremendous defensive skill behind the plate with arm strength and blocking. He’s a quiet, confident leader on the field. He’s the big bat in our lineup. Teams aren’t even attempting to steal bases against us.’’

Batting behind Ryan in the order is senior outfielder Justin Rosen, off to a sizzling start, batting .476 and team leader in RBI. The Ryan-Rosen tandem makes for a dangerous 3-4 sequence.

Seniors Raymond Scalzo and Vito Troia are hitting over .300. But the biggest surprise is freshman first baseman Brady Ayres, hitting .308. The lefty also has made one pitching start, against Island Trees.

“We weren’t certain in the winter he’d make varsity as a ninth-grader,’’ Gates said. “He showed how badly he wanted it. Now he is making us look smart.’’

The new coaching staff also consists of assistant Kraig Binick, a former Orioles minor-leaguer, and JV coach PJ Keil. The JV is 9-0. “We're in a little hole right now but the future is bright with that JV team,’’ Gates said.