The Pierson softball team (League VIII) has earned the respect of the top teams in both Leagues VII and VIII by proving that it can keep pace with them and give them a run for their money. What the Lady Whalers have failed to prove, however, is that they can beat those elite teams. After another close loss to a quality opponent, they’re finding it harder to take solace in moral victories.
Pierson was downed 4-2 at home by Mount Sinai on April 16, marking the third time this season that the Lady Whalers have come up short by two runs or less against a strong opponent. Pierson suffered a 4-2 loss to undefeated powerhouse Hampton Bays and was also downed 6-5 by Class C rival Port Jefferson. Although Port Jeff is the only team of the three that the Lady Whalers could potentially face in the postseason, Pierson head coach Jill Stellato says she is awaiting the day when her team can prevail in a tight game.
“It makes it tougher to swallow because by this point, we’ve played three good games and haven’t finished them off,” Stellato said when asked if it was comforting that her team has been playing competitively against the top teams. “I told the kids that they’ve given me a glimpse of how great they can be. I know they can do it; they just have to take it to that next level and turn the corner in our season.”
Errors, timely hitting late in the game by Mount Sinai and a questionable call all combined to turn what was a 2-0 lead for Pierson into a 4-2 loss. Meghan Pintauro drove in both of Pierson’s runs with a triple in the first inning, bringing Sam Federico and Laura Stafford across the plate. The Lady Mustangs cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third inning, scoring on an error. The tying run scored in the sixth inning when a runner who was advancing from second to third collided with Pierson shortstop Mireille Sturmann, impeding her ability to make a play. The umpires did not rule interference, stating that the ball was out of Sturmann’s range, a call that Stellato said she wholeheartedly disagreed with. Another error followed that play, allowing Mount Sinai to score the winning run.
Stafford had a good pitching performance in the loss, striking out six batters while allowing just one walk and one earned run.
The Lady Whalers took on League V powerhouse and last year’s Class A state finalist East Hampton at home on Saturday in a non-league game, falling 8-0. Pierson’s Alicia Tagliasacchi had the only hit of the game, a bunt single in the sixth inning that broke up a perfect game for Lady Bonacker ace Jessie Stavola. The hit also kept Stavola from recording what would have been her third-straight no-hitter of the year and fifth of the season.
Slap-hitting sophomore Natalie Abbene put the ball in play in all three of her at-bats against Stavola but couldn’t get on base. She hit a ball hard up the middle on one occasion, but Stavola made a great fielding play to get the out at first.
The Lady Whalers were plagued by errors again, giving up six unearned runs.
Stafford had another good pitching effort, striking out seven batters and allowing just one walk.
“She’s been really working on fine-tuning her pitching skills,” Stellato said of the senior. “She’s been very sharp.”
Pierson will visit Bayport/Blue Point (League VII) today at 10 a.m. and will host Elwood/John Glenn tomorrow at 4 p.m.