Heading into its three-game series against League VIII leader Port Jefferson, the Pierson baseball team knew it was going to have to play its best baseball of the season to make a return to the Class C playoffs. With six games remaining—three against the Royals and three more against third-place Southold/Greenport—the Whalers needed wins in at least four of those last six to finish with an even record in league play, the requirement for making the playoffs.
In its series with the Royals, Pierson didn’t waste any time proving that it was ready to play with the league-leading team. In the opener in Port Jefferson on May 6, the Whalers were edged 6-5 in a close game but rebounded at home the following day, getting a 4-3 win in extra innings. The teams were scheduled to square off in the final game of the series in Port Jefferson on Monday, May 12, weather permitting.
In the second game, Pierson scored the winning run when Port Jeff’s pitcher balked in the bottom of the eighth inning, allowing sophomore Kyle McGowin—who was on third base—to come home. McGowin had reached base with a walk and stole third, putting him in position to score on the balk.
Pierson had only three hits in the game but made the most of them, scoring four runs. Pierson scored two runs in the third inning when Joe Mascali hit a two-run triple. Port Jefferson made an error in the sixth inning that allowed the Whalers to score the tying run.
In addition to scoring the winning run, McGowin also pitched his team to victory in a complete-game effort. He faced 34 batters in eight innings, striking out seven, walking two and allowing three runs—two earned—on six hits. He threw an efficient total of 105 pitches.
In the opening game, Pierson jumped out to a 4-0 lead, scoring two runs in the first inning off RBI singles by McGowin and Mike DePetris. The Whalers added two more runs in the second inning when Mascali hit a two-run double. Port Jeff countered with two runs in the second inning and three in the fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead. Pierson tied the score at 5-5 in the sixth inning a fielder’s choice on a ball hit by McGowin allowed Casey Crowley to score. Crowley had reached base with a leadoff single.
In the bottom of the seventh, DePetris—who had come on in relief of Mascali with two outs in the fourth inning—hit the first batter with a pitch and had a 2-0 count on the next batter before being pulled by coach Sean Crowley in favor of McGowin. McGowin walked that batter, allowed a base hit before a sacrifice fly by Ben Dellovin allowed Justin Battelli to score the game-winner.
Although his team did not come away with the win in the first game, Crowley said he was encouraged by its effort.
“It was definitely proof that we were able to play with them,” he said.
Pierson was scheduled to host Southold/Greenport on May 13 and was scheduled to travel to the North Fork the following day for a game. The Whalers will host the Clippers on Friday at 4 p.m. in the final game of the regular season.
Prior to the final game against Port Jeff, Mascali led the Whalers with a .453 batting average, followed by Crowley (.418) and McGowin (.411). Mascali also was the team’s leader in RBIs with 19, while Crowley has shown good patience at the plate, getting 22 walks to go with 23 hits this season.
Mascali is the team’s pitching leader with a 3-1 record and has 42 strikeouts in 39 and 2/3 innings. McGowin had 30 strikeouts in 37 innings.
The Old Timers Friends of Sag Harbor hardball game will take place at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor on Sunday, May 25, at 5 p.m. with a 4 p.m. warmup. Anyone who wishes to participate in the game is welcome. Those participating are asked to make a donation and all proceeds from the game will benefit the Robert Vishno, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund. For more information, contact Pierson baseball coach Sean Crowley at (631) 725-5301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.