Southampton baseball head coach Ike Birdsall has had the luxury this year of knowing that on any given day, anyone on his team is capable of having a breakout performance. But if any single player has been a model of consistency for the Mariners, it’s been Wyatt Schmidt.
The senior has been getting it done day in and day out, both at the plate and on the mound, and his talent was on display in a three-game sweep of League VIII rival Hampton Bays last week that moved first-place Southampton to 11-1 on the season. The last-place Baymen fell to 0-9 in League VIII, 1-10 overall.
Southampton started the series with a 12-0 win at Hampton Bays on April 16. Schmidt got the win in a complete game effort, allowing just one hit and one walk with nine strikeouts, and he also hit a homerun. He got plenty of run support from his teammates, most notably Alex Soyars, who was 3 for 3 with two doubles, an RBI, two stolen bases, three runs and three walks. Kevin Edgar was 2 for 2 with a walk, an RBI, a stolen base and three runs; Garrett Pike was 1 for 3 with two RBIs and a stolen base; Henry Egan was 2 for 3 with an RBI, a walk and a run; and Thomas Beckman was 2 for 4 with two doubles, an RBI, and two runs.
Birdsall said he expected a lot from Schmidt this year, and that he couldn’t be happier with what he has provided for the team in all aspects of the game. Schmidt was limited as a pitcher in his sophomore and junior years because of nagging tendonitis issues with his arm, but he started to get on a roll at the end of last season, and has become a bona fide ace this year.
“He’s a dominant force on the mound,” Birdsall said. “He’s throwing strikes, he’s pinpointing his locations, and he’s really doing a fantastic job.”
Schmidt has been a force on offense as well as the team’s leadoff hitter.
“We’ve got a very solid team, so everyone else sort of can pick and choose when they will have a great game,” Birdsall said. “We’ve really become like a battalion; someone else is able to pick the other guy up if he’s not having a great day. But Wyatt has been that steady ship just cruising along.”
The Mariners officially clinched a return to the Class B playoffs with their 8-3 home win on April 17 in the second game of the series. It was a nice change of scene for Birdsall from last year, when his team waited until the final game of the regular season to clinch a playoff spot. This time around, the Mariners got it done with seven games left in the regular season. Southampton had a 4-2 lead going into the sixth inning, but got some breathing room with four runs in the sixth. Schmidt was 3 for 4 with a double, three stolen bases, an RBI and three runs, while Soyars was 3 for 4 with two RBIs, four stolen bases, and a run. Thomas Beckman was 2 for 3 with an RBI, a stolen base and a run, and Pike was 1 for 2 with two RBIs and a stolen base.
David Kirshy got the win for Southampton, going four and a third innings, giving up one earned run, four hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Eddie McLaughlin pitched two innings and gave up one unearned run with no hits and two strikeouts, and Beckman pitched the final two thirds innings, striking out one without giving up a hit or walk.
Southampton wrapped up the sweep with a 9-1 win in Hampton Bays on Friday. The Mariners took a 3-0 lead in the third inning when Schmidt hit a three-run homer. Southampton added three more runs in the fourth and three in the fifth. Hampton Bays scored its only run in the seventh inning.
Schmidt was 3 for 4 with six RBIs, and two runs; Edgar was 2 for 3 with a double and was hit by a pitch; Jake Marano was 2 for 2 with a double, two walks and three runs; Kevin Dexter was 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI and two runs; and Egan was 2 for 3 with a run.
Pike got the win, going five innings while giving up three hits and four walks, hitting two batters and striking out six. Egan pitched the last two innings, striking out three without giving up a hit.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 4/23, vs. Mercy, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 4/24, at Mercy, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 4/26, vs. Mercy, 4:30 p.m.; Monday, 4/29, at Mattituck, 4:30 p.m.