Dominance seems to be too gentle of a word to describe what the Pierson baseball team did last week in a three-game sweep of Greenport.
The Whalers improved to 13-1 in League IX with the three wins over Greenport (5-9), beating the Porters by a total of 37-1 over the trio of games. Pierson outhit Greenport, 40-11, in the series and also made just four errors over the course of the games—compared to 10 by the Porters.
Pierson head coach Jon Tortorella has high expectations for this team this year, which is seeking to defend its county and Long Island Class C titles, and even in wins by wide margins, has pointed out areas where his squad could improve. But even he had to admit that his team looked pretty sharp last week.
“We played well this series,” he said. “All aspects of our game were solid.”
Pierson began the series with another shutdown performance by lefty ace Colman Vila, who struck out 13 batters in five innings of work in a 16-0 rout on April 22. Pierson scattered its runs across the game, with its highest total coming in the sixth inning with six runs.
Jack Fitzpatrick led Pierson with three hits and a walk, including a triple. Tim Markowski also had three hits with three RBIs and a double. Aaron Schiavoni walked three times and had two RBIs. Kyle Sturmann had a double and two RBIs, while Max Yardley also had two RBIs.
Pierson got another strong pitching performance in the second game, a 9-0 home win on April 24. Jake Bennett started and pitched four innings, allowing no runs. He got run support early, as his teammates scored seven runs in the first inning. Vila had three hits, including two doubles, while Forrest Loesch had two hits and a double. Nick Kruel had two hits, two RBIs and a double, and Joe Faraguna walked twice and had two RBIs.
In the final game, Loesch got the win, striking out five in four innings. Kruel came on in relief and struck out two in two innings. Greenport scored its only run of the game, and the series, in the first inning.
Schiavoni led Pierson with three hits, a walk and a double. Loesch had two hits, five RBIs, a triple and two stolen bases, and Markowski had two hits, two RBIs and a double.
Tortorella was happy with every aspect of the game.
“Our pitchers did a good job and definitely took another step forward toward improving their game,” he said. “Colman was hard to hit once again, Jake had his best stuff and command of the season, and Forrest really did a great job using his secondary pitches to keep hitters off balance. Nick Kruel also had a great week out of the bullpen, threw strikes and trusted his defense to make plays, which it did.”
Tortorella pointed out that it wasn’t just pitching that kept Greenport off the scoreboard for most of the series.
“We did a good job on defense all week,” he said. “Aaron was a vocal leader behind the plate, and Tim Markowski and Johnny Chisholm gave us some solid innings back there as well. Forrest has been so solid at short all year and continued that early in the series. Kyle has made some big plays for us at second and James Sherry made a bunch of plays for us at short in game three.”
One area where Tortorella has said he wants to see his team improve is at the plate, and his players delivered on that request in the Greenport series.
“We were better at the plate this week,” he said. “We wanted to improve our at-bats with two strikes and we were more productive this week, although there is still plenty of room for improvement. There were some better at-bats and you see some of the guys making improvements in their swings. We just need to swing at better pitches early in the count and get back to driving the ball like we should be.”
With the exception of a hard-fought series with Smithtown Christian, the only team to beat the Whalers this season, Pierson has largely dominated its league foes. When asked if the lopsided scores had Tortorella worried that his team might lose focus, he said he wasn’t.
“We’re not really concerned with how the scores of these games are playing out,” he said. “We know what the ultimate goal is for us and the importance of playing this game the right way. We have to keep taking positive steps forward and get better every pitch. We know that and that’s what keeps us focused.”
Pierson was scheduled to begin a series with Shelter Island on Monday. For results, see this week’s Monday Roundup article.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Thursday, 5/2, at Shelter Island, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 5/3, vs. Shelter Island, 4:30 p.m.; Monday, 5/6, at Stony Brook, 4:30 p.m.