The Southampton baseball team had a promising start to its 2015 campaign, taking two of three in its opening series with Center Moriches, expected to be a playoff contender in Class B. But the Mariners did not experience the same success in their following series with another talented Class B opponent, getting swept by rival Mattituck in a three-game set last week.
The Mariners were downed, 6-2, in both the first and last games at Mattituck, which sandwiched an 11-1 home loss on April 8.
The losses dropped Southampton to 2-4 in League VIII, while the Tuckers—the favorite to win the county title—improved to 6-0. As of Tuesday morning, they sat atop the league standings with Babylon (6-0). Center Moriches sat in third with a 4-2 mark, followed by Southampton, and then Hampton Bays and Mercy, both winless at 0-6.
In the series opener at Mattituck on April 7, the Mariners were in a tight battle with the Tuckers until the final inning, when James Nish hit a two-run homer to break a 2-2 tie in the sixth. Southampton starting pitcher Garrett Pike kept his team in the game for the most part, but Mattituck’s Joe Tardif was sharp as well and got the win, with 11 strikeouts in six innings. Garrett Pike had a double and two RBIs in the first inning for Southampton, but his team managed only two more hits—off the bats of Nick Knoebel and Nick Petty—for the remainder of the game.
The following day at home, the Mariners had no answers for a potent Tucker offense and also struggled to produce at the plate, a bad combination that led to the lopsided loss.
“Everything that could go wrong did,” head coach Scott Johnson said. “That will happen with a young team.” He added that Nick Marano’s pitching performance in relief (one run in three innings) was a bright spot. Aidan Roughan was 1 for 3 with an RBI.
Nish got the win, and while he wasn’t dominant, with only four strikeouts and two walks, the Mariners simply could not make their way around the bases. Nick Knoebel took the loss for the Mariners.
Three days later, Nish was once again a thorn in Southampton’s side as he led his team to the final win. He had a two-run homer in the third inning, where Mattituck scored five of its six runs on the day. The Mariners struck out only five times, but once again could not find production at the plate. Aidan Roughan took the pitching loss. All of Mattituck’s runs were unearned, according to Johnson. Marano and Garrett Pike both had two hits on the day, while both Petty and Kevin Dexter were 1 for 3 with an RBI.
“We swung the bats better we just have to tighten up our defense,” Johnson said. “Aidan Roughan pitched well enough to win. He got stronger as the game proceeded. We just have to get his back in the field.”
Southampton was set to face Hampton Bays in a three-game set this week and will take on Mercy the following week, and will seek to climb back above .500 and back into the upper echelon of the league. The Mariners were set to host the Baymen on April 14, travel to Hampton Bays for the second game on April 15, and finish the series in Southampton on April 17, with all games starting at 4 p.m. They will visit Mercy on April 21, host the Monarchs the following day, and finish the series at Mercy on April 24. Those games will start at 4:30 p.m.