In a north vs. south battle for Class C bragging rights last week, the Southold baseball team (10-2) came out on top, taking two of three games from Pierson (8-4) to take sole possession of first in League IX.
The series, which is likely a preview of the Suffolk County Class C Championship, showcased two strong teams in three hotly contested games, and if those contests were any indication, the fight for the county crown should be a good one. The Settlers and Whalers will square off once more, on May 11 in Sag Harbor, in the second-to-last game of the regular season. Stony Brook (1-11) and Greenport (3-9), the only other ‘C’ teams in the county, will need to make a strong run at the end of the season if they want to be part of the playoff discussion.
While they lost the series, the Whalers did manage to hand Southold its first loss of the season. After losing the first game, 4-3, in extra innings on April 21 on the North Fork, Pierson emerged with a 6-4 victory at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor the following day. Back in Southold on Thursday, the Settlers won the rubber game, 6-3.
In Sag Harbor on Wednesday, the Whalers got started early with three runs in the first inning, but Southold tied it up with three runs in the top of the third. Pierson went ahead 4-3 with a run in the bottom of the inning for a lead it would not relinquish. Pierson scored two more in the bottom of the fourth, and Southold added a run in the top of the sixth, but it was as close as it would get.
The Whalers had nine hits on the day and overcame four fielding errors. Southold had five hits and made two errors. Luke Denis and Jack Fitzpatrick had two hits for Pierson. Theo Gray went 5 and 2/3 innings to get the win, and Ryan Chisholm struck out four batters in relief for the Whalers.
Pierson head coach Jon Tortorella said the parity within the league this year has been good for his team, and he’s excited to see what the rest of the season holds for his team, which is intent on defending its Suffolk and Long Island titles, and would love to make what would be a third straight trip to the state tournament.
“This league is wide open and there is not much seperation between the teams,” he said. “Every game has been close. We just have to keep getting better and compete every day. It’s a long season and things can change quickly. We have a tough series this week against Port Jeff and then we’ll see every team one more time. We look foward to seeing how we handle these next few weeks and seeing what we’re made of.”
The Whalers were scheduled to host Port Jeff (7-5) on April 27, visit the Royals on April 29, and close the three-game set in Sag Harbor on April 30, with all games starting at 4:30 p.m. After that, the Whalers will take on each team in the league once more, starting with a home game against Smithtown Christian (7-5) at 4:30 p.m. on May 4.