Friday’s game between the rival Pierson and Southold baseball teams was supposed to be a barometer to see where the two programs lie: if the First Settlers would be a real challenge to the Whalers for a league title this season.
Initial returns indicate that it’s Pierson’s league to lose.
The Whalers scored seven runs through the first two innings of Friday’s game at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor and coasted to a 12-1 victory. And while Saturday’s game in Southold wasn’t as easy, with Pierson needing to score three runs in the top of the sixth to come back, it still resulted in another victory, 9-6.
Pierson is 7-0 as of Tuesday morning and firing on all cylinders.
“I was proud of the intensity early. Everyone’s always up for a Southold game, but we just came out on fire,” Pierson head coach Jonathan Schwartz said after Friday’s victory. “Better defensively. We’re a little more focused. It’s very easy to lose your focus when you play some teams of a little lesser quality.”
Schwartz was referencing his team’s lopsided victories over both Greenport and Shelter Island leading up to Friday’s game against Southold. Because they were facing such programs, Schwartz opted not to use his number one starting pitcher Daniel Labrozzi in those games, meaning the last time he had taken the mound prior to Friday was nearly two weeks ago in the season opener, in which he shut out Hampton Bays, 1-0.
Despite the layoff, Labrozzi was on his game once again, allowing just two hits and a couple of walks while striking out 10. Labrozzi got himself into some trouble in the third inning, where he allowed his first hit of the game with one out, then walked the next two batters to load the bases. But he got the next batter to hit a dribbler in front of the plate that catcher Tucker Schiavoni jumped on and got the force out at home, then Labrozzi got the final out of the inning on a ground ball to shortstop, that Christian Pantina made easily, ending the bases-loaded threat.
Pantina had driven in the game’s first two runs in the first inning on a bloop single to right field, then, in the following inning, Schiavoni cleared the bases on a double down the third base line to make it 5-0. Charles Schaefer then lined a single to center field later in the inning to make it 7-0, which was more than enough for Labrozzi, who said he felt good coming into the game.
“I feel like we played good,” he said, after the game. “We hit good. I just tried to pitch as good as I could. The curveball was working well. Outfield did well, helped with a lot of the pop flies that they hit. Really helped me out.”
Pierson still has half of its season left to play as it began the back end of its schedule on Tuesday in Hampton Bays. All signs point to league and county titles for Pierson, with a possible Long Island Championship game in the future as well, but Schwartz wants his team to stay as humble as it possibly can going forward.
“I keep telling them, you’re never as bad as you think you are, but you’re never as good as you think you are either, so just to stay level-headed,” he said. “We’re going to get challenged, we’re going to have an off day, and that’s just going to check to see where we’re at. Hopefully, we can persevere and go one at a time and keep this thing going, because we’re feeling good right now, ultra confident. It’s a good feeling.”