The Pierson baseball team was on cruise control, seemingly en route to a second straight perfect season for a League IX champion. Last year it was Southold that made it through the league schedule unbeaten, but at 12-0 all signs were pointing to this being the year for the Whalers.
But then came a bump in the road, with Mercy winning two straight games over the Whalers, who at 13-2 still own a comfortable lead in the league standings. The Monarchs, who are in second at 9-5, followed their 9-4 win on Thursday, April 26, with a 2-1 victory highlighted by a pitching gem from Joe Marti, who earned the win after going eight innings while allowing just one run on three hits. Andrew Smith came on with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to earn the save.
“The other day was just a good baseball game,” Pierson coach Jonathan Schwartz said about the 2-1 loss. “Both pitchers and defenses did a really solid job. If we’re going to do well in the playoffs, we need to be able to react well and make plays in pressure situations, so it’s good to be in those kind of games for sure.”
Pierson bounced back at home on Monday with a 6-4 win over visiting Stony Brook. The Whalers tagged Stony Brook starter David Choi with four first-inning runs, as Sam Warne, Tom Brooks, Tyler LaBorne and Cooper Schiavoni all came around to score. LaBorne scored again the third inning, and E.J. Burke scored a run in the bottom of the sixth.
Warne was the starting pitcher and picked up his sixth win of the season, which leads Suffolk County. The team led 6-1 going into the seventh and final inning, but a number of poor defensive plays led to three runs scored off Schiavoni in relief. It could have been worse, but a passed ball was scooped up by Brooks, the team’s starting catcher, and his quick toss to Schiavoni was successful as he tagged out Aidan Mega at home plate to prevent another run from scoring. Schiavoni snagged the final out of the game on a routine pop fly.
“We need to do a better job working together as a team,” Schwartz said, addressing the defensive mishaps that occurred in the final inning on Monday. “They all know what to do, they’re all talented and very capable. We’ll clean it up and come back ready.”
Pierson was scheduled to play at Stony Brook on Wednesday after press time and will close out the three-game series back home on Thursday, May 3, at 4:30 p.m. The regular season will end with a three-game set against Port Jefferson starting on Tuesday, May 8, at Port Jefferson at 4:30 p.m.
The Suffolk County Class C playoffs are tentatively scheduled to begin on Monday, May 21.