Cooper Schiavoni knows his time is now. Gone are Tyler LaBorne and Sam Warne, who held down the top of the pitching rotation for the Pierson/Bridgehampton baseball team in recent years. Since they both graduated, this year’s team belongs to Schiavoni, who will fill the roles of starting shortstop and ace pitcher for his senior season at Pierson.
And so it was on Monday as Schiavoni got his team off to a strong start, pitching six innings in a 9-1 opening-day victory over Southold that was more of a pitcher’s duel than the score might indicate. Southold starter Brendan Duffy, who is just a freshman, held Pierson scoreless through the first three innings. But after the Settlers scored a run in the top of the fourth inning, the Whalers responded with five runs in the bottom of the fourth to knock Duffy from the game. Pierson added four more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and Matt Hall closed out the game for Pierson with a pair of strikeouts in the seventh.
Pierce Summers led Pierson at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a two RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Christian Pantina, an eighth-grader who started his first varsity game at second base, picked up two hits as well as the Whalers benefited from production across their entire lineup.
Pierson and Southold, longtime Suffolk County Class C baseball rivals, originally weren’t even supposed to play each other during the regular season. Last year both the Whalers and Settlers competed in League IX, but since then Greenport dropped its varsity team, Mercy High School closed its doors, Stony Brook decided to compete against other private schools and Port Jefferson moved up to Class B. Pierson and Southold are the last of the Class C schools, so meeting in the regular season was too important to pass up.
So coaches Jonathan Schwartz of Pierson and Greg Tulley of Southold agreed to schedule a pair of “non-league” games against each other to start the season, the first of which was on Monday. Pierson will travel to Southold for the second game this Friday, March 29, at 4:30 p.m.
Now competing in a revamped League VIII with mostly Class B schools, the Whalers will play their first three-game series of the season against defending state champion Center Moriches starting on Monday, April 1, at Center Moriches at 4:30 p.m. The second game of the series will be played at Mashashimuet Park on Tuesday, also at 4:30 p.m.
Lady Whalers To Play Home Opener
The Pierson/Bridgehampton/Shelter Island softball team played at Babylon on Wednesday after press time and will host Hampton Bays on Friday, March 29, at Mashashimuet Park at 4 p.m., before going back on the road for games at Hampton Bays on April 2 and at Port Jefferson on April 3.