By Jesse Rosenthal
The Whalers need to win. Making for an exciting end of the season, the Whalers need to win every game left on their schedule in order to make the playoffs. There are four games left. Provided they perform as they have in their last two outings, the Whalers will be making a playoff appearance. The boys posted 5-4 and 8-1 wins against Smithtown Christian in the first two games of the series.
The Whalers won two straight against Southold last week and then lost 4-3 in Southold to finish the series. So, the pressure has been on since Friday and Coach Tortorella and his Whalers have proved twice over that they are able to handle the heat.
Hot bats. Quick feet. Solid pitching. Smart defense. Clutch plays. Big hearts. Pierson has displayed all of these qualities over the last two games against Smithtown Christian.
Tuesday’s nailbiter in Smithtown came down to an all-star play made by Jeff Schimmer. With one out in the bottom of the seventh and both runners in scoring position Schimmer came up with a diving catch to save the lead.
Kyle McGowin, the winning pitcher, also went two-for-three with a double, a triple, and RBI and three runs scored. Jake Weingartner got himself two RBIs with a double and a sacrifice fly.
Yesterday, after a batter ducked into a perfect strike and was given first base with one out in the top of the first, pitcher Brandon Kruel and the Whalers found themselves with auspicious beginnings as the next batter hit one hard back to the mound. Kruel made the catch and got the runner coming back to first to end the inning.
After Smithtown Christian’s pitcher walked the first three batters, Kruel helped himself to some run support as a ground ball to the shortstop scored Tyler Gilbride and Kyle McGowin.
Following three-up-three-down in the top of the second, the Whalers were ready to capitalize. Gavin Kudlak walked and then advanced to third on a throwing error at first. A single off the bat of right fielder Mark Mahoney drove in Kudlak making it 3-0 after two.
Heads up defense in the top of the third held the lead. With two on, catcher Tyler Gilbride found himself scrambling behind the plate for a wild pitch and making a rocket throw to third base which George Hoglund handled beautifully to get the out. Hoglund played solid defense at third all day.
The bottom of the third saw three more runs cross the plate on hits from Brandon Kruel, George Hoglund and Tyler McGowin.
Another three-up-three-down in the top of four gave way to another fortuitous bottom half for the Whalers. After a walk and a stolen base, Tyler McGowin was able to score on a double into left field from Dane Riva. After stealing second, Riva tried for third. An error at third base saw Riva sprinting for home, infield dust trailing behind him the whole way.
After an uneventful fifth where the only highlight was Smithtown scoring one run and quelling Pierson’s hopes for a shutout, Kruel struck out two and got the last out on a pop fly back to the mound. In the bottom half, Jake Weingartner hit a line drive back to the mound that knocked the pitcher on his back.
Smithtown was unable to produce anything in the top of seven and The Whalers earned themselves a must-win 8-1 victory at home.
Upcoming is the series closer in Smithtown followed by a three game series against McGann-Mercy to close out the season. Anything less than a sweep from the Whalers will end any hopes for the playoffs.