By Gavin Menu and Michael Heller; photography by Michael Heller
James Sherry’s impressive pitching performance and the Pierson/Bridgehampton baseball team’s 4-1 victory over Southold at Mashashimuet Park on Tuesday turned out to be the high point of the season for the Whalers, who bowed out of the postseason with a 14-4 loss in the final game of the Suffolk County Class C Championship series against the Settlers on Thursday.
Southold is the top-ranked Class C team in New York State and claimed its third straight Suffolk title with the win on Thursday. The Settlers now will face the Class C champion from Nassau County in a regional semifinal on Thursday, June 1, at SUNY–Old Westbury. Southold, which boasts three ace pitchers and talent from top-to-bottom in its lineup, is hoping this journey ends upstate in Binghamton, the site of the New York State final four.
“They’re Class C Champions, and I think they’ll go upstate and do very well,” Pierson head coach Sean Crowley said after Thursday’s loss.
Southold’s route to the state championship hit a roadblock on Tuesday when the Whalers rode Sherry’s pitching performance to deal the Settlers their first loss of the season and force a third game in the series. Pierson also jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Thursday at Southold, but with Sherry unavailable to pitch, and with junior Sam Warne having started game one, the Whalers went to junior Tyler LaBorne, who had a rocky outing before being replaced by Cooper Schiavoni in the bottom of the second inning.
Southold exploded for nine runs in the third inning as the Whalers defense collapsed behind Schiavoni. Meanwhile, Southold starter Dylan Clausen settled in after being tagged for four early runs and threw 102 pitches over six innings, before senior Patrick McFarland closed things out with a quick seventh inning.
“Our defense didn’t back up our pitchers, and our pitchers didn’t throw accurately, so all of the credit goes to Southold,” Crowley said.
Pierson, meanwhile, will graduate a strong senior class that includes Sherry and Angelo Toscano, who each suffered injuries during the season that cost them multiple games. Matt Burke, Sean Sloane, Aidan Crowley, Charlie Pintado and Bridgehampton senior Raymond Maldonado are also expected to graduate next month.
“It was a good run,” Toscano said about his senior season, which ended with a 17-6 record. “We were able to pull it out to get to game three, and I’m happy with my boys — we played hard, we worked for it.”
Sherry, who missed the first 10 games of the season with a left shoulder injury, spoke afterward about how important the game of baseball has been during his high school career.
“It was rough, missing 10 games to start off the season, and I’m going to have to tip my hat to the whole team, especially Sam Warne, for picking up the slack — he really stepped up,” Sherry said.
“I just put everything out there and tried as hard as I could,” he added. “And that’s what got me to the point where I was today. Just through hard work and determination, and setting goals for yourself, you become a winner.”