By Gavin Menu; photography by Michael Heller
Pierson junior Johnny Chisholm drew a first-inning walk, stole second base and came home to score the only run of the game Friday afternoon at Dowling College, where the Pierson-Bridgehampton baseball team knocked off Friends Academy, 1-0, in a New York State Southeast Regional Semifinal, which doubled as the Long Island Championship.
Forrest Loesch will start for the Whalers at Dowlilng on Saturday against either Chester (Section IX) or Haldane (Section I) in the Regional Final that begins at 5 p.m. The winner will advance to the state final four in Binghamton next Saturday, June 14.
Senior starter Nick Kruel pitched seven strong innings on Friday and allowed five hits and two walks to pick up the first win of the postseason, which began nearly a month after the regular season had ended. Senior captain Aaron Schiavoni picked up the only RBI of the afternoon, hitting a deep sacrifice fly in the first that scored Chisholm.
Friends starter Matt Feinstein also went the distance on Friday, but had the dubious honor of tossing a rare no-hitter that ended in defeat.
“Respect to the other pitcher,” Kruel said moments after the game ended, deflecting the attention that comes from being a knuckleballer who seems to get better with every outing. “And big ups to Johnny for taking second and coming home on a sacrifice fly. That’s baseball.”
The biggest defensive play of the game for Pierson came in the fifth inning with one out and runners on the corners for the Quakers. A ground ball hit directly to Loesch at shortstop went to first for the second out of the inning. Around the same time, Friends base runner Narain Badhey took off from third, only to be tagged out at home by Pierson catcher Aaron Schiavoni, who sat on home plate and handled a perfect strike from Tim Markowski at first base.
“I knew Tim was going to put it right there for me,” Schiavoni said later. “The biggest thing today was our defense. We knew if we got one run, we’d have a chance. To win this game, in this way, getting no hits, speaks volumes about our defense.”