by Jesse Rosenthal
With the weather warming up last week, the Pierson Varsity baseball Whalers found their groove and played solid baseball in their second scrimmage against Hampton Bays on Saturday.
While they don’t keep score for scrimmages, it looked as though the Whalers would have come out on top, had there been an official tally. Not that anyone was counting.
In what would amount to an A-1 performance both offensively and defensively from Coach Tortorella’s Whalers, strong pitching performances from the top of the rotation led the way. Brandon Kruel, Jake Weingartner and T.J. Arreguin’s prowess on the mound, combined with solid defensive play on the diamond and in the outfield resulted in a very positive outcome for the second scrimmage of the season.
Tension was high early, however, as Brandon Kruel found himself in a bit of a pickle in the first inning, with runners breathing down his neck at second and third and only one out. Kruel was able to get out of the inning with no runs scored. “It took some toughness on his part and some help from our defense to get through that,” said Tortorella. “I liked what I saw.”
With the pitchers throwing strikes, and the defense making plays, everyone did their job on Saturday, according to Coach Tortorella. “Kruel, Weingartner and Arreguin all pitched very well,” said the coach. “They pitched to contact and let their defense do the work. It was very efficient and impressive.”
Tyler Gilbride and Jake Weingartner were strong behind home plate and Kyle McGowin made more than one pivotal defensive play in center field.
Offensively, while the lineup made great contact throughout the day, run scoring was at a minimum.
“We need to do a better job of driving in runners,” said Tortorella, “but that will definitely come as the season progresses.”
If Saturday’s scrimmage was any indication, the Whalers are on the verge of an exciting season of baseball. There are always some adjustments that can be made, details tweaked, but Coach Tortorella’s mindset going forward is one of optimism with a philosophy of hard work for it to stand on. “It was a good day for us,” he said. We were impressed with some things but we also need to keep working and continue to get better. It’s a tough road ahead and we’ll need to be consistent and disciplined to be successful.”
The Whalers’ third and final scrimmage, scheduled at Mattituck on Monday, was rained out. The team is looking forward to a solid week of practice over spring break to prepare them for a legitimately tough opponent in Center Moriches come April 6. That game, the regular season opener, is the first of a three game series. The Whalers will be away at Center Moriches on April, 6, home at Mashashamuet on the seventh, and then back to Center Moriches on the 9th to wrap up the series. All three games start at 4:30 p.m.