By Gavin Menu
It has been a tough few games for the Pierson-Bridgehampton softball team, which took its lumps over the last week as it moved through the League VII-VIII crossover portion of this season’s schedule.
The Lady Whalers dropped three straight games to Hampton Bays, Bayport-Blue Point and Shoreham-Wading River over the last week and fell to 6-5 on the season. They still kept pace in League VIII with first-place Babylon (7-4), which also dropped crossover games and led Pierson by just one game going into this week’s action.
The Lady Whalers will host Stony Brook tomorrow, May 3, at 4:30 p.m. and will travel to Port Jefferson on May 7 for a road game at 4:30 p.m. If all goes according to plan, Pierson will have a shot at moving into position for a share of the league title when it plays Babylon on May 8.
Head coach Melissa Edwards this week said the Lady Whalers should improve after having played strong competition in the crossover games, better preparing them for the home stretch of the league schedule and the Suffolk County Class C playoffs, which are tentatively set to begin on May 22.
Pierson dropped a heartbreaker to Hampton Bays on April 24, losing 8-7 after taking a three-run lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. Playing at home on Friday, Lady Whalers ace Sam Duchemin allowed two runs in the first inning as Bayport jumped out early and held on for a 7-2 win.
The Lady Whalers also lost, 12-0, to Shoreham on Tuesday.
“League VII is stronger than us, but I would much rather play teams like this and lose than have those blowout wins,” Edwards said on Friday following the loss to Bayport. “I’d rather have a battle. Winning a game 17-0, that’s not good for our team.”
After Bayport put up two runs in the first inning, Pierson had a scoring chance in the bottom of the first, but Sabrina Baum was thrown out sliding into home plate. Going into the top of the third inning, Edwards moved shortstop Kasey Gilbride to left field in an effort to bolster the team’s defense, but as it turned out, Bayport tacked on three more runs on balls hit directly to the middle infield, where the sure-handed Gilbride normally would have been.
“That didn’t go as well as I wanted it to,” Edwards said with a laugh. “They hit Sam really well one through five and Kasey is my best athlete, and with her arm and her range, I put her out there where I thought the ball was going to be hit. Go figure it gets hit to shortstop three times.”
Edwards said she is looking forward to the Class C playoffs, where Pierson would have to get through Port Jefferson, Mercy or Stony Brook, teams they beat easily earlier in the season. Edwards is unaware of what Class C teams might await in Nassau County or further upstate, where the Lady Whalers fell just two wins short of a state championship last season.
“For the last four or five years, the program has been going up and getting better and better,” Edwards said. “And we’ve become kind of complacent with not setting the bar higher, with just showing up, and that can’t happen.
“I’m setting the bar high for this team, but I have to remember that I have a lot of first-year players in pretty important positions,” she continued. “Still, at the end of the day, if we take care of what we have to do, and if my girls show up and play like they’re supposed to, we will be fine.”