By Gavin Menu; Photography by Michael Heller
Perfection has alluded the Pierson-Bridgehampton baseball team this season, albeit by the slimmest of margins.
The Whalers cruised into Tuesday night’s Long Island Class C Championship game at Farmingdale State college with a 21-1 record, their lone blemish a loss to Smithtown Christian nearly two months ago.
Then on Tuesday, the team’s lefty ace, Colman Vila, took a perfect game into the sixth inning, where he allowed his only walk of the game, but ultimately preserved his second no-hitter of the season to lead the Whalers to a 5-0 win over Nassau’s Friends Academy and the program’s second consecutive Long Island title.
The win set up a rematch of last year’s New York State Southeast Regional final with Haldane from Section I last night, June 5, at Dutchess County Stadium in Wappinger’s Falls.
“I’m speechless,” Vila said afterwards, moments before his teammates doused him with a cooler of ice water. “After the fourth inning I realized they probably we’re not going to hit me and we also made some great defensive plays.”
Several of those plays were made by the glove of Vila himself. He was knocked down by a line-drive he snagged in the second inning and then made two fine plays on bunts in the sixth and seventh innings with perfectly-thrown strikes to a stretched out Nick Kruel at first base.
Vila finished the game allowing just the one walk while striking out 10.
“Colman was great and the defense behind him was great,” head coach Jon Tortorella said after the game. “And Aaron [Schiavoni] called a great game behind the plate.”
Friends Academy starter Patrick Moodhe practically handed Pierson the first runs of the game, allowing four walks in the first inning as Forrest Loesch and James Sherry picked up RBIs simply by taking four balls apiece as Vila and Jack Fitzpatrick scored runs. In the fourth inning, Tim Markowski doubled, advanced to third on a groundball by Kruel, and came home on Moodhe’s wild pitch to put the Whalers up 3-0.
Whispers began to circulate in the park after Vila fanned two batters to end the fourth inning that a perfect game was in the works. Loesch and Sherry reached base again in the top of the fifth inning , with Loesch scoring on an fielder’s choice off the bat of Jake Bennett and Sherry scoring on another wild pitch.
Vila struck out two more hitters in a quick bottom of the fifth and then made a spectacular sliding play in the bottom of the sixth for second out of the inning to continue his perfect game.
But with two outs in the book, and possibly rattled by the difficulty of the prior defensive play, Vila threw four straight balls to Spencer Sklar, who ultimately would be the only Quaker to reach base all day. Vila went on to field the final out of the game in the seventh inning himself.
“When we were warming up, he was on fire,” Schiavoni said when asked about Vila after the game. “We pretty much think as one and the connection we have is tremendous.”
When asked what his thoughts were on the next day’s state regional game, Schiavoni said the Whalers were expecting another tough stretch with Haldane, which returned almost its entire lineup after defeating Pierson, 3-0, last year.
“We just have to believe in ourselves, that’s the biggest thing,” the Whalers’ captain said. “I see us coming out strong because we want to keep this going.”