By Gavin Menu
The wins are piling up for the Pierson-Bridgehampton baseball team and so is the strikeout total for lefty ace Colman Vila, who fanned another 18 batters in a 10-0 win over Stony Brook on Monday that clinched the League IX title for the Whalers.
Pierson (18-1) played at Stony Brook in the second game of a three-game series on Tuesday and won again, 10-0.
With the team set to wrap up the regular season today, May 9, at home against Stony Brook, the Whalers are in cruise control even as their lefty ace is in overdrive.
“Colman is pitching really well,” Pierson head coach Jon Tortorella said. “All of our pitchers have been doing a great job. It has been our strength all season.”
Spanning his last two starts, which included a no-hitter against Shelter Island, Vila has allowed one hit while striking out 35 in 14 innings, a remarkable total considering the team recorded only 42 outs total. For the season, Vila has 105 strikeouts in 47 innings.
And while League IX hitters are certainly not tops in Suffolk County, Whaler fans should like their team’s chances in a three-game playoff series with Vila potentially able to start two of the games.
And what’s more scary for upcoming playoff opponents is that Pierson’s strength only begins with Vila on the mound. Jake Bennett and Forrest Loesch have proven to be strong second and third starters and Nick Kruel and Tim Markowski have been dominant in relief.
With the team’s defense having played well all season, Pierson’s recent offensive explosion could mean a deep run in the upcoming postseason.
“Complete? Not yet,” Tortorella said when asked if his team’s offense and defense had clicked to create a complete team heading into the playoffs. “We’re moving towards that but there’s still a lot of improvement needed in all areas of our game. Defense and pitching have been consistently strong. We need to do a better job at the plate.”
According to a New York State Sportswriters Association poll last week, Pierson was ranked third in the state among Class C schools behind Lansing from Section IV and Fabius-Pompey of Section III. Haldane, which knocked the Whalers out of the state tournament in a regional final last year, is currently ranked eleventh.
Pierson will most likely have to get past Southold or Port Jefferson, or both, in the Suffolk County Class C playoffs, which are tentatively set to begin on Monday, May 20, and the only Class C school in Nassau County this year is Friends Academy. East Rockaway, which Pierson beat in a thriller to win the Long Island Championship last year, moved up to Class B this season.
All that aside, Tortorella on Tuesday said his focus will remain on the team’s immediate future, ignoring the bigger picture until the time is right.
“We just have to keep moving in the right direction,” Tortorella said. “Every step has to be a positive one.”