By Jesse Rosenthal
Following a tough 3-2 loss in Center Moriches to wrap up a three game series on Friday, the Pierson Baseball Whalers were looking for a win at home in their first non-league matchup against Hampton Bays on Tuesday. Unfortunately, solid pitching from freshman Devon Havens of Hampton Bays, and Pierson hits that just couldn’t find the gaps resulted in a 5-0 shoutout loss for the Whalers.
After no score through two, Hampton Bays came out swinging in the top of the third. With Brandon Kruel on the mound for the Whalers, Hampton Bays scored three runs on two singles to left field and one to right.
An error in the top of the fourth allowed one more run scored for Hampton Bays, and a single to left in the top of the fifth led to the final run of the game being scored against Pierson.
Although the Whalers didn’t come out on top, Tuesday’s loss was another learning experience for Coach Tortorella and his players. With eleven players on the roster who would normally be starters, and no shortage of pitching talent, the Whalers are moving players around and battling to find a cohesive, consistent infield. They have been struggling late in games at the shortstop position, “which is something we are going to work on this week,” according to assistant Coach Benito Vila.
The loss was certainly not due to lack of effort on the part of Coach Tortorella and the varsity boys.
“We worked so hard on our defense, especially this past week,” said Tortorella. “Even though we made some plays, we still need to be consistent. We cannot give up extra opportunities. We’re confident we’ll get to where we need to be defensively, we just have to keep working and maintain our focus.”
Offensively, Pierson didn’t put any runs on the board, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of contact. “We made better contact today,” said Tortorella. “Unfortunately, we hit it right at the defense and they made the plays.” Joey Dowling went 1-3 with a double, and Eddie Schall went 1-3 with a single.
Given some run support, and had the defense made some key plays, Brandon Kruel’s pitching performance would have looked as good on the field as it does on paper. Over seven innings pitched Kruel struck out five, allowing only one earned run and three hits. “Brandon pitched very well,” said Tortorella. “His control was there all game and he forced the hitters to keep it on the ground. I was very impressed with his outing today.”
The Whalers have a chance for non-league redemption come Thursday when they play again in Hampton Bays. Coach Tortorella is looking forward to the opportunity.
“The great thing about this game is we have a chance to come back right away and play another game,” he said. “We need to keep working on certain things and get this going the way we know it can. We just need to pick ourselves up today and get back to work.”
Look for some divisional competition the following week as the Whalers gear up for a three game series against Port Jefferson, beginning away at Port Jeff on Tuesday, April 20, continuing at Pierson on Wednesday, April 21 and ending away the following Friday. Port Jefferson is 1-3 overall on the season.