Tag Archive | "sean crowley"

Pierson Gets Out Fast

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Whalers Golf: Best performance in 26 years, says coach.

By Gavin Menu

Sean Crowley has been coaching at Pierson High School for 26 years and has seen his share of impressive athletic achievements. But last week at the Noyac Golf Club he witnesses an especially remarkable performance as his team posted a score of 208 in a 9-0 victory over Westhampton Beach.

“It’s the best I can remember in 26 years,” Crowley said of the performance, which featured three scores of 41 from his top three players – seniors Dillon Decker and Gabe Denon and sophomore Ben Kushner. “I am really pleased how much preseason preparation we put in, which will provide important depth throughout the line up.”

Junior Jack Bori shot a 43 against Westhampton, while seniors Brad Reiner and Jake Bennett shot 42 and 45, respectively. Two days later at Rock Hill Country Club in Manorville, Pierson dominated once again in an 8-1 win over Center Moriches. Decker shot a 45 in the top spot, but posted the team’s lone loss of the day, while Bori shot a 4-under 39 to lead the Whalers.

Denon shot a 41 and Kusher, who played junior varsity as a freshman last year, shot a second straight 41 against Center Moriches to impress his coach. Rounding out the Whalers golf roster are Aidan Kirrane, Liam Doyle and Zack Zimmerman.

The win over Center Moriches moved Pierson to 2-0 and set up a huge rivalry week that included a match last night against the Ross School, along with upcoming meetings against Southampton today, September 20 at 4 p.m., and East Hampton this Tuesday, September 25 at 3:30 p.m. Both matches will be held at Noyac.

“The first half of the season we need to win or hold at home, then go on the road in the last week to both Southampton and East Hampton,” Crowley said when asked about the season in general and the hunt for a League VIII crown. “That’s when our senior leadership, depth and maturity will be needed to succeed.”




New Skipper Picked for Pierson Baseball

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web tortorella

By Benito Vila

The Brooklyn and Los Angles Dodgers had only two managers from 1954 to 1996; the Boston Red Sox had only three left fielders from 1939 to 1989. While the names of Hall-of-Fame managers Walter Alston and Tom Lasorda mean nothing to today’s high school players, the plaques of Ted Williams, Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice mean only a little more.

This coming spring the Pierson baseball Whalers will see a change on the field, one era ending and perhaps another beginning. On Monday night the Sag Harbor district school board accepted the appointment of middle school physical education instructor Jonathan Tortorella to the varsity baseball coaching position. That appointment leaves long-time Whaler coach Sean Crowley on the sidelines for the first time in 22 years.

Crowley came on to lead the baseball program for the first time in the spring of 1988, after joining the district as an elementary school physical education instructor in the fall of 1987. As the Pierson skipper, Crowley tallied 204 wins against 271 losses, leading his team to nine league and regional championships.

The most recent championship was posted this past spring, seniors Casey Crowley, Joe Mascali and Ryan Miller leading the Whalers to the county Class C title. That 2009 team put together a 12-6 regular season and swept two games from Port Jefferson for the crown.


Just as Alston had 23 consecutive one-year contracts before Dodger management made the move to Lasorda, Crowley has had 22 consecutive appointments to the varsity position, often without another district candidate applying for the assignment.

This year, Tortorella applied for the position, both he and Crowley interviewing before a committee made up Pierson Athletic Director Montgomery Granger, an administrator and a teacher. While there has been much speculation on why Tortorella was selected, it is fact that the committee made a unanimous recommendation to district superintendent Dr. John Gratto.

At the board meeting Monday, Crowley spoke on his own behalf, expressing well-worded disappointment but ultimately encouraging this year’s team to rally around their new coach. In closing, he mentioned the year 2032, 23 years from now, hoping his replacement has “as much success and fulfillment.”

Despite Crowley’s achievements, which include setting an all-time high for wins by any Pierson baseball coach, there are many who have not liked his managing style. He made mention of that in his remarks and cautioned that parental communication was a “slippery slope.”

An Awkward Moment

After Crowley’s speech and after the board stepped through its agenda, which included the acceptance of Tortorella’s nomination, board president Walter Wilcoxen opened the meeting to questions from the floor. In the course of that discourse, which covered many topics, Jeffrey Peters, Tom Gleeson and Walter Tice all spoke kindly of Coach Crowley and his contribution to the community.

Tice admonished the board for not making more of Crowley’s achievements, suggesting it should have amended its agenda to “include a motion of gratitude for the years of service given.”

That statement, preceded by a pointed assessment of how poor the relationship between the board and its employees has become [in the context of the teacher contract negotiations], caused board member Dan Hartnett to make a motion to do as Tice suggested.

The motion was immediately seconded by Ed Haye, but no one on the board spoke up or thanked Coach Crowley, leaving those assembled awkwardly waiting for something to be said and wondering aloud why nothing was done.

The long and short of Monday’s meeting remains that Pierson will have a new baseball coach for only the third time since 1969, Bob Vishno preceeding Crowley and staying through the 1987 season. That continuity is remarkable considering how much movement there has been in the district’s other academic and extra-curricular appointments in that time.

Still, Coach Tortorella is not new to the Pierson baseball program. He led a middle school team to a 9-1 mark last spring and coached much of this year’s varsity to a 13-3 mark at the JV level in 2008.

Coach Tortorella is a 1999 graduate of Southampton High School. He, like Crowley, is a graduate of Springfield College, earning his master’s degree there after undergraduate studies at the University of Massachusetts.

Jonathan Tortorella (top right) will be the new Pierson varsity baseball coach.

Sean Crowley (inset) led the Pierson Whalers baseball team for 22 years.

Whaler Boys Look to Return to Playoffs

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By Benito Vila


Abundance is a good thing for the most part, but unexpectedly having more of something often means having to make changes. So it was for Pierson varsity baseball coach Sean Crowley on Monday as he planned the team workout in Mashashimuet Park.

Setting up a drill to prepare all his pitchers on how to best handle plays to different bases, Coach Crowley said, “I’ve never had eight pitchers before. This will be different.” Finding a way to rotate everyone through Monday came easy enough and that should also be the case this weekend, with scrimmages back-to-back Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

The pre-season opener is set for the park tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. against Southampton; Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m. in East Hampton. The team is due to back home Wednesday to host Hampton Bays in a final scrimmage at 4 p.m. and takes on Southampton again in a non-league match-up next Saturday morning. The Whalers open league play away Tuesday, March 31 at Mercy.

Last year’s team learned some hard-luck lessons through a series of one-run extra-inning losses, going 9-12 in league play and 10-12 overall. Back from that squad are seniors Casey Crowley, Joe Mascali and Ryan Miller. Also returning are juniors Joe Dowling, Brandon Kruel and Kyle McGowin. New to the varsity this spring are juniors T.J. Arreguin, Jim Fusco, George Hoglund, Mark Mahoney, Dane Riva, Eddie Schall and Jeff Schimmer and sophomores Tyler Gilbride and Gavin Kudlak.

Coach Crowley likes what he’s seen so far from his three senior captains, finding them bringing a purposeful determination to drills and seeing them taking on new positions in the field.

“We’re a bit deeper than we’ve been of late, and not just on the mound,” said the coach. “We have players this year that can play a variety of positions and that will help us as we get into our schedule.”


To make the county playoffs, the Pierson boys must post a better-than-.500 mark. Coach Crowley expects Center Moriches, Port Jefferson and Southold-Greenport to be the toughest teams in league play and recognized that private school opponents Mercy, Smithtown Christian and Stony Brook could have added new talent.

When asked to name the key leaders for the season, Coach Crowley quickly replied, “The three seniors, Dowling, McGowin and Kruel. They’ve been out there before and they know what’s expected of them. I know they’ll bring the rest of the team to where it needs to be.”


Bad break

The JV team lost one of its most enthusiastic players during practice Saturday, freshman Michael Heller breaking his foot in a slide into second base. Out for the season, and perhaps even summer league play, Heller is hoping to be with the team for its first scrimmages this weekend.


Making up the full JV roster are sophomores Donald Doran, Frank Romeo, Jake Weingartner and Lukas Wheeler and freshmen Canaan Campbell, Harley Decker, Paul Dorego, Emet Evgen, Sean Hartnett, Brendan Hemby, Hunter Leyser, Jeremy Pepper and Sean Romeo.

Former Bonac and Pace University standout Henry Meyer is leading the team as a first-year Pierson coach, with Paul Dorego and John Romeo serving as full-time assistant coaches. Coach Meyer plans to use the pre-season “to see who can pitch and will get everyone to throw a little bit” in trying to set up his rotation. He’s also looking to fill his outfield slots by finding “who will go and get it.”


Whalers Tee Off for Season

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Pierson varsity golf coach Sean Crowley has high numbers to round out his varsity and JV rosters and hopes they’ll all shoot low numbers as the season goes on. One of the biggest surprises so far is the play of eighth grader Dillon Decker.

“Dillon worked at his golf all summer, and as a result enters the season playing the best on the team,” reported Coach Crowley on Wednesday. Decker recorded the team’s low score at 47 playing at number one in the match with Westhampton at the Noyac Country Club Tuesday.

Decker’s score tied that of his Westhampton counterpart. Playing at number six, fellow eighth-grader Christian Deger won his first varsity match with a round of 51. Although Jake Weingartner recorded a 49 for the second day in a row, it was not enough to fend off Westhampton as they went home with a 7.5–1.5 win.

In Monday’s season-opening match with East Hampton, captain Ryan Miller played number one and posted a team-low score of 49. The Bonackers made off with the match at all six positions, recording a 9-0 final.

The varsity and JV teams have had a solid turnout once again this year. Coach Crowley also has James Fusco, Harrison Bayrami and Dane Riva on his roster. JV coach Clint Schulman?has middle schoolers Cooper Marienfeld and Adam Heller on his roster, along with a high school contigent of juniors Leftheri Sryianos, Celia Gianis, Chloe Laundrie and freshman Emily Verneuille. 

Varsity plays Center Moriches away on Thursday and the Ross School at East Hampton next this Tuesday. JV is set to play two home matches this week at Noyac, with Center Moriches on Thursday and Westhampton on Wednesday.