Tag Archive | "softball"

Liquors Clinches First


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Sag Harbor Liquors came off the field last night with a 16-6 win over Decker’s Scrubs to close out their regular season campaign at 15-3, tops in the league. The Scrubs’ loss leaves them at 10-8, and as the third place finisher, ready to face second-place, 13-3, T&S Mott in the first round of the playoffs.

Liquors meanwhile is set to play Beyel Plumbing and Heating, the fourth-place finisher, who improved 9-7 last night when Immaculate Swimming Pools was forced to forfeit when only seven players showed.

The pairings set, the four teams are looking to start the playoffs as soon as possible, the league forgoing three make-up games initially set for next week.

Unfortunately, Liquors may not have enough players to field a team on Monday, so Tuesday and Thursday are being discussed as start dates for the first round. The Suffolk County umpire assigner is due game information on Friday.

Men’s Fast Pitch: Post Season Teams and Seeds Set

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By Benito Vila

Mathematics makes a difference in softball. Like baseball, it’s called a game of inches for the tiny margins between safe and out, fair and foul.

But there’s more than just spatial geometry involved. Batting averages, runs scored, RBIs, errors, walks, wins and losses all provide a paradise for the statistically inclined.

And at each season’s close, there are “magic numbers”: the number of wins and losses needed to secure playoff spots for some and eliminate others. With four teams vying for two spots going into the last week of play, the calculations of who was in or out were mind-boggling.

As always happens though, things were worked out on the field. Last night Sag Harbor Liquors (15-2) locked up the one seed, thrashing T&S Mott 13-2. Home runs by Jeff Hand and Brian Anderson gave Liquors a 6-0 lead in the second and three late-game misplays in right allowed Liquors to coast to the regular season title. The loss leaves Mott (14-3) as the two seed.

On Wednesday, Southampton Publick House swept a doubleheader from Decker’s Scrubs, securing the three seed for the pubsters and making the Scrubs the four seed. Losses by Pilinko Plumbing and Heating on Monday and Beyel Plumbing and Heating on Tuesday eliminated those teams and added some drama to Decker and Publick House twin bill.

But Publick House put up big numbers, taking game one, 16-0, and game two, 26-11, to gain the head-to-head tie-breaker over Decker and take the higher seed. Publick House pitcher Kristen Bartoldos said she was “on her game” in shutting out the Scrubs on five hits.

Three home runs by Bruce Sanders made her night easier. Sanders came on to pitch in the second game and saw C.J. Shank and Brant Reiner each hammer two over the fence in another run-away win.

The playoff semi-finals are scheduled to start Monday in Mashashimuet Park, Liquors hosting Decker at 7 p.m. and Mott taking on Publick House late. Those games switch for Tuesday, Monday’s late teams coming in early and the early teams late. After an off-day Wednesday, next Thursday will see either game three of the semis or game one of the best-of-five finals.

Standings and This Weeks’ Re-cap

The final standings had Liquors’ 15-2 finish putting them on top, Mott at 14-3 in second. Publick House was third at 9-9 with Decker fourth at 9-8, with Publick House’s owning the head-to-head tie-breaker pushing them ahead. Beyel, at 7-11, Pilinko, at 5-12, and the Sag Harbor Hysterical Society, at 2-16, are already looking to next year.

With rain once again interfering with the schedule last Thursday, games with playoff implications were re-scheduled first this week. That set up a match-up between Beyel and Decker early on Monday that Beyel took 29-16, the umpire suggesting a blocked punt had something to do with outcome.

Sean Beyel credited the win to good team play, saying, “Everybody contributed. It wasn’t just one guy. It was hits and walks up and down the order.” Every run was needed, especially after a two-run homer by the Scrubs’ Cory Cass and a grand slam from Frank Romeo made the score 24-16 in the sixth. Only fine defensive plays by Ike Birdsall in right and Noah Feinberg at second kept Decker from coming all the way back.

In the top of the seventh, a three-run shot by Chris Gregory and a line drive dinger by Vic Fehrm bought Beyel some breathing room. Two more “web gems” by Craig Berkoski at short and Jon Loren in center in the bottom of the seventh finally gave Beyel pitcher Mike D’Angelo the win.

Elimination Games

In the late game Monday, Publick House outscored Pilinko 22-7. A 12-run third proved to be too much for Pilinko, the loss eliminating them from the playoffs. Two-run homers by Publick House’s catcher Shank and first baseman Scott Green set off the rally, breaking open a 6-5 game. Shank ended the rout with a walk-off home run in the sixth.

Beyel saw its post-season dream dashed Tuesday in a 19-4 loss to Liquors. A pair of two-run homers by Brian Anderson and a grand slam from Andy Tuthill gave Liquors 9-4 lead going into the seventh, before a 10-run barrage ended the game.

Publick House’s 14-5 loss to Mott in the late game Tuesday mattered little to the standings but made last night’s Decker-Publick House match-up much more meaningful. In getting the win, pitcher Bob Burden scattered 10 hits while Mott made the most of their 16. Keith Schulmann, Brendan Mott and Mike Lyons all legged out triples for Mott. A single by Sean Mott gave his team a 4-3 lead in the fifth and set off a five-run rally. 

More Math

The most statistically improbable game occurred in last Wednesday’s early game, Liquors hammering the Hysterical Society 33-1. Liquors’ Joe Sullivan went six-for-six with five home runs and a double, knocking in an astounding 16 runs.

In the late game, Beyel built an early 10-3 lead over Publick House only to see it slip away. Publick House scored four in the bottom of the seventh to take the game, 13-12, with Logan Kirby tying the score with a two-out single to center and Danny Rowe driving in the go-ahead run.

Ladies Need Win for County Title

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By Benito Vila

It was truly a tribal experience in Mashashimuet Park yesterday evening, over 100 voices cheering, Pierson varsity softball down 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth in game two of the Class C championship series, Lady Whalers at second and third, one out, needing a run to tie and a win to take the title.

That’s as good as it got for the home side, Port Jefferson Lady Royal pitcher Michiko McGivney setting down two Pierson batters on strikes and keeping her team in the lead. McGivney then put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh, a bases-loaded, two-out single to left putting the Lady Royals up 8-4 and coolly quieting the Lady Whaler faithful.

In the bottom of the seventh, Sam Federico started up the cheers again, smacking a single to right, taking second when Katie Osiecki also socked a one-out single to right. But then the promising rally came undone, a quick shortstop-to-second-to-first double play killing any chance of a Pierson comeback.

The best-of-three Class C series now even, one game apiece, the Lady Whalers travel to Port Jefferson tomorrow for game three of the series. Pierson took game one there Saturday, 5-2, Federico and Kaci Koehne sparking the attack and pitcher Melanie Stafford keeping the defense sharp in throwing a complete game five-hitter.

The winner of tomorrow’s series finale moves into the state tournament and the “Super Regional” semi-finals at Mitchell Field in Hempstead on Tuesday, June 9. That semi-final match-up pits the Suffolk Class C Champ against the Nassau champ at 1 p.m., the winner there playing a regional final at 4 p.m.

After yesterday’s loss, Lady Whaler coach Melissa Edwards said she would focus on hitting and fielding work in practice today. Looking ahead to tomorrow’s do-or-die contest, she added, “We will continue to work on building our confidence at the plate and our reactions to the ball in the field. Bloop hits that fell in and quiet bats let the game get away. We go there knowing we hit first. We know we need to attack early and we plan to. And when we get in the field, we have to move a whole lot better to keep them off base.”

Saturday’s Win

In describing the game one win, Coach Edwards reported, “We got on the bus ready to win, and the whole bus ride there I felt something different with this team. They were all upbeat and smiles. We got to the field, did our warm-ups and got ourselves ready to go.”

“We jumped up early, scoring three in the first inning. Natalie [Abbene] led off with a single that got us fired up, then Kaci and Sam singled. With Sam’s single scoring Natalie. Katie came up and hit a single to score Sam and Kaci.”

The Pierson girls put together a two-run rally in the fourth, Coach Edwards recounting, “Nat led off with a single, Kara [Gengarelly] singled, and then Sam Fed hit a bomb to left, a triple, that scored both Nat and Kara.” On the day, Federico went three-for-four, with Koehne, Pintauro, Abbene and Osiecki all going two-for-four.

Coach Edwards said afterwards, “It was a great day for our bats. Nat sparked the game right from the beginning by beating out a bunt, Sam’s triple in the fourth was a monster, and Melanie’s pitching was great. She hit her spots and our defense was there behind her all game with great plays by Sam, Katie and Nat in particular.”


Ladies Set to Open Championship Series

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Ladies open Class C series on the road Saturday


By Benito Vila


Getting up early on weekends is not something high school girls are known for but in any well-lived life there are always exceptions. The Pierson varsity softball team is poised to set aside its collective and individual preferences this Saturday morning, the Lady Whalers making their way to Port Jefferson to open a best-of-three series for the county Class C title.

With a scheduled 11 a.m. start Saturday, the Pierson girls will be on their bus before 9 a.m., heading west to play the opponent it dominated 12-4 in Mashashimuet Park last month and then lost to last Friday, 9-2.

Regardless of the final score in Saturday’s opener, game two is set for the park next Wednesday at 4 p.m., the Memorial Day holiday making for a three-day break between match-ups. A spilt of those first two games would require a game three in Port Jeff next Friday at 4 p.m.

In outscoring the Lady Whalers last Friday, the Lady Royals rolled up the win that gave them the home field for games one and three. A Pierson win Friday would have done the same thing for the Sag Harbor girls and would have moved them into a tie for second place in League VIII. Instead the Lady Whalers finished the regular season 8-8 while the Lady Royals ended 10-6.


Playoff Talk


From the beginning Lady Whaler coach Melissa Edwards has liked what she’s had to work with this year. “We have all the pieces and all the talent to go far. What we’ve needed is more experience, more confidence and more consistency. Those are the things we’ve been working on building all season.”

 “The girls have put their work in, especially on hitting of late. We get that going Saturday and we’ll be OK and the game becomes easy; if we come out and wander in our focus and in our effort, it’ll be a lot harder to get ahead.”

“When we show up to win, we can give anyone a game. When we show up to play, we struggle doing little things, especially at the plate,” said Coach Edwards yesterday. “The effort in practice this week has been all I could want and then some. Getting a win Saturday will depend on whether we can take what we’ve been doing and execute under pressure, come what may.”


Like Jekyll and Hide for the Ladies

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By Benito Vila

In the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, its stars, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, are pursued by a relentless posse, and in trying to distance themselves, ask, “Who are those guys?” Lady Whaler softball coach Melissa Edwards, in trying to get closer to her team, has been asking the same question.

The Lady Whalers mauled the Lady Mariners last Thursday 14-2 in Mashashimuet Park, a somewhat unexpected outcome given how both teams had been playing against common opponents. Then on Friday, back in the park, the same Lady Whalers went out and lost 9-1 to a Center Moriches squad they had beaten 10-2 earlier in the season.

On Tuesday, Coach Edwards was still flummoxed by the up and down of her team’s performance. “They were so pumped after the game Thursday and then they had no gas on Friday. It was like two different teams, like Jekyll and Hyde.”

 “It’s not the first time this has happened this season, and it’s hard to know which team is going to show up when we go play. I thought Thursday’s win would be a good lead-in in getting back to the League VIII schedule but it wasn’t.”

After describing some of the struggles her girls had in the field and at bat on Friday, Coach Edwards added, “We need to be more consistent every time we take the field and we need to beat the teams we play from hereon in if we’re going to go anywhere.”

The Lady Whalers go into their last week of games 6-6 in conference play, needing two wins to secure a berth in the county’s Class C tournament. This week’s schedule has the team traveling to Southold/Greenport tomorrow for a 4:30 p.m. start and then to Mercy on Saturday for a 2 p.m. start.

The ladies are home in the park Tuesday, hosting first-place Hampton Bays at 4:30 p.m. Their final game is at Port Jefferson next Friday.


A Seven-run Second


Senior captain Sam Federico stepped into the pitching circle last Thursday, giving freshman Melanie Stafford some relief from her role there, and threw a complete game two-hitter, striking out six and walking two. Federico also pounded a home run to cap a seven-run second inning that put Pierson up 8-0, and allowed the team to cruise to the 14-2 final.

Coach Edwards described it as “a beautiful victory. Everyone did their part to make it happen.” The Lady Whalers were first on the board, Natalie Abbene starting the home half with a single and then coming into score on an infield error.

A walk to Megan Pintauro started the Pierson rally in the second, Abby Gawronski following with a single and Alicia Tagliasacchi with a walk. A walk to Abbene brought a run in and put the pressure on the Lady Mariners, who booted the next ball and then saw the game get away when Kaci Koehne singled and Federico homered.

Pintauro came into score again in the third, singling and then coming in on a ground out. Danielle Schiavoni doubled to open the fifth and Katie Osiecki made the score 10-1 with an RBI single. A Lady Mariner run closed the gap some in the sixth but the Lady Whalers pulled away again in the home half, two walks and two errors and a Koehne double capping the scoring.

A Different Team

Before Friday’s re-match with Center Moriches, Coach Edwards said she talked to her team about “how important it was to clinch their playoff spot right away, against a key rival, but it was like a different group of girls, like the weekend had started already.”

That level of distraction was evident in the field from the start, Stafford striking out a pair, but seeing three errors, a walk and two hits turn into four runs. Pierson’s powerhouse hitting that had been reliable the night before was also missing, the Lady Whalers failing to put anything together until the seventh and scoring just one in that final frame.

By then, the game was all but over, the Lady Devils making the most of an error and a single to add a run in the fifth and a walk and a single to tack on another in the sixth. Two Pierson errors and two long hits helped Center Moriches score three in the top of the seventh and put the game out of reach.

Stafford struck out 13 Lady Devils while scattering nine hits and working around nine errors. On Tuesday, she good-naturedly said, “I did OK, but we didn’t do so well as a team and that’s what matters most.”



Ladies Come Together in Back-to-Back Wins

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By Benito Vila

It seems an easy enough formula to follow: you pitch, you field, you make outs, then you come up, you get on, you hit, you score. A team that does all those things consistently, with enthusiasm, wins game after game.

The Pierson varsity softball team had misplaced that simple recipe of late, coach Melissa Edwards at a loss last week to explain where the zest and zeal of her team had gone. That flavorless play was gone this week though, the Lady Whalers battering winless Southold/Greenport 11-0 Monday and topping league-leading Port Jefferson 12-4 Tuesday.

The satisfaction was clear on Coach Edwards face after Tuesday’s game when she said, “It’s been so great. They’ve come ready to play and it’s made all the difference. It’s the way we set out to play since the beginning. It’s been missing and now it’s back!”

Coach Edwards emphasized that emotional point in celebrating the win with her girls, saying, “Welcome to 2009! because that’s exactly what I want from you and what you’ve all been talking about. That’s the way we have to show up, every day, every game.”

The two victories close out the first go-round of League VIII play and leave the Lady Whalers 3-2 as they head into the League VII cross-over. That schedule sent the team to 5-0 Mount Sinai yesterday and has them hosting 3-2 Mattituck in Mashashimuet Park tomorrow. A non-league contest at home with upstate Penfield is set for Monday, with heavy-hitting Bayport-Blue Point coming in next Thursday at 4:30 p.m.


Runs Come Early


In both of the wins this week, the Lady Whalers took the lead in their first at-bat and went on to score again in each at-bat until the sixth. By then the games were well in hand. Meanwhile, the opposition was unable to do anything of note against the pitching of freshman Melanie Stafford and the defense behind her, a four-run second on Tuesday being the sole exception.

A six-run Pierson first fired up the offense Tuesday, singles by Natalie Abbene and Kara Gengarelly and a walk to Kaci Koehne setting the table, and base hits by Samanthe Federico, Katie Osiecki and Brianna Hand clearing the bases. After the Lady Royals made the score 6-4 in the top of the second, Alicia Tagliasacchi smoked a single to shift momentum back to Pierson.

Two runs in the third, another in the fourth and yet two more in the fifth distanced the Lady Whalers from their visitors, Koehne, Hand and Osiecki all mixing in run scoring hits. Osiecki went four-for-four on the day, driving in three, the four hitters in front of her a collective eight-for-fourteen.

Coach Edwards complemented the defensive effort, pointing out that the team managed to keep the Lady Royals from “putting anything together with Melanie getting them to go three-up and three-down in almost every inning. They had their hits [10] but our defense was pretty good in making their plays, especially Natalie in left and Lindsay [Warne] at short.”

On Monday, Pierson took a 1-0 lead in the first, added four in the second and one more in the third. It was 8-0 after four and 11-0 when the Lady Whalers went out to the field for the sixth. Coach Edwards described the game as somewhat “sloppy,” 10 walks and several Lady Clipper errors helping her team along.

Still, Coach Edwards liked what she saw on the field Monday, optimistic the extra hitting before the game had given the Lady Whalers some extra confidence. In earning the complete-game shutout win, Stafford pitched a two-hitter with seven strikeouts. Federico and Oseicki each went two-for-four with two RBIs and Gengarelly went two-for-three with two runs and an RBI.



Lady Whalers Get Too Quiet

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By Benito Vila


Sometimes the more you work at something, the more you find what you have to do. That seems to be the lesson for the Pierson varsity softball Lady Whalers, who were once again unable to get their offense going in a 6-0 loss to Hampton Bays Tuesday.

The Ladies are now 1-2 in League VIII play and 1-4 overall, with Southold/Greenport coming into Mashashimuet Park Monday at 3:30 p.m. and undefeated Port Jefferson due in Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Next week also opens up the team’s mid-season swing through League VII, match-ups scheduled at Mount Sinai Wednesday and in the park with Mattituck next Friday at 4:30 p.m.


No More Vacation

Lady Whaler’s coach Melissa Edwards was disappointed by the on-field intensity shown in Tuesday’s game.

“We have to show up to play, not just show up. That means wanting the ball hit to you; running out your spot; picking up a teammate one way or another. That spark was missing and we have to get it back.”

Despite the unfortunate mental vacation of a few, Coach Edwards still found much to like from key players. She said freshman Melanie Stafford “pitched well” and praised senior catcher Sam Federico for “calling a good a game”. Sophomore shortstop Kaci Koehne, caught in a rundown off third, collided with a “much larger girl and showed a lot of heart, staying in the game.”

Coach Edwards acknowledged how she has come to rely on the consistent leadership of her seniors, Katie Osiecki, Brianna Hand, Megan Pintauro and Federico, who “bring it every game and leave it between the lines.” But knowing that she needs the entire team to show that sort of drive and determination, Coach Edwards added, “We have no easy games. Letting ones like Tuesday’s get away will keep us from getting where we want to be. Part of wanting to play is wanting to excel, too. We all need to get thinking and playing that way for Monday, turnaround our bats and get our confidence going for Tuesday against Port Jeff.”


JV Hot

The only thing that cooled the JV bats this week was a forfeit loss to Hampton Bays after a muscle strain shut down pitcher Lindsey Duran with Pierson up 9-7. That injury left the team without enough players to take the field.

That sudden loss leaves the Lady Whaler JV 3-1 in league play and 5-3 overall, and does nothing to take away from a 20-8 win over Smithtown Christian last Wednesday and a 11-4 win over Southold/Greenport last Thursday.

In those games, Duran cruised through the opposing line-ups posting 18 strikeouts (eight on Wednesday and 10 on Thursday) while Rebecca Speckenbach, Chelsea Freleng and Nina Hemby paced the offense.

The JV is scheduled to play Tuesday in Port Jefferson at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday in the park with Mount Sinai at 4 p.m. and next Friday in Mattituck at 4:30 p.m.

Too Many Ladies Left On

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By Benito Vila

The idea is to get ‘em on, move ‘em up and get ‘em in. It sounds a bit like the theme to TV’s Rawhide, but a softball team that does that sees the wins add up; those that leaves runners on risk having losses do the same instead.

After a quick set of games this week, the Pierson varsity softball Lady Whalers have shown they can swing the bats. Sparked by timely hitting, the girls opened League VIII play with a one-sided 10-2 win on Friday in Center Moriches.

A few of those hits and a couple of those runs would have come in nicely the next day, but instead Rocky Point came into Mashashimuet Park and made off with a 5-4 win, the bats getting quiet and cold late in a non-league game.

The bats were anything but silent Tuesday against Mercy, 11 Pierson runners reaching base, seven by base hit. All that was missing was a booming blast or a timely bloop to break the game open. Instead, Mercy took advantage of an infield miscue to push across the game’s only run, an errant throw with two outs in the fifth giving the visitors the edge.

Not Pretty

Lady Whaler’s coach Melissa Edwards described Tuesday’s game as “not pretty. We should have come away with a win. We stranded 11. It was a tough loss for the kids because I know the work they’ve put in, and they have high expectations.”

 “Something is not clicking and this coming week we are going to dissect our hitting and see what we need to do get runners across the plate. We have great hitters, they just need to step into the box and believe they can deliver and put the ball in play. Once we get runners on we move them; we are very aggressive. Now we just need to finish.”

Coach Edwards said the team’s first win Friday “was just fun to watch. The girls came out ready to play from the first pitch to the last. It was a complete team effort. They played solid defense and all of them used their bats, got on base and made things happen.”

In re-capping individual performances, she said, “Sam Federico started the game as the pitcher, hit her spots well and kept their lineup shut down, finishing with four innings of two-hit ball. Sam also went four-for-four on the day with two home runs and six RBIs, Kaci Koehne had a standout day at the plate, going three-for-four and Natalie Abbene went three-for-four as well.”

Her comments on Saturday’s loss echoed those of Tuesday’s, seeing her team “keep it close, but we stranded too many runners. As a team, we can get kids on; it just comes down to getting them to cross the plate. Melanie Stafford was our pitcher and she threw well and I just wish we were able to give her the ‘W’. It just goes to show how important capitalizing with runners on is.”

The Lady Whalers, now 1-1 in league play and 1-3 overall, have Southold/Greenport coming to the park tomorrow for a 4:30 start. On Saturday, the girls scrimmage at William Floyd at 10 a.m. and on Tuesday they host Hampton Bays in the park at 2 p.m.


Good Times

The JV Lady Whalers have started their league schedule 2-0, outscoring Center Moriches 20-2 and Mercy 15-5; a 8-5 loss to Ross in the park Monday makes their overall record 3-2.

JV coach Kathy Amicucci has been pleased by the pitching of Lindsey Duran, who started all four games this week and “kept her head regardless of what’s going on behind her.”

Saturday’s 6-5 win over Rocky Point came in extra innings, a Rebecca Speckenbach double knocking in Samantha James in the bottom of the ninth. Coach Amicucci felt her team played well and complemented their ability to “brush off their mistakes and keep going.”

The team highlight of the week came Tuesday, when illness and injury left the JV with just nine players. By moving players around and finding suitable positions for role players, Chelsea Freleng, Gemma Gardella, and Brittany Scala, Coach Amicucci was delighted to see the solid result, a 15-5 win.

Going through some of the best individual performances, Coach Amicucci described the aggressive baserunning of Jessica Warne and the consistent hitting of Sam James, but seem most thrilled by Freleng’s long triple in the loss to the Ravens.


Not Quite Right Yet: Teams Struggle in Scrimmages

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By Benito Vila
The word “twitterpated” wonderfully describes the eager promise of spring; it’s a sudden, enjoyable excitement brought on by feeling free of winter and seeing brand new possibilities. With being twitterpated though there comes an awkwardness that makes the simple impossible and the difficult unimaginable.

And so it was this week as the Pierson baseball Whalers and softball Lady Whalers opened their pre-seasons, optimism and befuddlement sharing one moment with the next. That jittery start behind them, all the teams are now intent on settling into a groove, scrimmages complete for the most part, a set of non-league games scheduled for Saturday and league openers scheduled for Tuesday.

JV baseball opens the non-league action Saturday hosting Southampton in Mashashimuet Park at 10 a.m. Varsity and JV softball are also in the park, each playing Rocky Point at noon. Meanwhile, varsity baseball is away in Southampton Saturday, first pitch there is set for 11 a.m.
League VIII play opens for all the Pierson teams Tuesday against Mercy, the softball teams and JV baseball in the park and varsity baseball away. The softball games are scheduled for 4 p.m. and the baseball games for 4:30 p.m. The baseball teams switch sites on Wednesday, their match-ups with Mercy continuing, the varsity home at 4:30 p.m. and the JV away at the same time.

Too Long Innings
Varsity baseball opened their season in the park last Friday afternoon, finding their fielding giving way to long innings and their hitting falling prone to short at-bats while scrimmaging Southampton. That unbalanced baseball continued again Saturday morning in East Hampton, the Bonackers making the most of extra at-bats and the Whalers letting opportunities get away.

It was at the end of the Saturday’s play, when sophomore pitcher Gavin Kudlak completed a clean and scoreless inning and junior Kyle McGowin drove home the day’s first earned run that last week’s high hopes showed merit. After the scrimmage, Pierson varsity baseball coach Sean Crowley told his team, “We ended on a good note and now we know what we need to work on.”

The positives in the two scrimmages was the work put in by all the prospective Whaler pitchers: T.J. Arreguin, Casey Crowley, Tyler Gilbride, Brandon Kruel, Gavin Kudlak, Joe Mascali, Kyle McGowin and Ryan Miller. Crowley, Gilbride and McGowin also showed poise behind the plate and in the batter’s box, Crowley, notably, finding his way on base four out of six times.

The failure to roll up routine plays on pop ups, slow rollers and force-outs prolonged the Whalers’ time in the field in both scrimmages, early season inconsistency too often taking hold. At the same time, Whaler baserunning broke down several scoring chances and kept the offense from sustaining any pressure on the opposition.

Experienced in the jitters of the pre-season, Coach Crowley seemed unfazed on Tuesday, encouraging his squad after practice, pointing out, “We’ve worked on the things we fell short on this weekend and now we get on the field again tomorrow [hosting Hampton Bays in a scrimmage yesterday] and Saturday [in a non-league contest at Southampton]. We have what we need to win and there’s nothing keeping us from making those our games.”

More Work Together

Lady Whaler varsity coach Melissa Edwards saw her squads’ on-field strengths and weaknesses for the first time in scrimmages against Centereach and Longwood on Saturday. In breaking down the action, she described both, noting, “We were relaxed and just played. We put some kids on base and moved them around. We have speed on the basepaths and that was amazing to see. But, we need to finish. We need to score the runners; we left too many on base on Saturday.”

Tuesday’s non-league opener in East Hampton saw the Lady Bonackers make off with a 9-0 win, two home runs powering their attack. Meanwhile, the Lady Whalers were kept off the basepaths for the most part, totaling just two hits as a team. Coach Edwards said afterwards, “We’ll be working on our offense the rest of the week. Our bats have to come alive if we want any chance of winning the league.”

Coach Edwards also plans on “working with our pitchers and catchers. They need to learn one another a bit better, and hone their skills whether it be pitching or catching.” She remains sure of her team adding, “I know all these kids have it in them. They can all do big things.” When asked whom she has relied on to lead the team, Coach Edwards said, “Sam Federico always steps up and Megan Pintauro has a great persona and the ability to fire everyone up. Lindsay Warne has also stepped it up through her playing ability.”

Inside the JVs

Saturday’s JV baseball game with Southampton will be a re-match of last Friday’s scrimmage that ended in a 5-5 tie. In that contest, Whaler pitchers Donald Doran, Hunter Leyser and Sean Romeo saw their first action of the spring; a Jake Weingartner single scored a pair and a Sean Romeo RBI single kept the game close.

JV baseball coach Henry Meyer likes that his team is “improving everyday on the fundamentals and getting to know what’s going on inside the lines. What we need to keep doing is sustaining our focus for all seven innings in games and all two hours in practice.”

JV softball coach Kathy Amicucci summed up her team’s scrimmages by saying, “We fielded pretty well. We were a little hesitant at the plate and we need to work on our baserunning which we’ve had some trouble doing since we only have 12 on the team.” That lack of practice didn’t slow her girls down Tuesday in East Hampton, Jessica Warne, Kerianne FitzPatrick and Chelsea Freleng all successfully stealing bases.

But that ability to move ahead on the basepaths wasn’t enough Tuesday, one eight-run inning in the field allowing the Lady Bonackers to put the game away, 13-2. Coach Amicucci felt her team “played well in the beginning and the end, but not so much in the middle”. She praised the pitching and composure of Lindsay Duran who “kept her head the whole game, despite what was going on around her. She never looked frustrated or showed emotion. She just kept on pitching, which is what we needed her to do.”

It Won’t Be Long: Practices Open, Scrimmages Next Week

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By Benito Vila

The snow started to come down late Monday afternoon a week to the day after a nor’easter closed schools and made for a wild white start to March. Throughout Pierson these flakes were not quite as welcome, baseball and softball players looking out windows, holding their gloves and heading for the gym for their first practices of the spring.

Incredibly enough, their teams are scheduled to play outdoors for the first time next week. The Lady Whalers open up their pre-season scrimmages next Thursday in Mashashimuet Park, the varsity and JV squads hosting Westhampton at 4 p.m. The Whalers scrimmage Southampton next Friday, the varsity at home in the park at 4 p.m. and the JV away at 3:30 p.m.

The boys are due to continue scrimmaging the very next day, the varsity heading over to East Hampton for a 10 a.m. start that Saturday and the JV meeting the Bonackers in the park. The girls have a non-league match-up with the Lady Bonackers away Tuesday, March 24 and are back in the park the next day to scrimmage Riverhead.


A Lucky Start

The Lady Whaler varsity will be led by Melissa Edwards, a 2001 Riverhead graduate and a 2005 Springfield College graduate who has previously coached softball at Suffolk University and at Brandeis University. The JV will once again have Kathy Amicucci at the helm.

Coach Edwards saw 26 players turn out for her first official practice practice Monday, and is looking to keep 14 on varsity. Having seen the girls throw in open gym sessions during the winter, she said afterwards, “I am very pleased with the core that we have returning. All the kids want to play; they are showing up, they’re working hard, and they all want a spot. When you have everyone there wanting it as bad as these kids do, you can’t not be happy with what they are bringing to the program.”

In describing what she wants to do in the next week, Coach Edwards added, “I am looking to see who wants the nine starting spots out there. I am fortunate to have more than one player at each position, and on top of that more than one player that can play the position well. I just need to sit back and watch who is going to run with it.”

Coach Edwards’ concern for her team goes beyond the field, noting, “These kids all like one another, so as a staff we are lucky. However, they sure can chat it up. They need a little more focus, because when these kids are focused their play improves tremendously. I would like to see all of them doing the little things, and that’s what this coaching staff is here to do: make these girls the best ball players we can, while making them great people. I want to see the girls to play instinctively and trust their stuff; I always want them looking ahead to the next play. Being a student of the game is a huge part of succeeding as a program.”


Ball in the Sky

Sean Crowley enters into his 22nd season as Whaler varsity baseball coach, looking to notch his 200th Pierson win and secure another berth in the county playoffs. The Whaler JV will be led by Bridgehampton history teacher Henry Meyer, a former Bonac baseball player and coach, who played catcher for Pace University.

The baseball Whalers were in the gym Monday and outside Tuesday, 30 strong, with the team assignments in flux. Coach Crowley said he expects “to use the first ten days to get the arms in shape, let the boys see the ball fly in the sky and set the focus on hitting so that we can take it to the opposition.”

With most of last year’s varsity pitchers returning, Coach Crowley admits he has “high expectations for the new season. Whenever a team returns with pitching, it should have high hopes.” Even with that seasoned talent, making for the playoffs will take some extra effort this spring, the Section XI (Suffolk County) rules committee recently requiring all qualifiers to have a better than .500 record; in years past, .500 was sufficient.

Coach Crowley likes the mood of both squads, having watched them come together in some informal winter workouts, which he said were “enough to prepare, but not so much that they aren’t fresh and enthused about a new season.”


There’s More

Softball and baseball are not the only options for Pierson students this spring. Lacrosse, track and tennis are also available through a “shared sports” program involving Ross, Shelter Island and East Hampton.

Pierson girls are the majority of the Ross girls’ JV lacrosse team, those Lady Whalers donning Ross blue to play with their Lady Raven and Lady Indian teammates. Pierson boys are also making their way down 114, delighted to be a part of the first Ross boys’ varsity lacrosse team.

Ross will also have Pierson boys and Pierson girls on its track teams, while East Hampton will have four Whalers coming to play tennis.