Tag Archive | "Whalers"

Whalers Baseball Wins in Dramatic Fashion

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Pierson's Johnny Chisholm is mobbed by teammates after scoring the winning run against Smithtown Christian on Tuesday.

Pierson’s Johnny Chisholm is mobbed by teammates after scoring the winning run against Smithtown Christian on Tuesday.

By Gavin Menu

Freshman James Sherry sparked a late-inning rally and the Pierson baseball team rebounded from a challenging start to the season with a dramatic walk-off win over visiting Smithtown Christian on Tuesday afternoon.

Trailing 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, Sherry roped a double to the outfield fence for his fourth hit of the game. The game was tied moments later when Sherry came home to score after a pick-off attempt at third base sailed into left field.

Johnny Chisholm followed with a walk and Smithtown Christian starter Jack Palma, a senior who had been dominant all afternoon, was pulled from the game. Jimmy Seviour, a hard-throwing freshman, came on in relief but walked two more batters, including Tim Markowski, whose game-winning RBI scored Chisholm and sparked a wild and unexpected celebration at home plate.

“We’ve been close in a lot of games, but things haven’t been going our way,” said head coach Jon Tortorella, referencing the team’s slow start in non-league competition, which included losses to Southampton, Westhampton and East Hampton. “I know it wasn’t conventional, but they kept fighting. [Smithtown Christian] is a very good team and a win against them is a big win.”

The bad news came later on Wednesday when word came back that Markowski had actually broken his hand earlier in the game, even telling Tortorella moments after his game-winning walk that he likely would not  have been able to swing the bat even if he had been given the chance.

Tortorella said Markowski will miss at least the next month of action as a result of the injury.

Playing at East Hampton on Friday, the Whalers lost, 3-1, to drop to 1-3 in non-league play. Then, as fate had it, Tuesday’s league opener came against Smithtown Christian, which was one of only two teams to beat Pierson all of last year.

But there was a sense following Tuesday’s victory that a new journey had begun for this particular group of Whalers, one that will continue today, April 3, with the second game of a three-game series against Smithtown Christian at 4:30 p.m. The remainder of the series, which will be the last between the teams this season, will be played on the Crusaders’ home field, and whoever wins twice will have an early leg up in the hunt for a League IX title.

“There’s no driver seat right now,” Tortorella said when asked what a win in the series would mean for his program. “We have to play for Thursday, and that’s it. There’s a long way to go.”

Prior to arriving in Sag Harbor, the Crusaders this season beat Center Moriches and Comsewogue, two good teams from much larger schools. Adding to the challenge for Pierson on Tuesday was Palma, the Crusaders’ ace pitcher, whose unorthodox delivery kept hitters off balance for much of the afternoon. Going into the final inning, Palma had recorded six strikeouts while allowing just five hits and a single run scored by Aaron Schiavoni off a sacrifice fly by Nick Kruel in the fourth inning.

But after giving up the double to Sherry and the walk to Chisholm in the bottom of the seventh, Palma left with a one-run lead and responsibility for both the tying and winning runs on base. Seviour, the freshman reliever, was unable to find the strike zone and the Crusaders left Sag Harbor with an all-too familiar result.

Kruel, who will start game three of the series, picked up the win for Pierson after tossing two scoreless innings of relief for starter Forrest Loesch.

Whalers pitcher Nick Kruel.

Whalers pitcher Nick Kruel.

“Forrest gave us some really good innings, and Nick battled and  got us through those last two innings,” Tortorella said. “He made some big pitches when he had to.”

When asked about Sherry’s performance on Tuesday, Pierson’s head coach couldn’t help but use the word “awesome” over and over again.

“He was awesome today,” Tortorella said about his freshman outfielder, who also plays shortstop when Loesch is on the mound and will replace Markowski as the team’s number three starter for the time being. “He’s gotten better everyday and he’s getting more and more confident.

“He’s still only a freshman,” Tortorella added, “but he’s really starting to feel comfortable about himself.”

Pierson's Johnny Chisholm, who scored the winning run on Tuesday, puts the ball in play against Smithtown Christian.

Pierson’s Johnny Chisholm, who scored the winning run on Tuesday, puts the ball in play against Smithtown Christian.

Bridgehampton Lives to Fight Another Day

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Bridgehampton will play at Greenport in a Suffolk County Class D semifinal on Wednesday, February 12 at 6 p.m.

Bridgehampton will play at Greenport in a Suffolk County Class D semifinal on Wednesday, February 12 at 6 p.m.

By Gavin Menu; photography by Michael Heller

The Suffolk County Class D playoffs were scheduled to begin last night, February 12, with a veritable frenzy of competition compared to years past as four teams including Greenport, Smithtown Christian, Shelter Island and Bridgehampton kicked off the 2014 boys basketball postseason.

The top-seeded Porters were scheduled to host Bridgehampton last night in a game that occurred too late for this edition. The Killer Bees successfully petitioned Section XI, the county’s governing body of athletics, for a berth despite finishing the regular-season with a sub-.500 record against League VIII competition.

Coverage from last night’s game is available at sagharboronline.com. The winner will have advanced to play either Smithtown Christian or Shelter Island for the Class D Championships at Longwood High School at noon on Saturday.

In recent years, only two Class D schools have faced off for the county championship. But parity ruled the ranks this season, with Greenport, Smithtown Christian and Shelter Island all finishing with 8-8 records in league play. Bridgehampton finished 7-9, but was 5-3 against Class D schools, which was the determining factor in Section XI’s decision to let the Bees compete.

“Right now, we’re all the same, and anyone can beat anyone on any given night,” head coach Carl Johnson said on Monday after the Section XI brackets were announced. “Whoever is playing and executing the best is going to win the game.”

Bridgehampton had a chance to stamp its own ticket to the postseason last week, but suffered a 68-64 loss to Greenport at home on Thursday, February 6. The Bees led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but Greenport’s Angel Colon emerged from halftime on fire, scoring 10 straight points to trim Bridgehampton’s lead to 40-37 in a matter of minutes.

Foul trouble was a major factor all night as well, with both Josh Lamison and Tylik Furman, Bridgehampton’s top two players, fouling out in the fourth quarter. The Bees have a short bench and regularly play their starting five the distance when foul trouble is not a factor.

Furman finished with 25 points against Greenport, while Lamison had 19.

“We’re going to have to re-think our strategy, and try to keep the game close while they’re on the bench with foul trouble,” Johnson said on Monday.

Gavin Dibble, who also fouled out in the fourth quarter, led Greenport with 25 points while Colon finished with 16.

The Killer Bees’ role players, including Henry Kotz, Kevin Feliciano, Matt Hochstedler and Max Cheng, played hard down the stretch alongside regular starters Anaje Lamb and Jerome Walker, but the team lacked the offensive firepower to hold a three-point lead when Furman joined Lamison on the bench with 5:04 remaining. Greenport closed out the game with a 9-0 run.

The Bees finished the regular season with a 53-30 win over Knox on Friday.

Whalers Soccer Earns Tough Draw for Playoffs

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By Gavin Menu

This might be a déjà vu the Whalers would rather soon forget.

The Pierson-Bridgehampton boys soccer team closed out the regular season Tuesday with a 1-0 home loss to undefeated Port Jefferson and will now play the defending New York State champion Royals for a second straight time in the opening round of the Suffolk County Class C playoffs on Halloween afternoon on Port Jeff’s home turf.

Talk about a scary stretch of back-to-back games.

“It’s a form of punishment for all the evil things we have done,” Whalers head coach Peter Solow joked before Tuesday’s game.

Solow quickly turned more serious, though, and said the Whalers will need to play a near perfect game to upset the Royals (11-0), the regular season League VIII champions who are widely regarded as the best team in the county regardless of classification. The Royals are stacked from top to bottom, Solow said, with All-State talent in seniors Vincent Antonelli and Blake Bohlen leading a potent line-up that returned in its entirety from last year.

“We have no control of who they are or what they do on the field,” Solow said. “But we can control how we play, and no matter who we’re playing now, we have to play extremely well in order to win.”

The Whalers did play well for much of the game on Tuesday and had several scoring chances early in the first half. But Port Jeff’s methodical attack eventually paid off with a goal off a corner by Gerard Racanelli with 24 minutes left in the game.

Solow had been hoping that Pierson would finish the regular season as the third seed in a four-team playoff bracket, but instead the Whalers, who finished with a 6-5-1 record in league play, lost, 3-0, at Greenport on Saturday to lose grip on the third playoff position. Greenport will play at second-seeded Southold in Wednesday’s other semifinal game.

“We didn’t play smart and we were outplayed,” Solow said when asked about the game against Greenport. “We had four or five incredible opportunities early, but we didn’t put the ball on goal.”

Pierson’s seniors, who include stalwarts Christian Bautista, Jackson Marienfeld and Giordan Zeas as well as Christian Figueroa, Alex Gurvich, Aditya Nugraha and Omar Reyes, played their final game at Mashashimuet Park on Tuesday and will have at least one more chance to leave a lasting legacy on Whalers soccer.

“We want to go out and play the best game we can,” Solow said bluntly. “We want their last game to be something they’re proud of.”

Wednesday’s game at Port Jefferson is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.


Girls Season Comes to an End


The Pierson-Bridgehampton girls soccer team suffered a disappointing end to its season with three straight losses that knocked the Lady Whalers from playoff contention.

After a 4-2 win over Ross on October 15, the Lady Whalers needed two wins in their last three games to gain a playoff spot, but fell, 4-2, to Stony Brook on October 19 to set up must-win situations in their final two games. Those victories proved, elusive, however, as Pierson lost, 6-1, to Port Jefferson on October 19 before closing out the year with a 1-0 loss to Smithtown Christian on Monday.

Pierson, which finished with an overall record of 4-8-2, played well during stretches of the season behind a senior class that included co-captains Sophie Gianis and goalie Julia Schiavoni. In addition to Gianis and Schiavoni, Sarah Arbia, Lindsay Cox, Vanessa Cruz, Elizabeth Grigonis and Sara Hartman all played their last game this week for the Lady Whalers.


Whalers Fall in Long Island C Final

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In their search for a Long Island Class C Championship, the Pierson Whalers boys varsity basketball team came within just one game. Faced with the tough interior game and up-tempo style of play of the East Rockaway Rocks, Pierson fell in a landslide, 63-25, loss.

This game, played on the night of Tuesday, March 6 at the campus of SUNY Farmingdale, pitted the Whalers, the Suffolk County Class C Champions, with their Nassau County equivalents, the East Rockaway Rocks. With a win, either team would have the honor of hanging a Long Island Championship patch in their gym and also move on to the next round of New York State Class C playoffs.

Pierson began the game competitively going shot for shot with East Rockaway in the first quarter. Up 10-8 in the middle of the first quarter, the Whalers’ intensity wavered and they began to fall behind.

In the second half the Rocks were all over the Whalers, forcing turnovers and marching the ball to Pierson’s basket. A 24-0 run in the first half by the Rocks took the wind out of the Whalers’ sails early. By the end of the half Pierson was down 38-18.

The Rocks didn’t let up in the second half, closing down the Whalers half court offense, while simultaneously running up the score on the outclassed Whalers. The Whalers only scored 5 points in the second half.

The Whalers were never able to find their shot in the game, only shooting 29.6 percent from the field.

Starting shooting guard Joe Butts led the Whalers in scoring with 10 points; he went 3-3 from the three-point arc. Forrest Loesch finished with 4 points, Sam Miller had 3 points, Jackson Marienfeld had 3 points, Jake Bennett had 3 points, Pat Sloane had 2 points, and Kurt Ryder had 2 points.

Whalers’ Tough Start

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By Jacob Sisson

It has been a tough season thus far for the Pierson/Bridgehampton Whalers boys’ basketball team, having endured four losses in their first four games of the 2010-2011 season. The Whalers ended 2010 0-1 in Suffolk County league eight play and 0-4 overall, having dropped their only league matchup to Southold, as well as two non-league matchups to East Hampton and one to Hampton Bays.

Despite the tough start to the season, Pierson/Bridgehampton coach Dan White is still optimistic about his team’s chances at a playoff berth. Making the playoffs this year will be quite the accomplishment for the first-year coach, after the Whalers finished the 2009-2010 season with a 2-16 record.
“When you go 2-16 the previous year and then all of a sudden you’re in a position to win games, it’s a totally different mentality. We’re trying to get through that and when we do, we can do some damage.”

“Our goals are still intact. Our goal has been to make the playoffs and that’s still the goal. We’re better right now than where we started. We have proved we can play with good teams. The team still has their goal and they still believe in it.”

Pierson/Bridgehampton’s season started with a pair of tough games against East Hampton (3-5, 0-2), and it was clear that while the wins didn’t come, the Whalers were finding their identity as a team. The Whalers kept the scoreline manageable at 44-33 in the teams’ first meeting, then pushed into overtime in their second, dropping the second contest 53-51. The second East Hampton game on December 12 provided coach White with his first real insight into what the Whalers need to do to run with the league’s elite.

“In that East Hampton game, the guys got out to a lead and started to think: ‘oh my gosh, we can win this!’ But then, all of a sudden, they get nervous. Instead of trying to keep all the doors open, they get nervous. They’ve got to understand that when you’re in a position to win, you have to really put the nail in the coffin, but that’s a learning experience.”

White does know that there are things the Whalers are doing well and things the Whalers can work on to improve their playoff chances.

“When we make a commitment to get the ball inside, and when we make a commitment to playing good half court defense, that’s what we hang our hat on. Whenever we get away from that we start to struggle a bit. We’ve also got to become better at taking care of the ball and doing a better job of looking out for each other on the weak side. We need to do a better job, too, of playing for each other on offense. We’ve started to do it, but we have to do it all the time.” White points to four individuals who have really carried the team when it comes to production and leadership.

“Seamus Doyle, Skyler Loesch, Jake Weingartner and Patrick Sloane have stepped up as far as scoring, being leaders and playing the majority of our minutes. They’ve also been really good on defense. We’ve really been relying on them.”

“Jake Weingartner has come back and been really important for me this year. He didn’t play last year, but played varsity as a Sophomore, so I wasn’t sure how he was going to fit in. He’s a smart kid and he knows the game of basketball and he’s been great.”

Despite two stinging losses to close out 2010, confidence in the Whalers’ camp is still high. Though it won’t show up on the score sheet, the Whalers took home a scrimmage victory against Sayville, which has given the team vital momentum ahead of their first games of the new year.

“We went to Sayville and got a win in the scrimmage. On top of that, we had a really good week of practice. We may face our toughest games coming right out of the break, but I think we’re ready.”

“We’ve got Greenport, Stony Brook and Port Jefferson coming up. Those are the three best teams in the league, so that’s going to be a difficult run for us. We’ll be competitive if we do the things we need to do. We’re going to have to do some damage against some of the lesser teams in the league to put ourselves in position to make the playoffs.”

The Whalers get their season back underway on Friday with a league eight matchup against Greenport (5-0, 2-0). Greenport’s two league eight victories came against Bridgehampton (0-5, 0-1) – a 66-34 blowout on December 15 – and against Southold (3-3, 1-1) – a 61-54 victory on Tuesday.

Pierson/Bridgehampton will need to work hard to stop Greenport’s Dantre Langhorne, who scored 27 points each in his last two games and hasn’t scored fewer than 20 points once this season.

Whalers Fall in Openers

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By Jacob Sisson

The Pierson/Bridgehampton Whalers boy’s basketball team continues to search for its first win of the season after dropping a pair of games, including its first League VIII loss of the year, in Southold on Friday night and in Hampton Bays on Tuesday.

The Whalers did their best to contain Southold, coming within nine points of victory but eventually falling 43-34 in their first league defeat of 2010. Later in the week, the Whalers could do little to stop League VII’s Hampton Bays as the Baymen delivered a 73-32 defeat.

Against Southold, Pierson/Bridgehampton looked to be well matched against a team that had enjoyed mixed results in their non-league season. A win against League Five’s Rocky Point gave Southold a solid boost in the lead up to the game, and showed that they were going to be one of the teams the Whalers would have to beat if they hoped to score a League VIII championship.

The first quarter started promising enough for the Whalers, who managed to finish the first eight minutes tied 9-9 with the Settlers. They also managed to hold things close at the close of the first half, down just five points at the intermission with the score at 21-16.

Southold began to edge away in the third quarter, outscoring the Whalers 11-5, and despite a rediscovered fight, managed to close out the game 43-34 despite being outscored by the Whalers 13-11 in the game’s final eight minutes.

Senior Skyler Loesch led the Whalers on the score sheet for the first time this season, contributing 10 of the team’s 34 points. Fellow senior Tyler Gilbride was next on the list, adding seven points, while seniors Seamus Doyle and Jake Weingartner each had six points.

While the Whalers were able to keep things manageable against Southold, they could do little to contain the scoring trio of Hampton Bays’ Cameron Booth, Luke Mercurio and Justin Carbone, who combined for 51 of Hampton Bays’ 73 points.

After just one quarter, the Whalers were already in a 15-7 hole, and things weren’t getting much better. After being outscored 21-8 in the second quarter, the Whalers were in for a Hampton Bays outburst that saw 29 points go up in the Baymen’s favor. After three quarters the score was 65-26, and Hampton Bays could cruise to a 73-32 victory.

Despite it coming in a losing effort, Pierson/Bridgehampton’s senior leadership did their job in leading the team, with Tyler Gilbride knocking down nine points followed closely by Skyler Loesch who added eight and Seamus Doyle who chipped in another six points.

The Whalers will have some time to work on the lessons they learned against Southold and Hampton Bays as they don’t have another official game until January 7. Once the holiday break is over, Pierson/Bridgehampton will return to action against Greenport, who currently sit undefeated atop League VIII thanks to league wins against Bridgehampton and a four-win non-league season. From there, the schedule does not let up as the Whalers are back in action four days later against Stony Brook, who have yet to play their first League VIII match, but recorded a one-point victory in their first game of the season against League VII’s Babylon.

Whalers on an Uptick

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By Andrew Rudansky

This week the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League passed the midway point in their season, with the Sag Harbor Whalers at a disappointing half-a-game out of last place. But their poor record, currently 8-13, this far into the season does not reflect their level of play in the past few games. Since the start of the month the whalers have gone 3 and 2, both losses coming from close games that could have gone either way.

On Friday, July 2, the Whalers surged ahead of the Southampton Breakers with two runs scored in the first inning. They held on for a 5-2 win thanks to starting pitcher Ryan Mikalsen, and team slugger Kevin Grove who hit his third home run of the season.

The following day the Whalers played host to the Riverhead Tomcats for a grueling double-header. Whaler pitcher Andrew English was rattled by Riverhead’s power hitting and the game quickly turned into a 6-1 flop. However, in the bottom of the fifth the Whalers thundered back with four runs of their own. This proved to be too little too late; when in the last inning, with no outs and the tying run on second base the Tomcats showcased their game closing ability, finishing the game with a 6-5 Riverhead victory.

The second game of the doubleheader was a pitching duel between Tomcat Joey Novak and Whaler Ryan Bresnahan who only allowed six hits between the two of them. The Whalers won the extra-innings game 1-0, splitting the double-header when Kevin Grove hit an RBI Double.

Sunday, July 4, the Whalers fought another pitching battle, this time against the last-place Southampton Breakers. The game, which was tied at zero well into extra innings, was decided by a bottom of the inning surge by the Breakers, who won, 5-1.

On Tuesday, July 6, the Whalers beat the top-seeded North Fork Ospreys in a hard fought 6-4 victory.

“Earlier in the season we may have laid down and taken a loss,” said Whalers Assistant Coach Dave Pahucki, “but it’s good to see [the team] take their swings, bear down on the mound and play defense.” The Whalers are eight-and-a-half games behind first place, but there is still plenty of time left in the season and they are still very much in the chase.

Whalers Off to 2-1 Start

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By Jesse Rosenthal

The Sag Harbor Whalers, our own summer league collegiate baseball team, kicked off the 2010 season last week with a win (4-2) against the Southampton Breakers on Friday and a loss (3-1) against the North Fork Ospreys on Saturday. This Tuesday the Whalers improved their record to 2-1 with an 11-5 victory in Westhampton against the Aviators.

With another thirty-six games to be played this season, sixteen of which are home games in Sag Harbor’s own Mashashimuet park, there will be plenty of quality baseball to be seen this summer through the end of July.

After multiple injuries led to a disappointing finish in 2009, the Whalers are looking for a fresh start and some forward progress in new Head Coach Jim Buckley. Buckley spent five years playing the Boston Red Sox farm system, playing as high as Triple-A Pawtucket in 2005 and 2006. Most recently, Buckley has been the Head baseball instructor at All-Pro Sports Academy in Bellport, N.Y.

The Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League has had some fairly notable alumni move on to the majors including Jamie Moyer (Cubs), Frank Viola (Mets / Twins) and Walt  Weiss (Athletics).

The team’s roster this season includes thirty-two players attending colleges and universities across the country, who hail from hometowns as close as right here in Sag Harbor and as far as Seymour, TX and Las Vegas, NV.

Left fielder Ryan Miller, a freshman at SUNY Cobleskill, calls Sag Harbor home, and C Michael Rodriguez, a Junior at Pace, is from East Hampton.

With only three games played, “the stars of the team have yet to show they’re day in and day out ability to be consistent,” said coach Buckley, but if Tuesday’s game in Westhampton was any indication, the players are beginning to adapt to the use of wood bats for the first time in game situations.

“We began swinging the bats well on Tuesday,” said Buckley. “Luke Campbell had two big hits for us and was tough all day.” Right fielder Kevin Grove also came up big for the Whalers, hitting a three-run homer in the first inning, helping the Whalers get out to an early 5-0 lead in the top of the first.

Pitching has been sharp too according to Buckley. The starting pitching rotation so far has been Ryan Bresnahan, Anthony Mannuccia and Sam Robertson. “All of them thus far have pitched very well,” said Buckley. Bresnahan gave up only one run over six innings, Mannuccia pitched five scoreless and Robertson gave up two over five innings.

In Tuesday’s game at Westhampton, Kyle Prohovich came in to relieve Elmore in the top of the sixth for a bases  loaded, one out situation and got the batter to hit into a double-play on one pitch. Not bad.

The defense saw some cohesion on Tuesday as well. After committing two errors in each of the first two games, none were made in the win in Westhampton.

In addition to playing baseball, the Sag Harbor Whalers are involved in community outreach with local schools. The players participated in the daily morning program at Sag Harbor Elementary last friday, and will be attending a barbecue at Bridgehampton School this Thursday night.

Because most of the players are from different parts of the state, and in many instances different parts of the country, there resources are somewhat limited when it comes to finding summer jobs in the hamptons, a task that can be daunting even for local residents.

Anyone with information about summer jobs or anyone interested in housing a player can contact General Manager Tom Gleeson at (516) 361-0998 or General Manager Sandi Kruel at (631)725-9138.

Also, be sure to come see Legendary Yankees pitcher Tommy John who will be in attendance at Saturday’s Westhampton vs. Sag Harbor rematch which starts at 5 p.m. in Mashashimuet Park. John will be there at 5 to meet and greet players and fans from the community.

Boys Struggle to Find a Win

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by Jesse Rosenthal

It’s been a rough road for the Pierson Varsity Baseball team so far this season. Following a blowout 11-1 loss in Hampton Bays to conclude their non-league series, and posting a 5-4 loss in Port Jefferson on Tuesday, the boys let the lead slip away at home last night against Port Jefferson, losing 5-3 in the second game of a three game series.

“We keep making mistakes,” said Coach Tortorella immediately following the loss to Port Jefferson. After playing solid baseball through five innings, mistakes in the field late in the game are indeed what cost the Whalers a win last night.

After Kyle McGowin gave up an early run in the top of the first, the Whalers offense responded quickly in the bottom half to tie the game. A single through the gap into left field off the bat of Tyler Gilbride, and another base hit from Jake Federico, followed by a stolen base from each base runner put runners in scoring position for Pitcher Kyle McGowin, who was able to drive in Federico on a ground ball to the shortstop.

With no runs scored in the second or third from either side, McGowin struck out the side in the top of the fourth, and the Whalers were able to go ahead in the bottom half.

A walk and a single for McGowin and Jake Weingartner put two on for slugger Brandon Kruel. A long sacrifice fly to center field from Kruel let McGowin tag up for the go-ahead run. A double up the right field line from LF Gavin Kudlak drove in Weingartner to make it 3-1 Whalers.

Unfortunately, Pierson wouldn’t be able to hold on to the lead. An uneventful fifth gave way to a sixth where poor decision making was costly. With two outs and a man on second, a grounder to third and wide throw to first left runners on the corners. After an uncontested stolen base put both runners in scoring position, Port Jefferson’s batter produced a lucrative check swing.

Catcher Eddie Schall lost the ball behind the plate allowing one run to score. Compensating, Schall through to third but the ball ended up in shallow left and the game was tied at three a piece.

After going three-up three-down in the bottom of the sixth, the top of seven saw the wheels falling off for the Whalers. A walk and two stolen bases put a runner on third for Port Jefferson. A good play on a hard ground ball to short and a solid throw home from Tyler Gilbride weren’t enough to keep Port Jeff from scoring the go-ahead run. A missed tag allowed another runner to steal second. Another ground ball to short, followed by a wild throw to first base gave Port Jefferson their fifth and final run of the game.

The Whalers were able to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to capitalize on the situation, leaving the bases juiced to end the game.

“We played better in spurts tonight,” said Tortorella of Wednesdays loss. “We just need to be more consistent. That goes for all aspects of the game.”

The Whalers have one more coming up on Friday in Port Jefferson to round out the series, and a three game series with Southold next week. Home games are on Tuesday and Friday the 27th and 30th.

Ravens Top Whalers for the First Time

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By Benito Vila

The new kid. Everyone likes his toys but they don’t know what to make of him. No one knows how long he’ll be around and he’s sort of awkward when he tries to do what everyone else has been doing for a long time.

That can all be true of new schools, too, coming on the scene where others have been for years. So it has been for Ross, the private school seeming to emphasize experiential learning over traditional practices.

But as Ross closes out its second decade, the local community is seeing its more conventional “academic” programs mature. That is plainly evident in athletics, Ross teams starting to be ones that no one wants to play.

No longer easy to beat, those teams are making a name for themselves. That’s become true in tennis and now it’s true in basketball, the Ross boys’ varsity team protecting their home court on Tuesday and upending their Pierson rivals for the first-time ever, 54-47.

Ross now stands 3-0 in League VIII play while one-time state powerhouse Pierson is 0-3. This coming week is one that will prove whether those starts are flukes or a preview of what’s to come this winter.

Pierson has Greenport home on Friday, Stony Brook away Monday, Smithtown Christian home Wednesday and Bridgehampton home next Friday. Ross, meanwhile, has Stony Brook away today, Bridgehampton home Tuesday, Southold away Wednesday and Greenport home Friday. That sets the Whalers against the current middle of the league, with the Ravens taking on mostly the top.

There’s no knowing where the teams will end up, but what was clear Tuesday is that Ross can pass and shoot and that Pierson has hustle and depth that can keep it in games. Neither school, though, seems to have a dominant go-to force and both will need to rely on effort and teamwork to win.

Chaskey, Pettaway and More

It was Ross’ free throw shooting that put the game away Tuesday, 16 of the Ravens’ last 20 points coming from the line. Pierson, meanwhile, managed to work out of a nine-point hole with two minutes remaining to have a whistle with 30 seconds left derail a near comeback.

Even though the win was a team effort, it was sophomore Liam Chaskey who kept Ross in the game, scoring 18 of his team’s 22 first-half points, the Ravens up one at the break. Twelve of Chaskey’s points came from beyond the arc, each of those four three-pointers dropping through the net after Pierson had started to pull away.

In the second half, the Whalers shadowed and shut down Chaskey’s outside shooting, but junior forward Brendan Pettaway stepped up to distribute the ball inside and create another tempo. The two teams played even in the third quarter, the score 34-33 Ross going into the final frame.

The Wild, Wild Fourth

The physical, pounding nature of the contest took its toll in the fourth, Pierson coach Christian Johns being ejected for pointing out what he wanted to be called a foul. That double technical brought Chaskey to the line for four shots, Ross up 36-33 with seven minutes to go.

Chaskey made three out of four, the Ravens going up six, 39-33. Ross maintaining possession, Chaskey almost put the game away there, his three pointer going in and out.

Pierson stayed close, coming to within two, at 39-37, with four minutes left to play, an in-bounds play drawn up by Whaler coaches Dan White and Jonathan Tortorella freeing Tyler Gilbride for a lay-up.

The next two minutes saw Ross go on a 6-0 run, all the points coming from the foul line, Fuhito Yoshiba, a perfect four-for-four and Chaskey and Hayden Aldredge adding one apiece.

Four free throws by Tyler Gilbride and two by Sklyer Loesch lifted the Whalers back into the game, at 48-43, with 47.5 seconds left. Regaining possession with a full-court press, Pierson played for two, Luke Kirrane making that plan work, his basket cutting the Raven lead to 48-45 with 35.3 seconds left.

On the next Ross possession, a whistle against the Whalers put Pettaway on the line and he halted the Pierson charge by sinking both shots.

Taking the ball, down five, 50-45, with 30 seconds left, the Whalers were still alive. But a blocked shot and another foul, followed by two more free throws from Yoshiba, buried them, making the score 52-45 with 13 seconds left.

Chaskey and Yoshiba closed out the Ross scoring, each getting a point from the line. Gilbride did the same for Pierson, sinking a pair of free throws with five seconds left, the scoreboard reading 54-47 Ravens at the buzzer.

The gleeful, overflowing Ross crowd came on the court at the buzzer, as what was left of the Pierson side filed out silently.

All On MSG Varsity

Ross coach Kelly McKee was subdued afterwards, cleaning up gear as most high school coaches do after a big win, players minds suddenly going elsewhere.

In summarizing the game, Coach McKee said, “We were sloppy in the first half but much better in the second half. Liam put two halves together and that made it easier on everyone else to play their roles. Both Brendan and Fuhito made big shots at the end, but so did Hayden. And Lorcan [Jowers] and Charles [McIntosh] kept giving us extra chances underneath.”

Coming back to the court later, Chaskey was clearly delighted by the outcome and the fact Cablevision’s MSG Varsity network was there to record his performance. “[Pierson] came out on us man-to-man and we haven’t seen a lot of that. No one else was scoring, so I had to keep shooting, and there was a while when I couldn’t miss.”

“Every time I touched the ball in the second half, there was someone facing me. They were switching people up all the time. That made us all really have to work together and we did.”

The Pierson coaches were quiet about the outcome and the ejection of Coach Johns. By rule, Coach Johns will be unable to lead Pierson in its next game, Coach White and Coach Tortorella taking the helm Friday as the Whalers host Greenport at 6:15 p.m.

The next Ross home game is Monday, the Bridgehampton Killer Bees in for a 4:30 start.