April 19, 2006
Whalers Take Two From Smithtown Christian
The legendary Chicago Cubs player and now Hall-of-Fame baseball player Ernie Banks used to reserve his classic quip, "let's play two!" for days that the sun shone and his team's bats were working their magic. The term referred to a doubleheader, something seldom seen in high school baseball anymore although once in a while, two schools will agree to play what has long been considered a nostalgic sporting event.
|Independent / Jessica Mackin
Junior Kevin O'Brien had two hits in Pierson's 13-4 game-one defeat of Smithtown Christian on Monday afternoon. The Whalers totaled 26 runs in the doubleheader. (click for larger version)|
|Independent / Jessica Mackin
Luke Robinson gave his all in a spot start for the Pierson baseball team although Hampton Bays prevailed 8-3 on Saturday in a non-league game. The Whalers went on to win a doubleheader against Smithtown Christian on Monday. (click for larger version)|
For head coach Sean Crowley's Pierson baseball team, a doubleheader couldn't have come at a better time as the Whalers awoke on Monday morning with a 2-4 League VII record and their playoff hopes evaporating with each loss.
By 4:30 p.m., Pierson was 4-4 in League VIII and right in the thick of the hunt for a postseason slot after handing Smithtown Christian identical 14-3 losses in both games of its doubleheader sweep. Thank you Ernie Banks!
"It's definitely a long day of baseball," said Crowley. "We had two complete games from our starting pitchers and that was key for us. We also had a lot of hits from all nine spots of our batting order. It was a good day."
In game one, which began at noon, Pierson built a 6-2 lead heading into the sixth inning before blowing the doors off Smithtown Christian by scoring six runs to put the contest out of reach. Junior Colin Connor had the best game of his young varsity career, nearly hitting for the cycle after collecting three hits including a single, double, and a triple to go along with his three RBI and five runs scored. "He certainly was an offensive power," said Crowley.
Junior Dan Reiser went the distance for Pierson, pitching all seven innings while keeping his pitch count to a bare bones minimum of 78 total throws to the plate. Reiser allowed five hits and only one of the three runs that Smithtown Christian scored was earned. He also struck out five batters. "Smithtown scored two runs in the first inning, but Dan settled down and pitched well from there," Crowley said.
Kevin O'Brien and CJ Shank, both juniors, each had two hits in the first game as did senior co-captain Aaron Rozzi, the Whalers leading hitter after eight league games.
In the second game of the doubleheader, which took place after a short carbohydrate break, Pierson picked up where it left off, posting 14 more runs to Smithtown Christian's three.
The Whalers received another complete game effort, this time from senior pitcher and staff ace Andrew Mayer, who made his 2006 debut after missing three weeks with a fractured thumb. "Andrew was effective and had a low pitch count in every inning. He only ran into trouble in the last inning," said Crowley. "After a three-week layoff, he came in and proved to us just how much we missed him."
Mayer did not allow an earned run, allowed five hits and walked only two while showing impeccable control in his first start of the season. He showed no effects of the thumb injury that sidelined him, striking out eight Smithtown Christian hitters with an array of above-average pitches.
Pierson scored four runs in the third, fifth, and seventh innings with the eventual game-winning hit coming off the bat of senior second baseman Dan DePetris. DePetris (two hits), who bats second in the Whalers lineup, delivered a bases-loaded triple in the third inning, smashing a scorching line drive over the Smithtown Christian right-fielder's head to score three runs for Pierson. He finished the game with four RBI.
Reiser also had a big afternoon at the plate, coming up one hit short of the cycle as his single, double, and triple accounted for his three hits and he also knocked in three runs.
In other news, Hampton Bays traveled to Mashashimuet Park on Saturday morning to play Pierson in a non-league contest.
The Baymen (2-4 in League VII, 4-4 overall) saw Mike Kovar and Keith Finer each go 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored as Hampton Bays won 8-3 after jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the opening inning.
Hampton Bays put itself in position to win its most recent League VII series when it recorded a 10-8 win over Babylon (4-2) on April 10 in a game that saw John Ledermann's two-run single highlight the Baymen's five-run second inning. Kovar banged out three hits in four at-bats and added two RBI and two runs scored.
Unfortunately for Hampton Bays, it was shut out…and no hit the next day in the third game of the Babylon series, losing 10-0 as Panthers sophomore pitcher Willy Rivas struck out nine Baymen batters and walked four to record the first career no-hitter.
Pierson had entered the game against Hampton Bays suffering back-to-back losses to Southold/Greenport (3-3) although the Whalers' offense had been showing signs of breaking out; averaging three runs in each of their last three games. Unfortunately for Smithtown Christian, they stood in the way of the Pierson hit parade on Monday. And the band kept right on playing.