May 17, 2006
Playoff Roundup: Who's In, Who's Out And Who's On The Bubble
As another season of varsity baseball/softball draws to a close, The Independent takes a look at which teams have qualified for the playoffs, which teams are on the bubble, and which teams have said "sayonara" long before the postseason bell began to ring.
Who's in? This has not been the season that East End hardball fans had been expecting, although the unexpected did occur when Hampton Bays qualified for the playoffs with an upset win over defending League VII champion Bayport-Blue Point on a rainy Thursday afternoon.
The Baymen (9-8 in League VII) defeated the Phantoms 3-2 in the second game of a three-game series, with Anthony Andrews delivering a sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning that scored John Ledermann, who had doubled to lead off the inning. When Ledermann crossed the plate, he snapped a 2-2 tie, but more importantly, he represented the winning run, a run that sent Hampton Bays to its first playoff appearance since the spring of 2004.
The Baymen's presence in the postseason was also a result of a splendidly pitched game by starter Charlie Miller who threw a complete game-six-hitter, allowing only one run while striking out eight. Hampton Bays was not a playoff favorite entering the season but by winning two games against defending Class C champion Mattituck a week earlier, the Baymen made the most of their opportunity and cashed in.
Who's on the bubble? The Pierson Whalers (8-9 in League VIII) must win two of their final three games in order to make the playoffs and fortunately, their chances are more than good considering they play Shelter Island/Ross (1-12) in the final series this week.
Pencil in at least two wins for a Whalers team that refuses to quit regardless of who they face. With workhorse Andrew Mayer on the mound, a win is usually seven innings away.
East Hampton (4-9) started the League V season like a thoroughbred racehorse, sprinting out of the gates with a 4-0 record only to see its luck take a turn for the worse as the Bonackers have gone on to lose nine straight games. Yes, East Hampton must win all five of its remaining games and yes, that is all but impossible considering that the Bonackers have two games remaining with this year's League V champion Kings Park, but the spunky team sure made for interesting reading in the first few weeks of the season didn't they? Look for East Hampton to be at or above the.500 mark in 2007.
Who's out? Well, Southampton stayed in the race for a long time while Westhampton . . . well, let's just say better luck next year. The Mariners (5-10 in League VII) had some big wins this season as Zach Epley emerged as one of the premier pitchers in the league, winning five games although an inconsistent offense plagued the team throughout the year and a three-game sweep by Babylon last week ended their chances.
Meanwhile, Westhampton has somehow managed to become the only baseball team without a league win in Suffolk County this season, losing all 15 of its games. If the Hurricanes (0-15 in League VI) cannot manage to gain a victory in their final game of the season, they will hold the undistinguished honor of accumulating one of the all-time worst seasons in the history of Long Island high school baseball.
Who's in? East Hampton has made a statement and every team in League V should take heed; when you play the Bonackers, you better bring your best game. East Hampton (14-2 in League V) has won 12 straight games, cinched up second place in the league standings, and appears destined for a return to the class championship game. Jessie Stavola has pitched three no-hitters this season and the Bonackers offense have provided her with plenty of run support.
To quote the great Steve Winwood song, Hampton Bays is "back in the high life again" after constructing a fantastic season that has seen the Lady Baymen win 14 of their 16 League VII games.
Marian Leeman and Alyssa Lanino lead a talented Hampton Bays squad that should go deep in the playoffs later this month.
Who's on the bubble? Southampton, Westhampton, and Pierson. The Lady Mariners (8-8 in League VII) are one victory away from playoffville though it will be a tough task for the Kristen Kraszewski led team that must defeat either Mattituck (12-3) or Babylon (11-4) in order to get there.
The Hurricanes (8-7 in League VI) face a slightly easier assignment, needing to win today at Miller Place (10-5) or tomorrow at home against Smithtown East (9-5). The recent fabulous pitching provided by Westhampton's Alyssa Clancy (back-to-back shutouts) has been a pleasant surprise. One more win and the Hurricanes should be in.
Pierson (7-8 in League VIII) has to win three of its remaining four games to qualify; unlikely, but still possible. Super sophomore Laura Stafford gives the Lady Whalers a serious chance and if Pierson's bats are working, something special may happen.
Who's out? Incredibly, no one! This spring sports season, when it comes to the game with bases, girls definitely rule.