May 31, 2006
Whalers Win The "C" Title
Down 1-0 in their best of three games Class C championship series against Bishop McGann/Mercy, the Pierson/Bridgehampton baseball team didn't appear to be too concerned that its backs were against the wall. The Whalers never pressed the panic button and their coach refused to allow the "must win" mentality to cloud his players thoughts as Pierson won the second game and pushed the series to a third and deciding contest on Monday back at Mercy High School.
Sean Crowley's team was focused and prepared to give its best effort to secure a title that had eluded his talented team a year ago. When the final out was recorded and the Whalers walked off the Monarchs field with a convincing 9-4 win, it put an exclamation point on the season for a team that battled all season to get back to this point.
"We didn't have to relive the first two games thankfully, said Crowley moments after Pierson completed its escorted parade down Main Street. "This year's team certainly accomplished this, but some of the credit for getting here also belongs to last year's seniors including guys like Mike Semkus, Evan Harse and Mike Labrozzi. Everyone affiliated with this team shares in this. "I'm very proud of this team because we didn't start out with guns a'blazing, but we worked hard to get here. This is a great experience for everyone, especially the seniors. It's great for them to go out with a championship banner."
Those seniors (Dan DePetris, Andrew Mayer, Steve McLaughlin, Luke Robinson, Julian Rossow-Greenberg, Aaron Rozzi and Kyle McArdle) each played key roles in the Mercy series.
Rossow-Greenberg delivered a two-out single in the top of the fourth inning that scored C.J. Schank and Mayer to give Pierson (13-13 overall) a 6-1 lead after Mayer had doubled home a run in the first inning. Mayer went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles on Monday.
Junior Dan Reiser pitched a complete game, going the distance in a seven-inning display while walking four to give the Whalers their first county title since 2001. He also had two hits in the game.
"Dan was on a good pitch count," said Crowley. "He threw 116, but a lot were strikes. I didn't want to make a [pitching] move, because he was pitching strong and we had good defense behind him." Rozzi (2-for-3) had an RBI single in the seventh inning, as did Robinson.
Pierson scored two runs in the first inning, four in the third and three in the ninth, totaling 12 hits without committing a single error. "We needed to close the game and we really made sure plays," Crowley said. "Having the lead certainly helped and we didn't let [Mercy's] strong middle of the order hurt us today."
The Monarchs (13-11 overall) took a 1-0 lead in the best of three-game series on Thursday with a 3-2 come from behind win after trailing 2-0. In that game, Eric Coome drove home two runs for Mercy by hitting a deep fly ball to centerfield with no outs in the bottom of the seventh that scored Rob Scarpati from third base and Brian Meier from second.
Pierson answered with a 3-2 win of its own on Saturday behind the pitching of Mayer who struck out five, walked two and allowed no earned runs in a complete game seven-hitter. Pierson had taken a 3-0 lead after the fifth inning thanks to timely hits by Schank, Kevin O'Brien and Colin Conner. Other Whalers players that helped contribute in the series were junior Brandon Lapointe, sophomore Mike DePetris and freshman Casey Crowley. "We were completely prepared for the second and third game," said Crowley. We came into the playoffs healthy and prepared and it helped that Andrew had an extra day of rest."
Mercy totaled four runs on nine hits on Monday but committed three costly errors including a pair in Pierson's big third inning. The Monarchs scored once in the opening inning and added single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh.
The Whalers will play Suffolk Class B champion Babylon today at St. Joseph's College in the Class BC championship before playing East Rockaway at the same site for the Long Island Class C championship on Monday at 4 p.m.