SUFFOLK CLASS C FINALS, GAME 3 | WHALERS 7, FIRST SETTLERS 1
It started with small artillery — water bottles that Pierson/Bridgehampton baseball players poured over the head of their coach, Jon Tortorella. Then, just seconds later, some other players charged forward, caught up with Tortorella, and dumped the contents of a large water bucket over him, soaking the coach on the infield grass near the pitcher’s mound.
The real heavy artillery, of course, for Pierson/Bridgehampton were the bats that helped the Whalers score a decisive 7-1 result against Southold in Game 3 on Tuesday, sewing up the Suffolk County Class C championship at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor.
Pierson/Bridgehampton pitcher Colman Vila was mobbed by joyous teammates after he got Kyle Clausen to foul out to first baseman Emet Evjen for the game’s final out. And then the celebrating began for the Whalers.
“I’m happy for them,” Tortorella said of his players. “For me, that’s the biggest thing.”
The pitching rematch between Vila and Southold’s Clausen was hardly the same as their Game 1 encounter, a double two-hitter. This time, Vila (9-0), who has been virtually automatic this season, pitched a five-hitter. He also enjoyed plenty of offensive support from his friends.
“In all of our opinions, he’s the best pitcher in the league, and he really helped us out,” Pierson/Bridgehampton shortstop Forrest Loesch said. “He pitched a great game.”
Ironically, it really had not been much of a hitters’ series — until Tuesday. The first two games of the series were one-run affairs, with Pierson/Bridgehampton winning the opener, 1-0, and Southold taking the second game, 5-4. Not one player entered Game 3 with more than two hits in the series; four players had two each.
“For the most part,” Tortorella said, “when you have these good pitchers going, you’re not going to get crazy numbers.”
On Tuesday, Pierson/Bridgehampton’s 11-hit attack was led by Loesch, who singled three times. He knocked in a run from one of those singles, scored twice and was also hit by a pitch. The Whalers (20-3) also received two hits apiece from Vila, Aaron Schiavoni (two runs batted in) and Paul Dorego (one RBI).
“They jumped on the fastball and they found the holes everywhere,” said Clausen (6-5), a senior who will play for the United States Merchant Marine Academy next season. “They’re a good hitting team. From one to nine, they’re all solid hitters.”
With a steady wind blowing in against his back from left field like a giant fan, Vila (9-0) did his part to make sure that Southold didn’t put up any crazy numbers. The junior left-hander had five strikeouts and three walks.
Pierson/Bridgehampton took a 3-0 lead before Southold (14-9) scored in the fifth inning.
Three straight hits by Vila, Loesch and Schiavoni spotted Pierson/Bridgehampton a 1-0 lead in the first.
Sharply struck singles by Vila, Loesch and Dorego led to the first of two runs in the second. Later that inning, Loesch made it 3-0 by crossing home plate after a throwing error.
Southold’s lone run was the result of a double by Luke Hokanson and a single by Clausen.
But Pierson/Bridgehampton didn’t waste any time adding to the separation between the two teams, putting up two runs in both the fifth and sixth.
After the first two batters reached base in the fifth on a hit batsman and a walk, Dorego blooped a single that fell within a few feet of three fielders in shallow right field. That loaded the bases for Sean Hartnett, who lined a run-scoring single, and Tim Markowski, who delivered a sacrifice fly, making it 5-1.
For further insurance, Loesch singled and Schiavoni crushed a double, each bringing in a run in the sixth.
“We got beat by a better team today, no doubt about it,” said Southold coach Mike Carver, whose team lost five of the seven games it played against Pierson/Bridgehampton this year. “They got the clutch hits and we didn’t. That’s really what it’s about.”
The Whalers now have a county crown to go with their League IX title. They are hoping to add a third title on Monday when they will play East Rockaway in the Long Island final at the Dowling Sports Complex.
So, what is it about the Whalers that makes them champions?
“I don’t need to say much with them,” Tortorella said. “The leadership is so great. They know what to do. They understand that things aren’t just going to happen. They know that they have to work for it. They know that they have to stick together. They know what they got to do. Right now, they’re in a great spot.”