FIRST SETTLERS 2, PORTERS 1
The Southold High School baseball coach, Mike Carver, remembers feeling pretty good about what he saw from his team way back on April 2 when it posted an 8-2 defeat of Stony Brook. He couldn’t have imagined at the time that it would be 33 days before the First Settlers enjoyed another win.
Nine straight losing games, the longest such drought during Carver’s 13 years in charge of the team, reached a merciful end on Monday when the First Settlers held on for a 2-1 decision over visiting Greenport in the opener of their three-game series. Rob Mahony’s bunt single scored what proved to be the winning run and Alex Poliwoda tossed a five-hitter with nine strikeouts and two walks.
The game between the two bottom teams in Suffolk County League IX moved quickly, requiring only 1 hour 32 minutes to complete.
Patrick McFarland led off Southold’s half of the fifth inning by earning a walk. He stole second base and took third on a wild pitch before Mahony laid done a well-executed bunt — his second hit of the game — to squeeze in the run for a 2-0 lead.
If Carver has learned anything over the course of this trying season, it’s that nothing comes easily. This win was no exception.
The Porters pulled to within a run in the sixth. Austin Hooks bounced an infield single for his second hit of the game, before a fielding error allowed Matt Drinkwater to reach base. John Drinkwater, Matt’s twin brother, then stroked a hit to bring the run in.
Dylan Clausen was responsible for Southold’s first run of the game. He smacked a one-out single that skipped under the center fielder’s glove in the fourth. A wild pitch and another outfield error enabled Clausen to cross home plate.
Greenport’s starter, John Drinkwater, pitching on three days of rest, was relieved by Timmy Stevens, who allowed only one hit (by Anthony Fedele) over the final two innings.
The Porters mounted one last threat in the seventh. Eddie Rogers led off with a shallow popup that the third baseman, McFarland, dove for and appeared to grab. Rogers was ruled safe on the play. The umpires, after conferring at Carver’s urging, allowed the call to stand. Following a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Weingart, Poliwoda retired the final two batters on a groundout and a strikeout.
Finally, the First Settlers (2-11, 2-8) had an addition to their win column.
The loss may have killed Greenport’s slim playoff hopes. Porters coach Chris Golden said his team needed to sweep the series to have a chance of seeing the postseason. The Porters (3-8, 2-7) were coming off a three-game sweep of Stony Brook.