One team is preparing for next week, while the other is planning for next year.
It showed in the Suffolk County League VIII finale for both teams, as Southold High School recorded a 12-2 victory over Bishop McGann-Mercy in Riverhead Saturday afternoon.
The First Settlers (16-4, 16-4) combined an early barrage of runs and some outstanding relief pitching to snap a four-game losing streak just as they are to enter the Class C playoffs. They last won against Port Jefferson, 6-2, on April 29. Barring a major surprise, they are expected to face Pierson/Bridgehampton (11-7, 11-7) in a best-of-three series beginning in Southold Thursday at 4 p.m. The official brackets will be posted on Monday.
The Monarchs (3-15, 3-15) will have to wait until next year to turn their postseason dreams into reality.
Left fielder Doug Fieldler led the Settlers with three hits, including a double and a home run and three runs batted in. Third baseman Greg Gehring contributed a double and two RBI and Luke Hansen added two RBI.
Three starting pitchers combined to shutdown the Monarchs. Pat McFarland, who hurled back-to-back one-hitters earlier this season, gave up two runs and four hits in his two-inning stint. Hansen allowed only one base runner — via a walk — while striking out three in his two innings and Dylan Clausen was perfect over the final three innings, recording three strikeouts. Noah Mina and McFarland each scored three runs.
Southold took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on Gehring’s one-run double to left another run scoring on a wild pitch.
Mercy came back with two of its own in the bottom of the inning on center fielder Sean Tuthill’s single to center — one of three consecutive hits for the Monarchs.
The Settlers erupted for five runs in the second as they chased starting pitcher Matt Gambino. Gehring singled in one run, bases-loaded walks by reliever Mike Chilicki to Shane Zimmer and Fieldler forced in two and a dropped ball by right fielder Andrew Waski brought home two more.
Southold added four runs in the top of the third and another in the seventh on Fieldler’s second homer of the season, to right field.
Mercy freshman Matt Chilicki was outstanding in his 3 2/3 innings of relief, allowing two hits.
Photo caption: Southold starting pitcher Pat McFarland winds up. (Credit: Garrett Meade)