For all that the Southold High School baseball team accomplished in 2017 — and it was a lot — there was a sense of unfinished business. What the First Settlers wanted most was a state championship.
It didn’t happen.
Still, it was a season of great accomplishment, to be sure. Mike Carver picked up his 200th career coaching win (all with Southold). Southold won its third consecutive Suffolk County Class C championship. Then the First Settlers snagged their second Long Island title in three years.
But Southold’s bid for a second appearance in the New York State semifinals in three years fell short with a 2-1 loss to North Salem in a Southeast Region final. A fielding error with two outs in the top of the seventh inning snapped a 1-1 tie for North Salem.
“It’s a tough one to lose,” Carver said afterward. “A botched call earlier in the game took away a run that we should have scored. But what are you going to do?
Southold finished the year with a 23-2 record, not to mention some nice memories from a successful season.
A formidable starting pitching staff of Dylan Clausen, Luke Hansen and Pat McFarland made Southold a serious postseason contender. The First Settlers took a best-of-three series from Pierson/Bridgehampton for the county title and then romped over East Rockaway, 13-5, for the Long Island crown.
That was before North Salem lefthander Connor Mahoney cut Southold’s dream short in the regional final with a 12-strikeout performance.