06/06/15 8:00pm
06/06/2015 8:00 PM
The celebration was on after Southold defeated Tuckahoe in Saturday's Class C state quarterfinal. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

The celebration was on after Southold defeated Tuckahoe in Saturday’s Class C state quarterfinal. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

SOUTHEAST REGION CLASS C FINAL | FIRST SETTLERS 8, TIGERS 5

It wasn’t anything the Southold First Settlers had not experienced before. They had trailed in games and come back a number of times.

They did so again on Saturday, the only difference being this time it earned them a coveted trip to Binghamton for a New York State Class C baseball semifinal. (more…)

03/15/15 12:00pm
03/15/2015 12:00 PM
Southold shortstop Noah Mina, an all-league choice last year, is part of an infield that coach Mike Carver said has no weakness. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Southold shortstop Noah Mina, an all-league choice last year, is part of an infield that coach Mike Carver said has no weakness. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Don’t forget.

That is the message Mike Carver has conveyed to his players on the Southold High School baseball team.

A season can get away from a team real quickly if it isn’t careful. The First Settlers found that out the hard way.

(more…)

09/23/14 8:25pm
09/23/2014 8:25 PM
Alex Poliwoda worked on his putting before shooting a nine-hole score of 45 for Greenport/Southold in its win over Bishop McGann-Mercy. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Alex Poliwoda worked on his putting before shooting a nine-hole score of 45 for Greenport/Southold in its win over Bishop McGann-Mercy. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The first full day of fall shined in its splendor. The sun was out, the air was crisp, it wasn’t too cold or too hot. It was one of those great weather days, and what better place for a golfer to be than out on a golf course?

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Alex Poliwoda, a senior on the Greenport/Southold high school boys golf team, said while standing on the driving range at Island’s End Golf & Country Club in Greenport. (more…)

03/05/14 8:00pm
03/05/2014 8:00 PM
Alex Poliwoda's pitching arm and big bat are pluses for a Southold team that is virtually unchanged since last year. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Alex Poliwoda’s pitching arm and big bat are pluses for a Southold team that is virtually unchanged since last year. (Credit: Garret Meade)

All signs are pointing toward a good season for the Southold High School baseball team. Not only is the team virtually unchanged from last year’s 14-9 playoff squad, but its starting pitching rotation of Alex Poliwoda, Anthony Fedele and Rob Mahony remains intact.

The First Settlers will be even tougher yet if Poliwoda becomes as dominating a presence on the pitching mound as coach Mike Carver anticipates. (more…)

11/21/13 10:20pm
11/21/2013 10:20 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shayne Johnson's explosiveness and ability to soar through the air could produce some dunks this coming season.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Shayne Johnson’s explosiveness and ability to soar through the air could produce some dunks this coming season.

When it comes to pure athleticism, there aren’t many, if any, athletes in Southold High School who can match Shayne Johnson. Johnson runs like a deer, glides in the air like an osprey and, if that isn’t enough, his basketball game just seems to be getting better and better.

The 5-foot-11 Johnson plays as if he has springs in his legs. He is the only Southold player who can dunk, something fans may get to see this coming season if the opportunity presents itself.

Ironically, it was Johnson’s dunking ability that got him into some trouble this past spring. After dunking a ball, he landed awkwardly and broke his left wrist, putting an early end to his baseball season.

“I got the dunk,” Johnson said. “I did the hard part but didn’t land it, the easy part.”

At first, Johnson was told he would need surgery and have pins put in his wrist, but a doctor was able to put the wrist back in place, expediting his return to sports, and Johnson played soccer for the First Settlers this fall.

But Johnson hasn’t played much basketball since the injury. The junior forward played only about a half of each of the final three games for Southold in a summer league, and that was about it until the First Settlers started practice on Wednesday.

“It’s weird, though,” Johnson said after Thursday’s practice. “I feel rusty still because after I broke my wrist, I didn’t play much since then. I have to get back into it and get used to it all again.”

Nevertheless, observers say they have liked what they have seen from Johnson, who they say looks stronger and faster than he was a year ago.

“It seems like he got a lot faster and he can jump higher so he’ll be good for the fast break,” junior forward Alex Poliwoda said. “He’s always been able to jump like that, so it’s no surprise to see him able to get up that high.”

Southold coach Phil Reed has noticed the new, improved Shayne Johnson.

“He is quick, fast and, you know what, I think this gym is not big enough for him,” Reed said. “He looks a lot faster. He looks a lot more athletic this year. I think last year he was learning to play on the varsity level. … Now he’s got confidence.”

Johnson also has a little old school in him.

“I’m watching him finger roll during warmups,” Reed said, “and I’m like: ‘Whoa! Where did you learn that stuff? That’s going back to the ’70s, early ’80s.’ ”

Reed said, “If we can get Shayne in the weight room a little bit, get him working out a little more and get stronger, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him dunking on a regular basis.”

Johnson said his left wrist gets sore every now and then. “Sometimes catching the ball hurts, but it’s nothing I can’t work through,” he said.

On the plus side, he said he feels he is more explosive now.

Johnson is among a cast of returning players for Southold that includes All-League junior Liam Walker, Kenji Fujita, Kevin McGough, James Penny, Michael Ryan and Poliwoda. The First Settlers are hoping for a better showing than last season, when they went 4-13.

“This is our year,” Johnson said. “If we’re going to go anywhere, this is it, and we’ll do it.”

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04/26/13 7:31pm
04/26/2013 7:31 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold's Alex Poliwoda sliding safely under Shelter Island shortstop Hunter Starzee and kicking up a dust cloud.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold’s Alex Poliwoda sliding safely under Shelter Island shortstop Hunter Starzee and kicking up a dust cloud.

FIRST SETTLERS 3, INDIANS 1

The same instinct that tells Southold’s baseball coach, Mike Carver, when to call for a bunt or a hit-and-run, told him that something was up.

After Friday’s game, Carver was trailing his players as they marched from their Southold High School field to the gym. Then, one of his players, Anthony Esposito, lugging a large, apparently empty water bucket with him, tracked back to the field, past Carver, saying he forgot something on the bench. While Carver and the rest of the First Settlers stopped and waited for him, Esposito walked back to the bench, picked up a package of crackers and then returned Carver’s way. With the coach eyeing him suspiciously, Esposito suddenly hurled water that had been in the bucket at Carver, who quickly jumped aside so that only some of the water hit him.

As far as Gatorade baths go, it wasn’t the best, but it was the spirit behind the subterfuge that counted.

The First Settlers had their own way of celebrating Carver’s 150th career win, a 3-1 victory over Shelter Island that moved them a step closer to the playoffs in the process.

“It was just a last-minute thing,” Southold third baseman Alex Poliwoda said. “We kept a little bit of water in the water bucket and said, ‘We should get him with this.’ He’s got to expect it. It was a great win, 150.”

The Suffolk County Baseball Coaches Association will recognize the milestone with a plaque for Carver, whose 12-year record is 150-102 (.595). Prior to the start of this season, Carver ranked 14th among the county’s active coaches in wins.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold second baseman Sean Moran backhanded this ground ball but was unable to make a play on it.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold second baseman Sean Moran backhanded this ground ball but was unable to make a play on it.

“It’s a nice accomplishment,” Carver, 40, said. “It’s a nice milestone. I’m real proud of what we, the team, the boys over the years have accomplished with Southold baseball. I’m proud of that. It’s definitely a sign that we had success. We have had success. Without the players, we wouldn’t have any wins.”

The win on Friday, Southold’s sixth straight, did the team’s playoff chances a world of good. The First Settlers (9-5, 9-5 League IX) need two wins from their final six regular-season games (three each against Smithtown Christian and Greenport) in order to clinch a postseason place.

“We’re in a great position right now,” Poliwoda said. He said the team’s playoff scenario is “doable, so I feel pretty confident.”

Rob Mahony (2-2) turned in the complete-game win with eight strikeouts. He allowed six hits and three walks.

The First Settlers scratched out the win with the aid of two runs in the third inning. Three successive doubles by Noah Mina, Anthony Fedele and Poliwoda brought in those runs for a 3-0 lead.

Southold had opened the scoring in the first. Poliwoda led off with a single, stole second base and, after two walks, came home on a fielder’s choice by Dillon Engels.

Shelter Island’s sole run came in the fourth. Hunter Starzee, who led off by shooting a single to right field, stole second base and advanced to third on a single by Matt BeltCappellino. Then Starzee scored when a fly ball by Spencer Gibbs was misplayed in the outfield for the game’s only error.

Shelter Island’s leadoff hitter, Riley Willumsen, produced three singles.

The Indians, who returned to varsity baseball after five straight years of junior varsity ball, dropped to 2-12, 2-12 with their sixth loss in a row.

Shelter Island coach Peter Miedema said the move back to the varsity level on Shelter Island brought some excitement as well as a little “nervousness” among his players. Although the core of the team is made up of juniors, he said, “We had to take some eighth-graders and some ninth-graders, and that’s a scary thought to go from a junior high to a varsity level.”

“Batting-wise, it’s tough for us to put together six, seven good at-bats in a row,” Miedema said. “The pitching has improved … and the defense has improved immensely. Hopefully the wins come eventually.”

The progress was evident on Friday. Absent were the handful of errors that the Indians have been known to make in a game (they had none Friday). BeltCappellino (1-5) gave up five hits before being relieved by Gibbs with two out in the fourth.

“We knew we weren’t going to be that good [this season], but it’s a little tougher than we expected,” Willumsen said. “We’re still working on a lot of things that we have to work out, but we’re getting better.”

Carver’s big day clearly meant something to his players.

“It just feels great to be part of the history of Southold baseball,” Poliwoda said. “You know, being part of his 150th win, we all did it together. It just feels great to be part of that.”

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04/06/13 3:28pm
04/06/2013 3:28 PM

If there was some question as to what to expect from Alex Poliwoda when he made his first pitching start of the season on Friday, it would have only been understandable. After all, the Southold sophomore had missed two weeks of baseball practices and two games while on a school trip to Europe.

But, as Poliwoda showed, there was no rust and no need for the First Settlers to worry. Spotting his fastball well, Poliwoda hurled his first career no-hitter in a 4-0 win at Greenport High School.The right-hander rang up 11 strikeouts, five on called third strikes, walking five.

“After the first inning, he settled in and he was in a groove,” Southold coach Mike Carver said. “He was really moving his fastball around nicely. He just hit his spots. That’s really what kept him so dominant.”

Carver said there were no plays that were close to being scored a hit in the Suffolk County League IX game.

Although Poliwoda has a curveball and a changeup in his repertoire, he didn’t really need them. “His fastball was working so well,” Carver said. “He had a great game, he really did.”

Another sophomore, Shayne Johnson, the other Southold regular starter who missed time while away on the European trip, led off the game with his first home run of the season. The First Settlers (3-2, 3-2) also received offense from Rob Mahony (2 for 3, two runs batted in) and Anthony Fedele (2 for 4, two runs).

Greenport is 3-3, 3-3.

Carver didn’t like what he saw from his defense, which made a handful of errors.

“We have to get our infield cleaned up,” he said. “Defensively, we’re still rusty. We’re still making too many mistakes.”

Carver said it was nerve-racking for him to watch his pitcher working a no-hitter, but Poliwoda was apparently not distracted. After the game, Carver let him know what he had just done, only to receive a mild reaction.

“He was kind of like, ‘Alright,’ ” Carver said. “That’s the kind of kid he is.”

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02/12/13 10:23pm
02/12/2013 10:23 PM

FIRST SETTLERS 77, KNIGHTS 71

Sophomore Alex Poliwoda had a great game in just the fourth quarter alone on Tuesday night.

Poliwoda came off the bench to score 19 of his game-high 25 points in that period to lead Southold to a 77-71 season-ending boys basketball win at home over Smithtown Christian. He sank three 3-point shots in the quarter.

The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the First Settlers (5-15, 4-10) in the Suffolk County League VIII game on Senior Night. Southold’s four seniors — Garrett De Friest, John Tomici, David O’Day and Peter Di Candia — were honored and recognized prior to the start.

Smithtown Christian (4-13, 3-11) almost erased what was a 13-point Southold lead at 69-56 with 2 minutes 16 seconds left behind a 15-5 run to pull within 74-71 with 26 seconds remaining. But O’Day (21 points) sank one foul shot and Poliwoda added two in the waning seconds to secure the win.

Liam Walker added 14 points and Shane Johnson contributed 9 points for the First Settlers.

For Smithtown Christian, junior guard Corey Collins scored 16 of his team-high 23 points over the final 2:41 as he canned four 3-pointers from the left corner during that stretch.

Forward Caelan McCabe poured in 20 points, sophomore center Connor McCabe added 11 and senior guard Tom Steffens had 10.