FIRST SETTLERS 20, PORTERS 2
The start to the Southold High School baseball team’s season has been an indisputable hit. One after another after another after another …
And so it went on Monday afternoon.
When the first inning — the inning that seemed as if it would never end — finally ended, the First Settlers had already done a heck of a lot of damage. They had banged out nine hits in that inning alone for 14 runs, 11 of them coming with two outs. It made the remainder of the Suffolk County League IX game, a 20-2 bashing of visiting Greenport, merely academic. The score was 18-1 by the second inning.
It was a nice followup for the First Settlers to their 11-1 season-opening win over Greenport on Friday.
Southold’s bats did a lot of talking on Monday. Altogether, the First Settlers registered 18 hits (12 singles and six doubles). In the first game, Southold had about a dozen hits.
The performance of Southold’s No. 8 batter, senior Liam Walker, has been something of an eye-opener. Walker, a basketball star at the school, had not played baseball since he was in eighth grade. If anyone could have been expected to need time to adjust to the new season, it would have been him.
But that has not been the case. Walker has been swinging a hot bat. The right fielder drove in five runs on 4-for-4 hitting. He had three runs batted in in the first inning alone before doubling in additional runs in the second and the fourth innings. In addition, he stole a base and scored twice.
Through the first two games, Walker has hit 7 of 8 with seven RBI.
But Walker wasn’t the only one making contact. At the top of the lineup, Shayne Johnson had a perfect day at the plate with five hits from five at-bats. The center fielder scored three runs, drove in another two and stole a base.
Greg Gehring, the catcher, enjoyed a three-hit day, knocking in a pair of runs. Noah Mina and Sean Moran added two RBI apiece.
Perhaps lost a bit amid all those Southold hits was the pitching of Pat McFarland. McFarland, supported by errorless defense, picked up the complete-game win, a four-hitter. His ninth strikeout ended the game. He issued only one walk.
Two of the hits McFarland allowed came within the game’s first three at-bats. A stand-up double by Timmy Stevens and a single by Matt Drinkwater brought in Greenport’s first run.
The Porters, however, didn’t score again until the seventh. John Drinkwater clubbed a triple into the right-center-field gap before later scoring on a groundout by Jacob Skrezec.
The game, originally scheduled to be played in Greenport, was moved to Southold because the Greenport field wasn’t playable. Under a blue sky that emerged from the gray cloud cover earlier in the day, the Southold field looked in remarkably good condition, given the weather it has seen in recent weeks. Snow lined an area behind the visiting team bench, but that was the only lingering leftover of this past winter. The weather, while nippy, was calm and relatively pleasant for the early spring on Long Island.
Prior to the game, Southold coach Mike Carver gave his players a pep talk while they played catch and warmed up. They apparently listened to whatever he told them, or at least their bats did.