FIRST SETTLERS 6, WHALERS 3
All the pieces seemed to be in place for the Southold High School baseball team. The First Settlers had a promising young pitcher on the mound, a lineup full of potent bats and a defense that has shown some neat glovework. Everything was there, really, except for one person: the coach.
Mike Carver was in a New York City hospital to have Tommy John surgery on an ailing elbow Thursday and thus unavailable to guide his team in a big Suffolk County League IX game against Pierson/Bridgehampton. Had Carver been at the game in Southold, he undoubtedly would have liked what he would have seen.
The big day for the First Settlers featured a couple of milestones. Luke Hansen, a freshman, made his first varsity pitching start, and Kyle Lumpkin, the team’s assistant coach, picked up his first varsity win as a coach, filling in for Carver.
And that wasn’t all. The top third of Southold’s batting order came through in a big way as the First Settlers secured a 6-3 result in their favor to give themselves more elbow room at the top of League IX over second-place Pierson/Bridgehampton. The teams had split their previous two games in the series.
Shayne Johnson, Pat McFarland and Greg Gehring delivered three hits apiece and drove in four runs for the First Settlers (10-2, 10-2), who are one win away from clinching a playoff berth.
Earlier in the day, Carver had essentially given Lumpkin, a former Cortland State player, a vote of confidence by dashing a text message to a reporter, stating that the team was in good hands.
The First Settlers broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning. Sean Moran reached base on an error and scored on another error, Liam Walker came home on a groundout by Hansen, and McFarland singled in another run, making the score 5-2.
Hansen (2-0) gave up five hits over five innings, with three walks and six strikeouts. He was relieved by Dylan Clausen, who retired all six batters he faced, four on strikeouts, to close the door on the Whalers (8-4, 8-4).
Hansen was spotted a 2-0 lead, courtesy of a two-run double that Johnson dropped inside the left-field line in the second.
That lead stood until the fourth when Pierson/Bridgehampton, a state finalist last year, drew even on run-scoring singles by Charles Canavan and Theo Gray.
Later, after the First Settlers retook the lead, the Whalers pulled to within 5-3 on Jack Fitzpatrick’s sacrifice fly.
But the First Settlers restored their three-run margin in the sixth when Gehring looped a single to center field for the game’s final run.
Pierson/Bridgehampton’s starting first baseman, Canavan, left the game briefly after being struck in the face by a bounced throw from third baseman Ryan Chisholm in the fourth. Duncan Bennett entered the game for Canavan, who later re-entered.
Lumpkin said Carver was expected to be back for Southold’s next game on Monday at The Stony Brook School.