Two hundred career wins mean a lot of things. What do they mean to Mike Carver?
“It means that I’m a lot older than when I started — 200 wins older,” the Southold High School baseball coach cracked.
To be precise, make that 201 wins older.
Two hundred wins also means a lot of good baseball. Southold has seen its share of good baseball throughout the 16 years that Carver has been at the helm. Judging by the way this season has started for the First Settlers, some of the best may be yet to come.
Three games into the season, Southold has scored 28 runs, given up none, sweeping a three-game Suffolk County League IX series with Port Jefferson in overpowering fashion.
Southold didn’t waste any time in getting Carver his 200th career win. That came Thursday in the opening game of a doubleheader in Port Jefferson. The 10-0 win and the 8-0 victory that followed it brought Carver’s record to 201-125 (.617). He entered the season ranked ninth in winning percentage among active Suffolk coaches.
“That’s an awesome achievement,” Southold rightfielder Doug Fiedler said. “Two hundred wins is a lot of wins.”
Carver has five league titles to his credit for the defending Suffolk Class C champions, who reached the state semifinals two years ago. Sitting on the dugout bench and reflecting on this latest achievement, he joked: “Twenty-two years of coaching, 16 years of varsity, 200 wins, and a lot less hair but more gray.”
And what’s a Carver milestone without a Clausen being involved?
Dylan Clausen, a senior who pitches and plays centerfield, said his older brothers Rob and Kyle played for Southold when Carver notched his 100th and 150th career wins, respectively.
“That’s pretty cool,” said Dylan Clausen.
As has been the three shutouts Southold has pitched within a 24-hour time frame. Clausen fired 16 strikeouts with no walks, allowing five hits in six innings of a 10-0 romp on Wednesday in Southold. Luke Hansen and Pat McFarland then turned in high-quality starts Thursday. Hansen had 13 strikeouts while allowing two hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings in the twinbill opener. In the series finale, McFarland was one out away from a complete game before being relieved after throwing his 95th pitch. He struck out nine with no walks and four hits allowed.
For the doubleheader, Southold banged out 19 hits and committed only one error.
“We played two complete games today,” Carver said. “We did it pretty impressively, I think.”
The story of Game 2 of the doubleheader was Fiedler, who homered twice in successive at-bats. He launched a three-run homer over Scofield-Desiderio Park’s centerfield fence, about 350 feet, to open the scoring in the third inning. Two innings later he ripped a solo liner over rightfield that landed nearly as far as the first one. He went 5-for-7 on the day with five RBIs, a double and three stolen bases.
Adam Baldwin had a productive day as well, going 5-for-8 with three RBIs, a double and a stolen base.
Billy Burns, Clausen, Fiedler and Baldwin each knocked in a run to stake Southold to a 4-0 lead in the first inning of Thursday’s first game.
Hansen, meanwhile, was dominant on the mount. The lanky lefthander struck out seven in a row during one stretch. His final strikeout in the sixth was his 12th against 14 batters.
After his milestone, Carver credited his players.
“I’m proud of the boys in our program,” he said. “It’s really about them. If I didn’t have the boys with the talent that we work on, I certainly wouldn’t have 200 wins, but it’s a good feeling. It’s a nice milestone, but listen, I want a state title. Our boys want a state title.”
That surely would mean a lot.
Photo caption: Southold coach Mike Carver clenches his fist triumphantly following his 200th career win. (Credit: Garret Meade)