GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport third baseman Matt Drinkwater fielding a throw from catcher Christian Angelson in a failed attempt to throw a runner out.
WHALERS 16, PORTERS 0
Not many high school baseball pitchers would dare set as a goal going through an entire regular season without allowing an earned run. It’s so difficult as to make it almost unthinkable — unless you are Colman Vila.
Then again, Vila is hardly your average pitcher.
Vila is regarded by some as the best pitcher in League IX, and his performance on Monday was just another example why. Pierson/Bridgehampton’s pitching standout turned in another typical outing — for him — and when it was over, his 0.00 earned run average remained intact.
Vila recorded 13 strikeouts over five innings and shared the shutout with Nick Kruel as the Whalers handed Greenport a 16-0 pounding. Vila (5-0) walked none and allowed only two hits, both singles off the bat of Matt Drinkwater, who had a 3-for-3 day at windy Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor. With the result, the Whalers (11-1, 11-1) clinched a third straight playoff berth under coach Jon Tortorella.
Vila has been automatic for Pierson/Bridgehampton when he takes the mound.
“He’s been attacking hitters, and not many guys have been putting balls in play,” Tortorella said. “It’s a confidence knowing that. We know he’s going to go out there and throw a good game.”
The Porters (5-7, 5-7) were under no illusion. They knew what they were up against.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Drinkwater said. “We knew it was going to be a rough one. He’s a great pitcher.”
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Christian Angelson of Greenport making contact.
A true ace, Vila spotted his pitches well, kept batters guessing as he mowed one down after another, and was so dominant that at times the senior left-hander even seemed to be toying with them.
Vila caught five batters looking at called third strikes. He struck out the side in the second and fifth innings, and fanned the final five batters he faced.
“I felt good,” he said. “I was really trying to work on hitting my spots with my fastball and keep them off-balance with a curveball.”
Tortorella said he has seen a progression in Vila over the past three years. “He’s gotten drastically better year to year,” said the coach.
Vila, who after the game said he is leaning toward making Delaware his college choice, said it doesn’t hurt that he’s a lefty. “A lot of kids don’t see lefties out here,” he said.
After Vila was relieved before the start of the sixth, Greenport picked up hits from Bryant Rivas, Drinkwater, Timmy Stevens and Eddie Rogers, but was still unable to score.
With Vila on the mound, the Whalers were armed, dangerous and determined, coming off their only loss so far, a 4-2 defeat to Smithtown Christian on Friday.
“We needed to bounce back,” Vila said. “We did what we needed to do.”
That includes hitting. Tim Markowski, who drove in three runs, enjoyed a three-hit game as did Jack Fitzpatrick. Aaron Schiavoni and Kyle Sturmann added two runs batted in each.
The first inning was the only one in which the Whalers batted that they did not score. After that, their half of the linescore read: 3-3-2-2-6.
“Colman was great again, our bats were good,” Tortorella said. “There were a lot of good things today.”
Nine Whalers managed at least one hit as their team collected 13 of them and played errorless defense.
The same could hardly be said for Greenport, which played sloppily in the field, with four errors that translated into five unearned runs.
“We have our good days and our bad days,” Greenport coach Chris Golden said. “It wasn’t one of our better days.”
He added: “When you play a team like this, you have to play as close to a perfect game as you can, especially when you’re facing that kid [Vila]. There’s a reason why they’re  and 1, or whatever it is in league. They’re a good baseball team all around. You just got to try to minimize the mistakes and hope for the best.”
Golden said the advice he gives his batters going up against Vila is to look for the first good pitch they can swing at and go for it.
What was Drinkwater’s secret hitting against Vila, who throws four-seam and two-seam fastballs, curveballs and changeups?
“It’s trying to get inside of his head,” Drinkwater said. “It’s important to try to figure out what he’s going to come to you with.”
Obviously, that’s easier said than done.