The Pierson/Bridgehampton Whalers knocked off Southold 9-4 on May 24 to ascend to the Long Island Class C championship game and a shot at a state title.
The Whalers easily navigated the double-elimination tournament without a loss, winning three straight and upending Southold twice. The Whalers are 19-2 on the season, harkening back to the 2012-14 team that won three straight Long Island titles. The Whalers will get another chance on May 31 against an opponent yet to be determined. That game will be played at the St. Joseph’s College Athletic Complex in Patchogue at 4:30 PM.
The winner there will advance to the New York State Southeast Regional final on June 2. The NYS Final Four tournament will take place in Binghamton on June 8 and 9.
Playing before a healthy home crowd, the Whalers took the suspense out of this one early on, plating three runs in the first inning and opening an 8-1 lead after four. The Settlers rallied, but Tyler LaBorne, who has emerged as Pierson’s stopper, had enough left in the tank to stave off the late rally. Southold was the defending Class C champions three years running, making the win doubly sweet for Pierson.
Sam Warne, an offensive force for the locals all season, was in the middle of things as usual on this day, scoring the first run of the day and smashing a run scoring double an inning later. But credit a fellow senior, Tucker Schiavoni, who made the play of the game, a diving catch of Nick Eckhardt’s liner down the third base line in the sixth inning.
Oliver Kirwin had two ribbies for the winners, and Tom Brooks had a key run-producing hit.
Pierson thus ended Southold’s three-year stranglehold on the Long Island title, during which the Settlers went 62-10. Southold had only three returning starters from last year’s squad but nevertheless won 12 of its final 15 games during the regular season.