Nick Egbert excelled at getting his bat on the ball Monday.
The junior center fielder went 4-for-4 with three runs and two steals to lead Pierson to a 7-2 road win over Hampton Bays that snapped a five-game skid April 22.
“We wanted to come in with a new head of steam, and hit the ball well,” Egbert said after the first of a three-game series. “My coaches have been telling me to stay back on the ball, and I haven’t been listening. I shifted my weight today, and it worked. I felt great.”
His lead-off singles in the top of the first and sixth led to two of his three runs. He was brought home by a Harry Cowen walk in the first with the bases loaded to put the Whalers on the board, and scored on a Cooper Schiavoni single in the sixth to give the game its final score.
“The chemistry keeps getting better day by day,” Egbert said. “We’re working as a team, picking each other up, talking it up at the plate. We always had our heads in the game, always knew how many outs and the counts.”
Junior right-hander Matt Hall tossed two strikeouts, scattered five hits, and walked one in a complete-game performance.
“Matt is awesome. He’s consistent,” Egbert said. “He’s been great the whole season. We know we can count on him.”
Head coach Jonathan Schwartz said while he expected Hall to throw strikes, he also liked that his pitcher gave the fielders some extra practice making plays.
“We wanted to put the ball in play, make the routine plays, and show an intensity we haven’t been playing with,” Schwartz said. “We especially made the routine plays, so I’m happy with that, and they swung the bat pretty well.”
Hall only allowed one earned run while his fielders came up big to protect him. Schiavoni made a diving stop and throw to first to retire the side in the bottom of the first after connecting with Henry Brooks to make the second out. He also tracked down a high pop-up in the bottom of the third. Second baseman Christian Pantina connected with Brooks at first for a double play to end the game.
“It’s great knowing I can throw strikes and have the plays made behind me. It takes some pressure off,” Hall said. “It also always helps to jump out to an early lead, but we know that we have to keep the pressure up and not get too comfortable.”
Heads up play on the bases also helped the team work the small ball Monday. After Egbert’s lead-off single to start the game, he stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before three straight walks were drawn. A Pierce Summers base hit into shallow left scored Schiavoni and his younger brother Tucker for a 3-0 lead. After a double steal, a ball overthrown to third in an effort to hold Cowen instead helped him home for a 4-0 Pierson advantage after one.
“We are always looking to manufacture runs any way we can,” Hall said. “Nick came through today especially, sparked our offense. He did a great job getting on base and getting things going for us multiple times.”
Egbert caught a fly ball for the first out of the bottom of the inning before Cooper Schiavoni made his two plays in-between a Jordan Adelson double. Hall’s battery mate Tucker Schiavoni also kept the team level.
“It’s great having him behind the plate,” Hall said. “I’m confident that he will catch or block anything I throw. We are always on the same page.”
Cooper Schiavoni’s sacrifice fly to right scored Egbert to make it 5-0 in the top of the third, and Cowen’s base hit brought home Hall. The team ended the inning up 6-0 despite having the bases loaded. In the bottom of the fifth with two outs, an error loaded the bases for Hampton Bays (3-9 overall, 1-8 in League VIII) before Joe Sapio’s single scored two with two outs. Kai Leporati was tagged at home trying to squeeze in a third run on the hit to end the inning.
“I think this will really boost our confidence,” Hall said. “The talent was always there, but I think everything is starting to come together.”
Pierson (3-5, 3-5) hosted Hampton Bays in the second game of the series Tuesday, April 23, but results were not available by press time. The Baymen host the Whalers Thursday, April 25, at 10 AM.
“We’re the underdog in the league, because we’re one of the smallest if not the smallest school, and we’re doing pretty well despite that,” Egbert said. “I think we’ve got a good future ahead of us.”