The Southampton baseball team (18-2) continued to roll through the playoffs with a 3-0 win over rival Center Moriches on Monday. Eddie McLaughlin (4-0) pitched a three-hit shutout and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the fourth to help advance Southampton into the final round in the Suffolk County Class B double-elimination winner’s bracket to be played on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Southampton.
With the game tied 0-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Garrett Pike lined a single to get on base and moved to second on a wild pitch. McLaughlin then drove a pitch into the left-centerfield gap allowing Pike to score from second. The Mariners scored two more insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to some good at-bats. Henry Egan finally singled after fighting off pitches in a two-strike count and then Jake Marano worked a walk in similar fashion. David Kirshy pushed a beautiful bunt down third to advance Egan and Marano. With the bases loaded, Wyatt Schmidt lined the first pitch he saw for a double, knocking in both Egan and Marano.
It wasn’t all offense. The Mariner defense flashed the leather on several occasions late in the game. In the top of the fourth with a Red Devil runner on first and one out, McLaughlin’s pitch was hit sharply toward first baseman Marano who stepped on first for the force out and then quickly threw to second where Pike caught and applied the tag, rounding out the double play and ending the inning. Then in the top of the sixth with a runner on and one out, Southampton catcher Alex Soyars threw out a Red Devil runner attempting to steal second. The next batter popped out to right field to end the inning. In the top of the seventh with no one on and one out, McLaughlin’s pitch was hit hard up the middle. It looked like the ball was going to make it through the infield but Pike tracked it down, dove to his left, popped up quickly and threw a strike to Marano for the second out. McLaughlin finished off the inning by striking out his fifth batter.
Head coach Ike Birdsall was amazed by Pike’s put-out.
“I haven’t seen anyone in the pros make a play like that all year,” said Birdsall. “Getting to the ball first, and then that sliding stop, and coming up, and you know Columbi is a fast guy. That just put the dagger in them right there.”
It’s uncommon to see a player pitch a shutout win, and then help himself out by getting the winning hit. But McLaughlin seems to be on a roll, of late. He scored the winning run in the previous game against Babylon. How often does this happen to him?
“Not too often, I wish it could happen more but it feels good, it feels great!” he said after the game.
McLaughlin’s pitching has been steady as well—he’s now 4-0 on the season. His strategy for this game was to be mentally tough and not let things get to him. And when things got a little tough, his teammates came up big for him.
McLaughlin said the inning-ending double play in the fourth gave him a ton of adrenaline.
“It’s huge, huge!” he said. “It’s great that my teammates can back me up and do well.”
Birdsall shared McLaughlin’s praise for the defense.
“You got a runner on and one out and you’re thinking here comes the heart of their order and you get that double-play. They executed it perfectly,” he said. “Perfect throw, perfect tag.”
Birdsall was also pleased with McLaughlin’s pitching.
“He pitched an amazing game. His curve ball was on.”
The Mariner runs started with tough at-bats and when you have a team that can hit up and down the lineup, Birdsall summed it up.
“The pitcher never gets a break,” he said. “He’s got to stay solid and he can’t just, you know, go seven, eight, nine, I’m just going to throw fastballs. He’s got to work, he’s got to throw his curveball.”
Southampton will host the winner of the loser’s bracket game between Mattituck and Center Moriches. Game time is scheduled for 11 a.m. this Saturday. If Southampton wins Saturday, they will be the Suffolk County Class B Champions. If they lose, they get another chance on Tuesday, May 28.
Schmidt Leads Mariners Against Babylon
Backed by another stellar pitching performance by senior Wyatt Schmidt (7-0), the Mariner baseball team shut out Babylon 4-0 to advance to the second round of the Suffolk County Class B playoffs on Friday. Schmidt also scored the winning run in the first inning. He led off the game by reaching first after being hit by a pitch. He stole both second and third and then Alex Soyars drove him home after reaching on an error. Schmidt struck out 12 batters and allowed just two hits through seven innings.
When asked about about his strategy going into the game, Schmidt alluded to staying ahead of batters.
“Just throw a lot of strikes and get ahead of the count,” Schmidt said after the game. Babylon gave the Mariners a bit of a scare in the third inning with runners at the corners, but Schmidt gave no indication he was concerned. “I knew if I just pumped my fastball through and got my curveball over for a strike, I knew I could get the guys out,” he said.
Indeed, Schmidt has proven that he can get batters out and keep opponents from scoring. He hasn’t allowed an earned run since March 27.
As he’s done all season, Schmidt kept the Panthers in check and several Mariners gave him some breathing room. David Kirshy scored in the bottom of the fifth after reaching on a single and then stealing second. Kevin Edgar singled home Kirshy to take a 2-0 lead. Then in the bottom of the sixth with one out, Eddie McLaughlin doubled to right center. Head coach Ike Birdsall inserted Jon Wasserman as a pinch runner. Thomas Beckman followed with another double, easily scoring Wasserman to increase the lead to 3-0. Henry Egan then grounded out to first, advancing Beckman to third. Jake Marano then hit a single to drive in Beckman for the final run of the game.
Birdsall was pleased with his team’s ability to hang on to a one-run lead for most of the game.
“It was one nothing for a while there,” said Birdsall. “A mistake here, a walk here, Wyatt stayed tough, our infield and outfield was tight and made the plays.” Birdsall also pointed how Schmidt was able to battle of a jam in the top of the sixth. With runners on first and third, he struck out the batter to end the Panther rally. Schmidt then struck out the side in the seventh.