After a rocky start to the season, the Southampton baseball team is steadily getting back on the right track.
The Mariners handed first place Babylon its first loss of the season last week, beating the Panthers 13-6 in Southampton last Thursday. The victory helped them rebound from a tough 2-0 loss to Babylon in the series opener on April 16, but the rubber game went to the Panthers, who prevailed 3-2 in Babylon on Friday.
Southampton shook off that loss, however, with a 6-1 home win over Mercy on Monday in the first of a three-game set against the Monarchs.
The Mariners improved to 5-7 in League VIII with the win over Mercy, and now need to go 6-2 in their final eight games to finish with a .500 record and earn a spot in the postseason. While that might seem like a tall order, Southampton head coach Ike Birdsall feels good about the way his team has performed lately, even in the losses to Babylon.
“I was very happy with the way we played,” he said on Monday night. “With a couple more hits here and there, we sweep them. Their coach knew it, too. He said he’d see us in the playoffs. We’re finally playing together as a team and finally coming together.”
Birdsall was quick to add the coach’s mantra of taking things one game at a time, and the win on Monday night was a good start. Southampton plated two runs in the first inning to open the scoring against Mercy, and added another in the third inning when Wyatt Schmidt hit a solo homer. Alex Soyars hit a solo shot of his own in the fifth that gave the Mariners a 4-0 lead, and Southampton tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning. Mercy avoided the shutout with a run in the seventh inning, drawing a walk with the bases loaded.
John Donovan started and went the distance for Southampton, striking out 12 batters and allowing five hits in seven innings. Schmidt was 2 for 4 on the day with two RBIs and a run, while Soyars was 2 for 3 with a stolen base, two runs and an RBI. Garrett Pike was 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.
Schmidt was the starter for Southampton in the 3-2 loss to Babylon, and his pitching performance was worthy of a victory. His team, however, didn’t provide enough support on offense or defense to get the win. Southampton made five errors while only scoring two runs, which wasn’t enough to get past the Panthers. Schmidt gave up only one earned run and three hits with three walks while recording six strikeouts.
Southampton went up 2-1 in the third and Babylon tied it in the bottom of the inning. In the sixth, Babylon scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly to left field, but two runners had reached base on errors before the fly ball RBI.
Unlike the first and final games of the series, the second game was a high-scoring affair, with Southampton coming out on top.
The Mariners took a 3-0 lead after the first inning, but Babylon standout Nick Watt tied it in the top of the third with a three-run homer. Babylon’s Ricky Negron gave his team a brief 4-3 lead with a solo homer in the top of the fifth. The Mariners busted out the sticks after that, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 10-4 lead. Peter Barnaby, the starting pitcher for Southampton that day, helped his cause by hitting a three-run homer in that inning.
Southampton scored three more runs in the sixth to go up 13-4 before Negron added another homer, this time a two-run shot, to provide the final margin.
Barnaby struck out 10 batters over five innings before handing the ball to Teague Florio, who closed out the game.
Schmidt went 4 for 5 with two stolen bases and three runs while Kevin Edgar, Barnaby, Florio and Pike each had two hits on the day.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Thursday, 4/26, at Mercy, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 4/27, vs. Mercy, 4:30 p.m.; Monday, 4/30, at Center Moriches, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 5/2, vs. Center Moriches, 4:30 p.m.