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Mariners Keep Playoff Hopes Alive With Win Over Tuckers

Publication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press
By Cailin Riley   May 8, 2012 10:03 AM

After dropping two of three games in a series with Center Moriches last week, members of the Southampton baseball team found their backs planted firmly planted against the wall, needing to win all three of their final games with Mattituck in order to qualify for the Class B postseason.

They kept those hopes alive on Monday with a 12-5 home win over the Tuckers, improving to 9-9 in League VIII. The loss gave the Tuckers the same record, and made the final two games of the series even more intriguing. Both teams were in the same position, needing to win the final two games to make the playoffs—if they split the final two games, neither team would qualify.

Southampton was down, 3-2, early against Mattituck, but took the lead for good with four runs in the third inning. Mattituck cut it to 6-5 in the top of the fourth as Southampton starter John Donovan struggled, getting called for a balk several times. But in the bottom of the fourth, the bats picked him up—the Mariners scored six runs in that frame to provide what would be the final margin. Donovan settled down and pitched a complete game, tossing 119 pitches with nine strikeouts, seven hits, four earned runs and four walks.

Peter Barnaby was 3 for 4 with two runs and a double while Teague Florio was 2 for 4 with four RBIs, two runs and a stolen base. Jake Marano had three walks and scored twice and leadoff hitter Nick Acquino had two walks, an RBI and two runs.

Before beginning the series with Mattituck, Southampton lost two of three games with Center Moriches (9-9), another team fighting for a playoff berth down the stretch. Southampton lost the first game, 7-0, on the road on April 30 and had a tough time getting any offense going against ace Pat Bryant, one of the top pitchers in the league. The Mariners put the ball in play against Bryant, but most of their hits fell directly into Red Devil gloves. Southampton head coach Ike Birdsall said the Center Moriches defense did a good job that day.

Donovan took the loss, going five innings while allowing seven hits, four earned runs, and a walk with four strikeouts.

The Mariners evened the series in the next game on May 2, thanks to a dominant pitching performance by Barnaby. He went the distance, striking out 10 batters and allowing just one hit while throwing just 83 pitches. Alex Soyars hit a two-run homer in the first inning, driving in teammate Wyatt Schmidt, who had reached base with a double. Donovan led off the sixth inning with a homer and Kevin Edgar had an RBI single in that frame as well.

Birdsall said he was unhappy with the officiating in the rubber game, a 4-1 loss in Center Moriches on Friday, calling it the “worst officiated game we’ve had this year.” Southampton took an early 1-0 on back-to-back doubles by Schmidt and Edgar, but that was all the offense it would muster that day. Center Moriches scored three runs in the bottom of the frame and added another in the second. Southampton stranded several runners on base.

Schmidt took the loss.

If Southampton wins the final two games with Mattituck and advances to the Class B playoffs, it will likely begin its postseason run on Saturday, May 19. As of Tuesday morning, the possibility existed that Babylon (16-1) could be the only Class B team in Suffolk County to qualify for the playoffs. Mercy (5-13) and Hampton Bays (5-13) were both already eliminated from playoff contention while Southampton, Mattituck and Center Moriches all held identical 9-9 records, each with two games remaining. Teams must finish with winning records in league play to qualify for the postseason, meaning all three of those teams would need to win their final two games to get in. As mentioned earlier, if Southampton and Mattituck split their final two games, neither team would qualify. If Center Moriches loses just one of its final two games with Mercy, it would not get in either.

The Mariners narrowly missed out on making the playoffs last year after winning back-to-back Suffolk County and Long Island Class B Championships in 2009 and 2010.

Softball Team Wins A Pair

The Southampton softball team improved to 5-7 in League VII after a pair of wins and one loss last week. The Lady Mariners beat Port Jefferson 13-0 on the road on May 2 a day after beating Southold/Greenport, 4-3, at home. They were shut out in a 13-0 game at Babylon on Saturday. Individual statistics for those games were not provided.

As of Tuesday morning, the Lady Mariners still had a shot at making the postseason, but it was a slim one. They would need to win three of their final four games in order to finish with an even record in league play, which is the requirement for making the postseason. Southampton was scheduled to take on Hampton Bays (8-3), Mount Sinai (10-1), Mattituck (1-10) and Bayport/Blue Point (9-2) to round out the regular season.

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