The Southampton baseball team’s postseason run came to a painful end Thursday on an overcast day on its home field.
The Mariners were downed, 15-6, by No. 1 seed Babylon, and coupled with a 3-2 win by Babylon a day earlier, Thursday’s victory gave the Panthers the Suffolk County Class B championship. The teams were the only two in Suffolk County’s Class B to qualify for the postseason, and they played a best-of-three series for the county title.
Babylon moved on to face Nassau County champion Oyster Bay for the Long Island Class B championship. The teams were slated to play at Farmingdale State College on June 4.
Going into the final inning on Thursday, it looked like Southampton would push the series to three games. The Mariners held a 6-3 lead entering the final frame, but Babylon rallied and scored 12 runs to completely turn the game around.
Babylon loaded the bases with no outs, capitalizing on errors and walks, before getting a two-run double to cut the deficit to 6-5. Another error allowed the tying run to score with one out, and what proved to be the winning run was plated when a Babylon batter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
An RBI single followed, making it 8-6, and things got worse from there; Southampton used four pitchers in that inning alone but no one seemed able to stop the bleeding until the game was out of hand. Southampton’s number one starter, John Donovan, was inactive that day and was not available to pitch.
Before the last inning, Southampton looked like a team capable of upsetting a Babylon squad that won the League VIII regular season title in dominant fashion. In fact, the Mariners handed the Panthers one of their only two regular season losses.
In the bottom of the third inning, third baseman Kevin Edgar hit an RBI double to break a 3-2 tie, before starting pitcher Peter Barnaby helped his cause by blasting a two-run homer well over the centerfield fence, making it 5-2 Southampton. Babylon added a run in the fourth, but Southampton got it back when second baseman Henry Egan hit a two-out RBI single, plating Edgar.
Barnaby walked the first batter in the sixth inning, but got a strikeout and two groundouts after that, and the Mariners were cruising until the final inning.
Southampton finished the regular season with an 11-9 record, sweeping its final three-game series of the season to clinch a spot in the playoffs. The Mariners won back-to-back Suffolk County and Long Island Class B championships in 2009 and 2010 before missing out on the postseason last year.
The Mariners will lose several seniors to graduation, including Donovan and Barnaby, the number one and two starters. But several key players will return to the roster. Wyatt Schmidt, a strong hitter and versatile player who was also the third starter this year, will be back, along with catcher and leading hitter Alex Soyars. The entire starting infield will be back, including third baseman Edgar, shortstop Garrett Pike, second baseman Henry Egan, and first baseman Jake Marano. Outfielder Teague Florio, who also has experience on the mound, will also be back.