To say that the Pierson baseball team’s bats have been hot to start the season would be an understatement.
The Whalers are 3-0 in League IX thanks in large part to some sizzling hitting, which has led to a total of 34 runs in just three games. Pierson started the season with a relatively modest 5-0 shutout of rival Port Jefferson at home on March 27 before busting out the whupping sticks in a 16-8 victory over Southold at home the following day and a 13-8 win at Smithtown Christian on Friday.
Ace pitcher Colman Vila was responsible for the shutout in the win over Port Jeff, going the distance while allowing just two hits and two walks with nine strikeouts. Pierson scored two runs in the first inning and added two more in the fifth and one in the sixth. Hunter Leyser led the team at the plate, going 1 for 3 with two runs and a walk.
Pierson head coach Jon Tortorella was pleased with the performance he got out of his top pitcher.
“Colman was great,” he said. “That is exactly what we need him to do to start every series. He pitched like an ace is supposed to. His command was a little off early on, but he settled down and made some big pitches. It was a good start to the season.”
Pitching and defense certainly weren’t at a premium in Pierson’s wins over Smithtown Christian and Southold, but thanks to the red hot hitting, it didn’t affect the bottom line. Against Southold, the Whalers got started early, scoring five runs in the first inning, and they added six more in the third. Southold mounted a comeback and cut the lead to just two, but Pierson took control of the game again with five runs in the sixth.
Leyser, hitting in the leadoff spot, was sharp once again, going 4 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs. Vila didn’t pitch but contributed at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI and two runs. Paul Dorego hit a bases-loaded three-run triple that sparked the team in the first inning, and he finished 2 for 3 with the triple, three runs, a walk and three RBIs. Tim Markowski, a recent call-up from JV, went 3 for 4 with a double, two runs and five RBIs while Kyle Sturmann was 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs.
Forrest Loesch got the win for Pierson, allowing five hits and five runs, none earned, over five innings with three strikeouts. Mike Heller pitched the final two innings, giving up a hit, a walk and three unearned runs.
Tortorella was happy with the hitting—not so much the defense, however.
“Our defense was unacceptable,” he said. “We were making mistakes all over the field. Unfortunately, it was one of those days and we let them hang around. We can’t expect to be successful playing like that. We’ll need to improve our defense and I’m confident we will. These guys work really hard to be good at what they do, so we’ll clean it up.”
He did have good things to say about his team’s performance at the plate, however.
“We really hit the ball well,” he said. “We had 17 hits and were able to get runners in when we had to, which was a big improvement from Tuesday. All of our guys really put together some good at bats and didn’t try to do too much, so it was a good day.”
Pierson jumped on Smithtown Christian early too, scoring 10 runs in the first two innings to take a commanding 10-1 lead. A three-run homer by Sean Hartnett gave Pierson an 8-1 advantage in the second.
Vila was 2 for 4 with a double and three runs, while Aaron Schiavoni was 3 for 5 with a double, three RBIs and three runs. Dorego was 4 for 4 with a triple, two runs, a walk and an RBI.
Schiavoni, who is typically the team’s starting catcher, started on the mound and pitched four-plus innings, allowing four hits, four walks and two earned runs with three strikeouts. Vila pitched the final three innings out of the bullpen.
“Aaron did a solid job on the mound,” Tortorella said. “He pitched out of trouble early and made some big pitches. Our defense was a little shaky again today and Aaron was able to overcome it and give us a solid outing.”ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 4/3, vs. Greenport, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 4/4, at Stony Brook, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 4/10, at Port Jeff, noon; Wednesday, 4/11, vs. Port Jeff, noon; Friday, 4/13, at Port Jeff, noon.