The Pierson baseball team swept through League IX in what was an unusual early-season preview of its competition. However, despite the relative ease with which it emerged victorious, the Whalers aren’t expecting smooth sailing once they’re locked in a three-game series with each of their rivals.
Pierson faced its five League IX colleagues in a nine-day span, and its record remains unblemished. Last week, the Whalers rode outstanding pitching to victories on consecutive days, first from ace Colman Vila in a 6-1 triumph over Greenport, and a day later from Jake Bennett, who tossed a five-inning no-hitter in a shutout win at Stony Brook.
“Even though we won our first five games, every time we play someone in our league, it’s going to be a battle,” said Pierson head coach Jon Tortorella. “There are no easy games in there. We can’t relax.”
Bennett moved from the bullpen to the No. 2 starter role after Forrest Loesch suffered an AC joint sprain in his shoulder while running the bases against Smithtown Christian. In his debut start, he was perfect through four innings against the Bears. Two runners reached in the fifth but Bennett struck out the final batter of the inning before the game was called. The score sent to Section XI was 9-0 in Pierson’s favor.
In recording the first varsity win of his career, the junior walked one and struck out 11.
“The location on all of his pitches was great,” said Tortorella, whose squad entered the week at 5-0 overall and in League IX play. “He mixed things up well and he went after hitters. Regardless of who we were playing, to see him throw like that was great.”
Vila, too, nearly threw a no-hitter. He had mowed down the Porters until Greenport recorded its first hit in the sixth. Vila didn’t let it faze him, as he notched his second complete game this season, surrendering just the single hit and zero earned runs, while striking out seven. The junior allowed just two hits and struck out nine in beating rival Port Jefferson on March 27.
“When Colman pitches, it’s just a different game,” Tortorella said. “The whole team plays better behind him, and right now we’re getting that one big inning.”
Against Port Jefferson, that came in the second, when Pierson plated five runs. Emet Evjen had an RBI double, and Kyle Sturmann drove in two with a two-bagger of his own. The Whalers tacked on an insurance run in the fourth when Paul Durego singled, stole second, and later scored on a groundout by Sean Hartnett.ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 4/10, at Port Jefferson, noon; Wednesday, 4/11, vs. Port Jefferson, noon; Friday, 4/13, at Port Jefferson, noon.