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May 14, 2018 4:12 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

League Champion Pierson Baseball Team Preparing For Playoff Opener Against Stony Brook This Thursday

Whaler Pierce Summers KYRIL BROMLEY
May 15, 2018 2:18 PM

The League IX Champion Pierson/Bridgehampton baseball team is gearing up for the start of the Suffolk County Class C playoffs this week. The first order of business for the Whalers en route to a county title will be defeating Stony Brook at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor this Thursday, May 17, at 4:30 p.m.

The Whalers, who won the league title with an 18-2 record—one of just three teams in the county with an 18-2 record, including Smithtown West (League III) and West Islip (League IV)—swept all four games this season from Stony Brook, outscoring the Bears, 33-16, in those contests. A win over Stony Brook on Thursday would advance Pierson, which last won a league title in 2014, in the winner’s bracket against the winner of the other Class C pair of playoff teams, No. 2 Mercy and No. 3 Southold. A loss would mean the Whalers would have to play Saturday against the loser of Mercy/Southold at 11 a.m.

First-year head coach John Schwartz said this year’s playoff bracket is the most competitive it’s been in quite a while. In fact, it’s the first time in years that teams other than Pierson and Southold have qualified. It won’t be as easy getting to and winning a county title as many might think, he said.

“The challenge now is that you’re going to face the other team’s best,” he said, in reference to an opposing team’s starting pitcher. In Stony Brook’s case that’s Joe Wozny, who kept the Whalers off the board until the sixth inning in what was a 3-2 Pierson win on May 2. In that game, Schwartz said his players did a good job of working their at-bats and forcing Wozny to throw a lot of pitches, which actually forced him to leave the game with runners on base due to his pitch count. But in the playoffs, pitch counts are raised from 105 to 125, so the Whalers may not have the luxury of having a pitch count help them out this time around.

Overall it’s been a great season, Schwartz said, with the team winning its first 12 straight. He said it’s exciting to see what lies ahead for his team.

“Once we got into the swing of things and we weren’t snowed out or rained out, we got into a nice rhythm and we were able to run off 12 in a row,” he said. “We’ve been playing pretty well as of late. The guys are going to be rested, ready and prepared so we’ll see what happens on Thursday.”

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