The Pierson and Southold High School baseball teams were to have played for the county Class C championship in the third game of a best-of-three series at Sag Harbor’s Mashashimuet Park Tuesday.
Presumably, Colman Vila, Pierson’s impressive undefeated left-hander, was penciled in as the Whalers’ starter that day by Pierson’s coach, Jon Tortorella.
Pierson, which had lost only three games going into Tuesday’s finale, last won a county championship in 2009.
Vila was masterful in the opener on May 16 (Southold won the second game 5-4 Friday on the North Fork), giving up two hits on his way to a 1-0 shutout, striking out eight — a number of the victims fanning on changeup curves — and walking two.
He also made a neat fielding play — catching a runner sliding into third after fielding a sacrifice bunt and faking a throw to first in the top of the sixth.
Vila’s opposite number, Kyle Clausen, was almost as good. The righty gave up five hits, all singles, struck out five, and walked two. He also hit a batter and made a wild pitch.
He too made a nifty fielding play, tossing to first for the out there after falling onto his back in fielding a high hopper with two outs in the bottom of the fourth.
Pierson scored its all-important run in the third. Kyle Sturmann, the second baseman, led it off by working Clausen for a walk. The leadoff hitter, Hunter Leyser, after fouling off two bunt attempts, then singled through the left side, putting runners at first and second for Vila, whose bunt was converted into an out at third.
Forrest Loesch, the sophomore shortstop, who bats third in the Whalers’ lineup, hit a comebacker to Clausen, resulting in a force at second, but the relay throw to first went wide, allowing Sturmann to come home with what proved to be the winning run, after which Aaron Schiavoni, the cleanup hitter, popped out to third.
Southold threatened to score in the top of the sixth. The first batter, Lucas Hokanson, who had singled off Vila to start the game, reached on an error by Loesch. He stole second with Rob Mahoney up, but the aforementioned fake and throw to third by Vila ensued, after which Clausen singled through the right side, putting runners at first and second for the cleanup hitter, Will Fujita, whose hard 0-1 drive to right field was caught. Anthony Fedele, Southold’s catcher, popped out to first to end the inning, prompting Vila and his teammates to exult.
Pierson had runners at first and second with one out in the bottom half of the sixth, the result of back-to-back singles by Loesch and Schiavoni, but Clausen reached back to strike out Sean Hartnett and Sturmann to retire the side.
Vila closed the visitors out in the top of the seventh, inducing Shane Johnson to ground out second-to-first before striking out Alex Poliwoda and Alex Sinclair, the seventh and eighth hitters in the Settlers’ lineup.