It's easy for Jack Piekos to remember his losses. Make that loss . . . singular, as in singular sensation. In two superb seasons for Bayport-Blue Point, the lefthander went 21-1 to help the Phantoms become the only Long Island school to win back-to-back state baseball titles in the history of the event.
For his 10-1 record in a 2014 season that included 122 strikeouts in 74 innings, Piekos Tuesday night was named winner of the Gibson Award given to the most outstanding pitcher in Suffolk. That's also a back-to-back honor for Piekos, who won the Gibson in 2013, when he went 11-0 for undefeated BBP.
"It's awesome to end my career by going out on top," said Piekos, who pitched complete-game gems against Division (3-0 in the L.I. Class A final) and Pittsford Sutherland (2-1 in the state Class A semifinal) for the Phantoms, who finished 21-6. "When we got upstate we definitely were believing. We were all relaxed and able to play at such a high level. We didn't really make mistakes."
Piekos recalled making a couple of rare mistakes in his only loss. "Third game of a three-game series against Shoreham-Wading River," he said of a May 10 game that clinched the League VII title for SWR. "I came in to pitch the eighth inning with it tied. I left a couple of balls over the plate and they smacked me around a little bit."
But Piekos defeated SWR, 6-1, in the Class A winners' bracket final and then hit a home run to back the pitching of P.J. Weeks when the Phantoms eliminated the Wildcats, 4-0, in the county final. "That first playoff game against Shoreham was where it really clicked for us," the Maryland-bound Piekos said. "That was the turning point from where we had doubts we could repeat to where we felt we could take it."
Now Piekos will take it to the next level, where Maryland moves to the Big 10. "I'm so excited about that," said the 6-1, 180-pounder with a complete arsenal that includes four-seam and two-seam fastballs, a slider, curve and changeup. "I can't wait to travel to places like Indiana and Penn State. It's going to be so much fun. I know I'll have to make adjustments. It's such a different game in college. I watch games and see kids square up balls kids in high school would never touch."
Especially against the Phantom Menace, who was virtually untouchable for two years.