Luke Hansen will look back on his junior baseball season and see a missed opportunity. But he will bask in the glory of his school’s third straight Suffolk Class C championship. He will take pride in the Settlers undefeated record through League IX.
And he will know that his dominant left arm was one of the main reasons why Southold was in position to win a state title.
Hansen and North Salem senior lefty Connor Mahoney waged an epic pitcher’s duel in the Class C Southeast Regional final at St. Joseph’s (LI).
Hansen struck out 10, scattered seven hits and walked one as Southold fell to North Salem, the defending state Class C champions, 2-1, in the Southeast Regional final.
North Salem (16-6) scored an unearned run on a two-out throwing error in the top of the seventh inning for the win. Mahoney pitched a six-hitter with 12 strikeouts and two walks.
“I really wanted it for the seniors and we could have won this game,” said Hansen, who finished 9-1 this season with 101 strikeouts. “I’ve been playing with these guys since I was 10. We really felt like this was our year.”
North Salem forged a 1-0 lead with one out in the top of the third inning when Mahoney singled home Adam Concadoro.
Southold (23-2) tied the score in the fourth. Dylan Clausen tripled to right-center to lead off the inning. With one out, Doug Fiedler lined a single to score Clausen.
The Settlers loaded the bases with two outs after walks to Adam Baldwin and Matthew Cardi, but Mahoney recorded his eighth strikeout to end the threat.
“He pitched a great game,” Hansen said. “And when he needed to make a pitch and get an out he did it.”
Mahoney struck out the side in the second, fourth and sixth innings.
Hansen struck out at least one batter in every inning as the two dominated.
“Luke pitched like that all season for us,” Southold coach Mike Carver said. “We just didn’t produce when we had the opportunities to score.”
Southold battled until the final out. With one out in the seventh inning, Shane Zimmer and Clausen drew walks and Billy Burns grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out.
Fielder put a charge into a 2-and-2 fastball and sent North Salem centerfielder Rian Balbino racing into the right centerfield gap, where he made a running catch to preserve the win.
“It hurts right now, it really does,” Hansen said. “But I’ll be back and we’ll get after it again next year.”