BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Even as Southold baseball team's season came to an end in heartbreaking fashion, the Settlers didn't sulk afterward. They refused to let a frustrating conclusion overshadow a brilliant year.
"Wasn't disappointing," sophomore Dylan Clausen said about his team's 21-3 season, which came on the heels of a 4-11 season. "We're Final Four."
Schaghticoke Hoosic Valley turned two 10th-inning errors by Southold into two runs in its 2-0 win in a Class C semifinal at Binghamton University yesterday. Senior Alex Poliwoda, who went 9 1/3 innings and allowed two unearned runs, seven hits and two walks with one strikeout, was charged with the loss. But that doesn't speak to his performance.
"I've been coaching him for four years," Southold's Michael Carver said, "and that's the best game I ever saw him throw. Hands down. He's got a lot to be proud of."
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Poliwoda's 116-pitch effort was his ability to do it without the strikeout.
For how overwhelming Poliwoda's stuff was, Hoosic Valley's John Rooney was lights out. The Hofstra-bound senior threw 10 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out 12. He improved to 35-0 in his high school career.
"He had everything going," Clausen said.
In the 10th, Jimmy Burnell reached on Mathew Cardi's fielding error. Burnell stole second and scored on Matt Espey's bunt in the next at-bat after catcher Sean Moran committed a throwing error. Jared Morello singled two batters later, driving in Espey and knocking out Poliwoda.
"We had three errors but that doesn't show how hard we worked," Poliwoda said. "Our defense was stellar today."
Clausen led off the fifth with a double, but was thrown out at third after Rooney faked a pickoff throw to second and centerfielder Joseph Saporita acted as if he was chasing it down in right-center.
"I think our whole team bought it," Clausen said.
The Settlers loaded the bases in the ninth, but couldn't score.
This marked the first time Southold advanced to the state tournament.
"It's something to be proud of," Poliwoda said. "Something I'll always remember throughout my whole life."