03/21/14 9:06pm
03/21/2014 9:06 PM
Bishop McGann-Mercy relief pitcher Mike Chalicki was brought in the game to get the last out of the top of the seventh inning. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk).

Bishop McGann-Mercy relief pitcher Mike Chalicki was brought in the game to get the last out of the top of the seventh inning. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk).

WHALERS 8, MONARCHS 1

Judging by the postgame remarks coming from Bishop McGann-Mercy dugout, one might have thought that the Monarchs had won their season-opening baseball game. They didn’t. And while they didn’t gain a win, the Monarchs apparently gained a healthy dose of confidence.

For one thing, the Monarchs’ opponent on Friday was Pierson/Bridgehampton, the defending Southeast Region Class C champion. Not too shabby. (more…)

05/31/11 10:10pm
05/31/2011 10:10 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Pat Stepnoski issued eight walks, but he also supplied four hits as Bishop McGann-Mercy wrapped up its second straight county championship.

After toiling hard to win a vital baseball game on a hot, sunny day, there’s nothing better than jumping into a bath or show to cool off.

The Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs did exactly that, although it was not necessarily the conventional way.

After securing the Suffolk County Class C championship for the second consecutive year, the entire team took a plunge into the pond beyond the left-field fence to celebrate after registering an 8-3 win over the Pierson/Bridgehampton Whalers in Riverhead on Tuesday.

“It’s disgusting. It smells terrible, but it’s something that makes us unique,” catcher Rocco Pascale said. “Not many schools have a pond in left field.”

The Monarchs followed tradition, which started before Coach Ed Meier’s teams won county championships in 2007 and 2010. Last year they clinched the crown on the road, so they had to wait a day before their wet celebration.

“Some came back, some went to their senior prom. They didn’t go and jump in,” Pascale said. “Some of the youngsters did. This is unifying. Everybody went in. I didn’t want to go in. I didn’t go in last year. They legitimately grabbed me and threw me in the water.”

Pascale smacked a two-run home run to key a five-run first inning that gave junior right-hander Pat Stepnoski some breathing room. Stepnoski struck out eight batters and limited Pierson/Bridgehampton (12-9) to two hits and one run over five and one-third innings before J. T. De Scalo closed out the game with four strikeouts.

McGann-Mercy (16-4) will play the Friends Academy Quakers for the Long Island championship at Farmingdale State College at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in a rematch of last year’s game.

Meier remembered that encounter — a 7-2 loss. He said Friends hit a grand slam and the Monarchs hit into four double plays.

“We were neck and neck with them,” he said. “They made the big plays and we didn’t. That’s tough to overcome in one game and that’s all it is — one game.”

Added Pascale: “I want to win the next one. I haven’t won that one. We didn’t play our best. They just did.”

So getting another opportunity at Friend was retribution, right?

“More than retribution,” Meier said. “It was the experience our guys had being there. It’s a nice venue. It’s a stadium. There’s a lot of people. It’s a big game. We can take that into it. So will they. That experience is better than the retribution, if it would occur.”

Tuesday’s game was almost over before it began. Shortstop Keith Schroeher hit a one-out double, which was followed by Pascale’s seventh homer of the season, a towering drive to right. D. J. Willmott and Owen Gilpin added run-scoring singles and an error helped another run score. The Monarchs added two more runs in the second inning.

“It ignited a little rally,” Pascale said of his blast. “It got everybody up. Putting something on the board right away, it gets everybody up. It puts the other team down as well. If you can knock them down real quick and put yourself up real quick, it almost sets the pace for everything.”

That was not lost on Meier.

“You can’t ask for a better start to put up a crooked number in the first inning,” he said. “That really relaxes our pitcher. He doesn’t have to be as perfect. You saw that he was struggling with control today a little bit. But when he was in the zone, he was tough to hit. Hot day. He battled for us.”

Stepnoski pitched in and out of trouble, thanks to eight walks, leaving the bases loaded in the third and fifth innings.

Pascale said Stepnoski was the most valuable player of the tournament, which included a win over the Port Jefferson Royals.

“He’s got this thing that he wants to overpower everybody,” he said. “Sometimes it could be a little frustrating because it’s hot. I always know good things are going to happen when he’s on the mound.”

These are exciting times for the Meier family. He said that he and his wife, Nicole, were expecting a child and were due “any moment now.”

“She was having contractions today actually,” he said.

The couple did not know the sex of the child, so they will be surprised whenever the delivery occurs.

Meier certainly wouldn’t mind the Monarchs delivering a surprise or two with a win on the field on Sunday as well.

02/23/11 10:35am
02/23/2011 10:35 AM

It had all the makings of a classic finish.

More than 500 fans packed the Pierson High School gymnasium on Saturday for the Suffolk County Class C girls basketball semifinal against Bishop McGann-Mercy.

“It was a great game,” Pierson/Bridgehampton/Bridgehampton Coach Dennis Case said. “It was amazing; the air and the intensity. The place was packed. It was rocking in there.”

As it turned out, Pierson/Bridgehampton/Bridgehampton and its supporters left the gym rocking just a little more than third-seeded McGann-Mercy as senior Amanda Busiello sank a three-point basket with 1 minute 30 seconds remaining to break a 30-30 tie, lifting  the second-seeded Whalers to a dramatic 35-32 win.

Pierson/Bridgehampton (9-11) reached the Class C championship game for the first time in six years, as it took on the top seed, The Stony Brook School, in Tuesday’s final. Stony Brook won, 43-29, for its sixth straight county title.

In the semifinal, Busiello, an all-League VIII player who had scored three points up to that point, sank her game-winning shot from the top of the key.

“Amanda has come on in the second part of the season,” Case said.

Kaci Koehne sealed the game when she grabbed an offensive rebound — she had 17 boards in the game — after a missed foul shot with 6.5 seconds left in the confrontation.

One of the keys to the Whalers’ win was their defense. They played a diamond-and-one defense with Samantha James (game-high 13 points) limiting leading scorer and forward Amy Boden to three points, all on free throws.

“We tried to deny her the ball,” Case said. “Samantha James probably had the best game of her senior year.”

On the other side of the ledger, McGann-Mercy held Pierson/Bridgehampton senior point guard Sarah Barrett, who was averaging 15 points a game, to five points.

Dani Gehring, who finished with a team-high 10 points, scored all of the Monarchs’ nine points in the second quarter as the first half ended in a 19-19 tie.

In fact, the entire game was tight. The Monarchs managed to grab a 26-25 edge entering the fourth quarter. They had taken as much as a five-point lead in the third period, but Pierson/Bridgehampton downed the final two baskets in the quarter to pull within striking range.

“It was a very physical game, a very hard-fought game,” Case said. “It was a great game to watch. I was exhausted when I got home.”

The Monarchs finished the season at 9-9. McGann-Mercy Coach Jacki Paton could not be reached for comment.

02/03/11 8:54pm
02/03/2011 8:54 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Amy Boden of Bishop McGann-Mercy searched for an opening to shoot under the towering Sami James of Pierson/Bridgehampton.

Looking up at the scoreboard in the Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School gym after the first quarter, one might have done a double take, finding it hard to believe what the eyes were seeing.

Through one quarter, the Pierson/Bridgehampton Whalers had mustered only two points in their Suffolk County League VIII girls basketball game against the Monarchs.

“It was weird to look up there and see that they only had two,” said McGann-Mercy guard Anna Crowley.

A layup by Kaci Koehne that opened the game’s scoring accounted for Pierson/Bridgehampton’s only short-lived lead on Thursday night. The Whalers missed their next 10 field-goal attempts, McGann-Mercy led the rest of the way and prevailed, 40-31, pulling to within one win of clinching a playoff berth. That could come as soon as Wednesday night, when the Monarchs will host the Port Jefferson Royals.

The Monarchs (6-7, 5-3) made their life a little easier with the victory. In order to reach the postseason for the third time in four years, they need only one win from their final four league games. That’s not a bad situation to be in.

“That’s huge,” said McGann-Mercy Coach Jacki Paton.

The Monarchs accomplished a number of things with the win: They snapped a three-game losing streak. They avenged a two-point loss to Pierson/Bridgehampton on Jan. 7. They eased the pain of losing, 39-37, to the Southold First Settlers on a last-second three-point shot by Sarah Smith on Tuesday.

“We had a talk before we came out,” McGann-Mercy forward Amy Boden said after Thursday’s game. “We were like, ‘We need to come out here and act like we’re as good as we know we are,’ so that definitely helped us.”

So did a box-and-one defense and the tireless defensive efforts of Katie Gehring and Brieanne Bieber, who did what they could to keep the ball out of the hands of Sarah Barnett, the point guard who is one of Pierson/Bridgehampton’s biggest scoring threats. Barnett had 13 points, 11 in the second half.

That defense held Pierson/Bridgehampton to only 10 points by halftime. The 31 points the Whalers scored in the game was 10 points under their average.

The Whalers, who dropped to 7-8, 7-2, had their scoring chances, though. They outrebounded McGann-Mercy on the offensive glass, 16-9, but missed a number of putbacks.

“We missed a lot of shots,” said Pierson/Bridgehampton Coach Dennis Case.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy's Brieanne Bieber was pursued by Pierson/Bridgehampton's Emily Hinz.

In fact, the Whalers shot a miserable 26.4 percent from the field.

Case was visibly irked by the officiating, which charged his side with 22 personal fouls to nine for McGann-Mercy. As a result, the Whalers had only two foul shots while McGann-Mercy shot 13 of 26 from the free-throw line.

Case was also assessed a technical foul in what amounted to a five-point play by Gehring. After Gehring made a layup while being fouled with 48.2 seconds left in the third quarter, Case paid the price for criticizing the call. Gehring sank all three free throws for a 30-14 McGann-Mercy lead.

But Pierson/Bridgehampton, to its credit, didn’t wither away. The Whalers scored the next 10 points to make it a six-point game. They twice pulled to within five points of the Monarchs, but that was as far as they got. Two Whalers, Koehne and Sami James, fouled out in the fourth quarter and McGann-Mercy held on.

Asked if McGann-Mercy is an up and coming team, Case replied: “They’ll be O.K. I don’t know. We’re not up and coming right now. We’re having a rough time.”

Crowley and Gehring led the Monarchs in scoring with 12 points apiece, all of Gehring’s points coming in the second half. Boden had only four points, but was an impact player for McGann-Mercy, collecting 14 rebounds.

McGann-Mercy had seven scorers. That’s what Paton likes to see. She said: “That’s what we want. We want everybody to get their opportunities. That’s when we’re at our best, when everybody’s sharing the ball.”

Amanda Busiello provided Pierson/Bridgehampton with a complete game. She totaled 10 points, nine rebounds, seven steals, two assists and one block. James was held scoreless, but came down with 11 rebounds and blocked three shots.

In the end, though, it was McGann-Mercy’s night.

Boden said, “It should all be uphill from here.”

bliepa@timesreview.com