Just over one week into their inaugural Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League season, the Shelter Island Bucks are right in the thick of things.
The Bucks enter play tonight at Center Moriches with a record of 4-3, just a game behind the Hamptons Division-leading North Fork Ospreys.
“The first week has been a great first week,” said general manager Cori Cass. “It’s our first year in the league and we weren’t sure what the expectations were, but the support has been unbelievable so far.”
Not only did the Bucks see an opening night crowd of about 500 spectators, but most of their home games have welcomed around 150 fans.
Managed by Joe Burke, the Bucks are composed of young men from college and universities around the country who have come to the Island to keep their skills on the diamond fresh in the offseason.
Vin Guglietti, a sophomore from Quinnipiac University, is leading the Bucks in hitting through the first seven games with a .391 batting average. Rennie Troggio, Scott Donaghue and Thomas Roulis are all batting .333.
“Our team this year is one of the quickest gelling teams I have ever been around,” said Cass of the camaraderie and skills of his new team. “From the second they got here they have kind of clicked with each other. Even with players coming in late they have gelled really well which will help us later in the season.”
The team has even show composure in its losses, like the 9-6 defeat at the hands of Center Moriches Saturday.
Facing a 9-0 deficit after the first two innings, the Bucks bullpen was able to hold the Bobcats at nine runs for the remainder of the game as the lineup came alive for six runs to make it respectable.
The Bucks then took things a step further in their most recent game, coming from behind to defeat Westhampton Sunday.
The tying and winning runs scored on a throwing error down the third base line that gave the Bucks a 9-8 win.
Cass said if the team can continue to play well together it has a legitimate shot at a title.
“I think it’s definitely realistic with our team,” he said. “It’s a great possibility.
“We have very good pitching and our hitting is starting to come around. They’re getting used to hitting with a wooden bat and are starting to get a little more confident at the plate.”
The Bucks play six games again this week, including home games on Monday and Tuesday evenings at Fiske Field. First pitch for both contests is scheduled for 5 p.m.