The Shelter Island boys JV baseball team finished the 2014 season playing the Ross School Cosmos on their home field on May 9.
The Island faithful broke out the lawn chairs and was lined up on the first base line at Fiske Field for the start of the game. It was a warm day and great weather for a spring baseball game. The Island boys ended the season on a winning note in a high scoring back-and-forth 14-11 victory.
The game started with the seniors contributing to the offense in the first inning. Charlie Binder hit a first pitch single, followed by a double by Matt BeltCappellino and an RBI single by Spencer Gibbs. Junior Johnny Sturges added to the score with a two run single to make the score 3-0. Sophomore Peter Kropf hit a nice single and lickity-split quick freshman Will Garrison laid down a bunt single before the Cosmos got their turn at bat.
Coach Peter Miedema let his seniors handle the pitching duties with BeltCappellino starting on the mound. The tone for the game was set as the Ross School connected on some timely hits to come back in the bottom of the inning with three runs of their own to knot the score at 3-3.
In the top of the second Richard Ruscica singled and Gibbs hit a deep ground rule double into the woods, giving the Blue and Gray a 4-3 lead. In the bottom of the inning Shelter Island was able to get a Ross player in a run down between second and third for an important out and kept Ross off the board. But in the following inning, despite BeltCappellino notching his fourth strike out, the Cosmos combined some good hitting and smart running to go ahead 5-4.
In the top of the fourth Binder again started the scoring with a single and was brought home with a single by Ruscica. BeltCappellino hit a long sacrifice fly to put the Island back ahead 6-5. Gibbs took his lefty fastball to the mound in the bottom of the fourth, but the Cosmos kept up the offense and went in the lead again with 8-6.
Undeterred, Shelter Island kept the pressure on in the fifth when Billy Boeklen’s patience at the plate drew a walk and Garrison singled him in. Max Moroz hit into a fielder’s choice, but got the RBI to even the score at 8-8.
In the top of the sixth the Blue and Gray continued to score with Sturges and Kropf singles producing runs and resulting in a 10-8 lead. Adrian Sulahian also swung the bat to grab an RBI to widen the lead to 12-8. But again, Shelter Island couldn’t keep Ross off the board as they rallied to cut the lead to 12-11, keeping the fans on the edges of their seats.
In the top of the seventh Ruscica singled, BeltCappellino doubled and a sac fly by Gibbs and an RBI single by Sturges gave the home team all the runs they needed. In the bottom of inning, Binder made a great running catch in left field and Kropf dove on a high twisting pop up in the infield to secure the 14-11 win.
After the game nostalgic parents gathered with the players and coaches for a final photo. Years after the first interminable T-ball games, the seniors had closed out their final game in a Shelter Island uniform. The younger players can look back with satisfaction on their successful season with an impressive 9-3-1 record, and look forward to next year’s campaign.
Coach Peter Miedema and volunteer Coach Binder can hang up their cleats for the season with the knowledge that they provided great entertainment for the fans, increased the baseball knowledge of all the players and added a terrific final chapter to the departing seniors.