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Shelter Island Bucks claim possession of final playoff spot

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Bucks Juan Soriano homering in game two of a doubleheader at Fiske Field Monday.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Bucks Juan Soriano homering in game two of a doubleheader at Fiske Field Monday.

On a hot and humid Monday afternoon at Fiske Field the Shelter Island Bucks split a doubleheader with the Southampton Breakers The Bucks won the first game 6-5 before getting blown out 16-8 in game two.

The split moved the Bucks’ record to 13-13, putting them in a better position in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League standings than they were Monday morning. The Island boys are now in sole position of fourth place and the last playoff spot.

Despite jumping out to 3-0 and 5-3 leads in game one, the Bucks needed a late rally in the sixth inning (doubleheader games are limited to seven innings) after the Breakers tied things up in the top of the fifth.

In the bottom of the sixth, Troy Scocca of Fairfield University doubled to start things off. A single by Steven Pinales of Sullivan County Community College moved Scocca to third before a bunt by Andrew Casali of the University of Maryland Baltimore plated Scocca and put the Bucks ahead again 6-5.

The one run was all reliever Jackson Bubala of Dartmouth University needed as he retired the Breakers in the top of the seventh to ensure the Bucks victory. Willis Robbins of Columbia University got the win after allowing no runs in one and one third innings on the mound.

Max Watt of Lynn University started the game for the Bucks and went four and two third innings allowing five runs, but only two were earned. When the Breakers scored three runs in the top of the fifth to tie things up, they were helped out by a couple of misplayed balls by the Bucks’ defense.

Watt thought he pitched well in the beginning of the game, and though he commented that he “couldn’t exactly get the job completely done,” he said he pitched well enough to keep his team in the game. That was an improvement over his last outing at Montauk last week when he allowed eight runs, six of which were earned.

Watt was helped out early in the game when the Bucks plated three runs in the bottom of the first. With the bases loaded and two outs, Pinales hit a double clearing the bases and put his team in front 3-0. Two more runs scored in the bottom of the fourth for the Bucks, thanks to a sacrifice fly and a sacrifice bunt.

“It was a big relief being able to pitch with the lead throughout most of the game,” Watt said. “Even when I did give up some runs we got another three runs and that made it easier throughout the game.”

Unfortunately for the Bucks, game two did not go as well as game one. The Breakers scored 11 runs in the first three innings, while the Bucks could only manage one. The visitors were aided by the long ball, with a two-run homer and a grand slam accounting for six of the early runs.

The Bucks rallied to make things interesting in the game, coming back to within five runs in the bottom of the fifth, but three more runs in the sixth by the Breakers put the 16-8 loss out of reach. The Bucks’ offense was aided by the power hitting of Steven Pinales and Juan Soriano of Louisiana State University Eunice who both went yard.

There was no mystery why the Bucks didn’t manage to pick up the win in game two, according to Manager Jon Karcich. “We can’t give up 16 runs and hope to win a game,” Karcich commented.

Despite the loss, the manager was pleased with the day because of his offense battling back in both games.

“We don’t let anything really bother us offensively,” he said. “We stay with our approaches and we just keep going forward.”

Also on Monday, the rosters for the 2014 Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game were announced. The game will be played this Saturday night at Cochran Park in Peconic, the home of the North Fork Ospreys, at 7 p.m.

The eight Bucks players selected for in the game are: Juan Soriano, Troy Scocca, Jackson Bubala, Brenton Arriaga of Loyola Marymount University, Nick Freijomil of Long Island University, Jimmy Jack of Loyola Marymount, Will Savage of Columbia University and Trevor Freeman of Florida Southern College.