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Shelter Island Bucks struggle to right the ship

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Josh Goldberg pitching in relief against the North Fork Ospreys Sunday.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Josh Goldberg pitching in relief against the North Fork Ospreys Sunday.

On Friday, June 24, Shelter Island Bucks pitcher Josh Goldberg (Butler) recorded 10 strikeouts and allowed three runs over five innings against the visiting Sag Harbor Whalers. He left the game with Shelter Island trailing 3-0.

The Bucks would take the lead in the seventh only to see a victory snatched from them in the ninth.
The Bucks, 1-4 over their last five games in Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League (HCBL) play, let two wins slip away with one bad inning in both home games. After scoring only three runs on eight hits in an 11-3 loss to the Westhamton Aviators, the Bucks offense came alive only to fall victim to some control problems and spotty defense.

A split of the double header on Saturday at Cochran Park versus North Fork yielded the team’s lone win of the weekend.

Shelter Island took a 4-run lead into the top of the ninth on Friday after sending 11 men to the plate in the seventh. Brian Goulard (Fordham) led off with a single in that frame and was promptly pinch run for by Jesse Russo (SUNY Old Westbury) who stole second on the next pitch.

A misplayed pop-up to the catcher allowed Dan Hetzel (New Mexico State) to reach base and for the speedy Russo to come around and score. Matt O’Neill (URI) followed with a long home run to left center, tying the game at 3. The Bucks would tack on 4 more runs before the inning was over.

Relief pitching in the ninth allowed the Whalers back into the game. Three walks, three hits, a wild pitch and an infield error saw the Sag Harbor nine bat around and score six times to erase the Bucks’ lead and take a 9-7 advantage. The Bucks managed just one hit in the bottom of the ninth and a seemingly sure victory was lost.

On June 26, the visiting North Fork Ospreys sent Kevin Ross (Towson) to the mound versus Peter Beattie (Cal Poly Pomona) for the Bucks. After five innings the score was tied at 3 with Ross still going for the Ospreys and Ben Herbster (URI) in for Beattie. Control problems and fielding miscues in the sixth allowed North Fork to send nine men to the plate and score five times.

A leadoff walk, two hit-by-pitches, a fielding error, two stolen bases and only two hits in the inning unravelled what had been a tight contest.

Although the Bucks scored in the seventh and again in the ninth on a home run by Christian Molfetta (Stanford), the deficit was too large and a 14 hit effort by the home team was wasted in a 9-5 defeat.
Assistant General Manager Dave Gurney says the team has not lost heart. “They’re confident and just waiting for everything to click,” Mr. Gurney said. One game the pitching is outstanding and the next game the bats come alive, he observed.

“They’re really upbeat” he added.

Extra Innings: Last week, Bucks pitcher Anthony Alicki was named HCBL Ace of the Week on the strength of his complete game shutout. He follows Buck pitcher Nick Rand, who received that honor the previous week after a five inning, one hit, eight strikeout performance on June 10 against the Ospreys.

In the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft, five former Bucks were selected. Stephen Ridings by the Chicago Cubs (8th round), Sam Machonis by the Detroit Tigers (10th round), Will Savage by the Detroit Tigers (16th round), Trevor Simms by the Arizona Diamondbacks (32nd round) and Ty Blankenmeyer by the Cincinnati Reds (36th round).

The Bucks record stands at 5-12-1. The team is looking to turn things around today, June 30, at 5 p.m. at home versus the Southampton Breakers. On Sunday, July 3, the Bucks host the Sag Harbor Whalers at 5 p.m. at Fiske Field. On July 4, the Bucks visit the Whalers at 11 a.m. in Sag Harbor.

Heads up: The next Bucks baseball clinic will be held Tuesday July 5, between 10 a.m. and noon at Fiske Field for young ballplayers ages 7 and up. Bring your bat, glove and water and learn baseball firsthand from these elite college athletes.