The Shelter Island Bucks welcomed the Sag Harbor Whalers back to Fiske Field on the morning of Independence Day looking for a little revenge against its Hampton Collegiate Baseball League rival.
After dropping a home double-header over the weekend and being just 1-4 on the season versus the last place Whalers (8-18), the Bucks showed why they are contenders for the HCBL championship this year.
It was 81 degrees and sunny at 11 a.m. when the Shelter Island color guard stood behind second base for the National Anthem. A large flag hung from the Shelter Island hook and ladder truck out beyond the right center field fence. Linda Bonaccorso performed a rousing rendition of The Star Spangled Banner before a crowd of over 100.
The stage was set.
In the bottom of the first, Bucks designated hitter Frank Vesuvio led off with a walk.
After Whalers starter Austin Phillips retired the next two batters, catcher Tyler Warshefskie ( pulled an inside pitch down the line for a 2-run homer.
Buck’s starter Connor McNamara scattered five hits and allowed just 1 run over six innings of work. The Bucks offense made sure he pitched with a cushion all day.
In the bottom of the second, Shelter Island collected another five hits and 4 runs as they batted around and knocked Phillips out of the game early. Three more runs in the fifth highlighted by Brian Goulard’s booming 2 RBI double off the wall in center field all but sealed it for the hosts, but the Bucks were not quite finished.
In the seventh, with score 9-1, Jacob Stracner crushed a 3-run homer over the left field fence and Goulard followed with an even louder shot to right off Whalers reliever Kevin Buckley. Final tally: Bucks 13, Whalers 3.
Rubayo Powers Bucks Over Breakers
On July 1, the Southampton Breakers sent Austin Weaver to the mound to face off against Bucks ace Patrick Clyne. Shelter Island left the bases loaded and failed to score in the first and after two innings of play the score stood knotted at zero.
In the bottom of the third, after an error by Breakers second baseman Jalen Atturbury, a hit-by-pitch and a walk loaded the bases. Next up, left fielder Matt Rubayo hit a grand slam and gave the Bucks a 4-0 lead. The powerful Bucks offense sent 10 men to the plate that inning and led 5-0.
Clyne, sporting a 0.88 ERA, gave his usual dominating performance, allowing 2 runs over 5 innings, while his team tacked 1 one more in the fourth and 2 in the seventh for an 8-3 rain-shortened seven-inning Bucks win.
The Bucks are currently 13-11-1 and alone in third place in the league.
The Shelter Island Bucks will host four free Community Baseball Clinics this year for kids ages 7 and up at Fiske Field. The dates for the clinics are Thursday, July 6, Thursday, July 13, Tuesday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 25. All clinics are at 10 a.m. sharp until noon. Bring a bat, glove and water and learn from the best.