The Shelter Island Bucks staged another dramatic comeback on Monday, but fell to the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League-leading Long Island Road Warriors 9-6 in a tightly contested extra-inning game at Fiske Field.
The Road Warriors struck first, scoring three runs on three hits in the first inning against starting pitcher Nao Fukuda (New Zealand), and adding two unearned runs in the second. Warriors starting pitcher Joe Valentino (LIU Post) held the Bucks to one hit in the first two innings and took a 5-0 lead into the third.
Once again, the Bucks battled back. After a shaky start, Fukuda stymied the Warriors in the third and fourth innings, and Jonas Webler (Southern Connecticut) pitched a scoreless fifth and sixth to keep the Bucks within striking distance.
A solo home run over the left field fence, off the bat of second baseman Jake MacKenzie (Fordham), put the Bucks on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning, and shifted the momentum of the game toward the home team.
MacKenzie led off the fifth with a shot up the middle. After a bunt single by Andrew Dupont (St John’s), centerfielder Mike Nyisztor (Rutgers) roped a sharp liner to left field for his league-leading 10th RBI of the season. A groundout by Michael Matter (Belmont) scored Dupont and cut the lead to 5-3 entering the sixth.
In their next at bat, the Bucks rallied again. With runners on first and second, shortstop Mike Casaleggio (Marist) smashed a triple to the right field fence to tie the game. MacKenzie’s sacrifice fly to right field plated Casaleggio, putting the Bucks up 6-5. It was the second time in less than a week that the Bucks had overcome a five-run deficit to take a lead in the middle innings.
But the lead didn’t stick. In the top of the seventh, the Warriors took advantage of two costly errors by first baseman Alex Volpi (Holy Cross) to tie the game on a sacrifice fly by Patrick Lagravinese (Albany).
In his first appearance as a pitcher, Bucks infielder Dylan Robertson (St Mary’s) escaped a seventh-inning jam and held the Warriors scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings. Robertson is also currently fourth in the HCBL in hitting, with a .417 batting average in 24 at bats on the season.
The Bucks loaded the bases on two pinch hits and an intentional walk in the eighth, but failed to plate the go-ahead run. In the top of the tenth, the Warriors broke through with three runs on three hits to claim a 9-6 victory, lifting their record to a league-leading 7-1. The loss dropped the Bucks to 4-5 on the season.
The Bucks were honored with two HCBL player awards on Monday. Alex Volpi, who hit .444 with three homers and seven RBIs in his first five games as a Buck, was named New Era Player of the Week.
Pitcher Dylan Hughes (Queens) was named Ace Hardware Pitcher of the Week. In his first start against the North Fork Ospreys on June 5, Hughes allowed just one run on four hits in eight innings.
The Bucks went 2-1 in three road games this weekend. On Friday, starting pitcher Joseph Quintal (Fordham) struck out nine batters in six innings as the Bucks coasted to a 9-1 victory over the Breakers at Southampton High School.
After a 4-3 loss to the Riverhead Tomcats at Veterans Field on Saturday, the Bucks bounced back to defeat the Aviators 6-2 on Sunday in Westhampton. MacKenzie led the way with a three-run homer in the second inning, and Volpi slammed his league-leading fourth home run as the Bucks evened their record to 4-4.