On July 20, Shelter Island Bucks first baseman Alex Volpi hit his 14th home run of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League (HCBL) season, breaking the league’s single-season record. But he wasn’t finished. The next day, Volpi set the HCBL career home run record with his 15th homer of the season.
The Mohegan, New York native finished the regular season with 16 round-trippers and a league-high 46 RBI while batting .317 to help lead the Bucks to their first postseason appearance since 2015. This fall, Volpi will be returning for his junior year at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts where he is working toward a political science degree.
Volpi spoke with the Reporter last week about his summer of chasing the record and living on the Island.
Q: When did you start playing baseball and when did you become passionate about the game?
AV: I’ve been playing baseball for as long as I can remember. It was always something I loved to do with my brother and dad from about age three.
Q: When did you realize you had a shot at breaking the home run record?
AV: It was around 10 or 11 home runs that a teammate told me the record was 13. Before that, the thought of breaking the record never crossed my mind. I didn’t change my approach at the plate. The goal is always to keep the ball in the middle of the field and to hit the ball hard.
Q: How did you feel when you hit the record-setting homer against North Fork on Friday night?
AV: It was a great feeling. What made it even more special is my dad was able to make it to the game, one of the few he could attend all season because of the distance from home.
Q: What do you think of the Island, the community and the fans?
AV: An incredible place to live. Though it took some getting used to, the Island has become a second home for me and for my teammates. The community was incredibly supportive. The host families, fans, and everyone we met have made it an incredibly memorable summer. It’s a beautiful place filled with people who really care about each other.
Q: Are there any Major League players you particularly admire or model your game after?
AV: I’m an MLB fan, and my favorite team is the Mets, but there isn’t one player that I admire most or try to model my game after. I learn from a multitude of players and I try to incorporate what has made them successful into my own game.
Q: Looking ahead, what are your plans as a player? Are you hoping to pursue a professional career involving baseball?
AV: I plan to continue working to become the best player I can be to help my teams win ballgames. I’d like to take the improvements I’ve made as a player for the Bucks this summer and bring them back to Holy Cross to pursue another Patriot League Championship. If I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play past college, it would be a dream come true.