Shelter Island might have its own college-level baseball team as part of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League.
As a unique location bridging the North and South forks, “Shelter Island is where we want to be,” General Manager of the Sag Harbor Whalers Tom Gleeson said during a presentation to the School Board on Monday night.
The Sag Harbor Whalers is one of the HCBL’s five East End teams along with the Westhampton Aviators, Southampton Breakers, North Fork Ospreys, Sag Harbor Whalers and the Riverhead Tomcats.
The program would require 25 Shelter Island families to host 25 “rising sophomore to rising senior” college baseball players from the beginning of June through the first week in August, according to League President Brett Mauser.
Last year, the league had about 125 student athletes from 80 universities including Stanford, Duke and Notre Dame, according to Mr. Mauser. They take part to keep their baseball skills sharp over the summer and, they hope, catch the attention of minor league scouts.
The program would require use of the varsity baseball field for 20 to 25 home games that will be free to spectators. It’s “not only good for college players to improve their game, it’s free low-cost entertainment for families to see elite college baseball in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere,” said Mr. Mauser. The team’s presence here would also prove a “boon for local restaurants and local businesses,” he said. Mike Dunning and Dave Gurney, co-presidents of Shelter Island’s Little League, attended the meeting.
Mr. Dunning said he wanted to see the program incorporated on the Island because the league gives “clinics to kids and helps fix up the fields.”
Former School Board President Rebecca Mundy asked from the audience whether field repairs would be covered by the organization.
The organization’s representatives said their goal was to raise money and put it back into the fields.
They said Riverhead’s pitching mound was recently rebuilt and a scoreboard installed on the North Fork team’s field in Peconic. Sag Harbor’s infield was sodded for the league at a fraction of its expected cost, according to Mr. Gleeson, thanks to volunteers and discounts.
“It’s all about community,” said Henry Bramwell, general manager of the Westhampton Aviators.
Mr. Bramwell said that he required his players to do community service for the town during their stay.
The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League is a division of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League. It is modeled after the Cape Cod Baseball League and plays a 40-game regular season.
Also at the meeting, sailing coach Peter Needham got board approval for Shelter Island School sailing team members Drew Garrison, Matt Murphy and Macklin Lang to attend an invitation-only regatta this weekend in New Orleans. Some $2,100 was raised for the trip, fully funding it aside from the $60 entrance fee and Mr. Needham’s mileage driving to and from the airport. The group leaves Friday at noon to fly to New Orleans for two days of racing and will miss school on Monday.
The sophomores will tour Tulane University while in New Orleans.
The third presentation at the meeting was made by guidance counselor Mark Palios on a senior class trip to Virginia April 25-29. It would include an educational trip to Colonial Williamsburg. The board voted to approve the first of two travel options presented to the board by Mr. Palios, Brianna Hallman and student liaison to the School Board, Megan Mundy. The approved option estimated a $681.75 per person cost for each share of housing rental, food and van and SUV rental as opposed to a $1,069 per person cost with flight and car rental. Three school chaperones will travel with the group.