The Shelter Island Bucks won their second home game, beating the Westhampton Aviators Thursday night in impressive fashion.
Thanks to big fifth and sixth innings, the Bucks powered past the Aviators by a final score of 11 to 2. Coach Jonny Hernandez’ squad scored five runs in the fifth and then added on three in the sixth to make the game out of reach for the visitors.
The Bucks’ five-run fifth was put together by a lot of small ball with five hits, two walks and three stolen bases for the Bucks all coming together nicely. Catcher Joe Burns of St. John’s University had the biggest blow of the inning, a double to center that scored two runs. Burns’ double was the only extra-base hit of the inning and the only one to score more than one run.
The three-run sixth was also put together by small ball, with the Bucks picking up three hits, a walk and four stolen bases. Designated hitter Trevor Simms had the big blow of the sixth with a single to right scoring two runs. All three of the Bucks’ runs in the sixth came with two outs.
So far this season, in addition to manufacturing runs, the Island boys have relied on good pitching. Starter Mike Wallace of Fairfield University gave the Bucks a solid start on the mound, going five and two-third innings giving up six hits and allowing only two runs. Relievers Shaun Hansen of SUNY New Paltz and Geoff Sanner of Slippery Rock University pitched scoreless ball to close out Westhampton.
After the game, Wallace was happy with his performance, but acknowledged some things he has to work on. “I think I threw well, I threw strikes,” he said. “I could have been a little bit better late in the game. I think my arm started wearing out towards the end but throughout the season I think that is what I’m going to focus on, staying consistent even later on in games.”
Wallace continued that he likes where the team is heading. “I think there’s a bright future for our team,” he said. “ I think if we just keep playing defense and keep pitching like we’ve been pitching, we’ll be alright.”
Amidst all of the small ball, the Bucks did have one long ball in the game. Outfielder Cody Howard of University of Nevada-Las Vegas hit the team’s first home run of the season in the first inning to put the Bucks up 2-0.
Howard shared his thoughts on the home run. “It was cool,” he said. “I ran into one. He gave me a 2-0 fastball. I was looking to move Justin Jones over early in the count and then I was 2-0 and that was my pitch and I took advantage of it.”
The Bucks’ continue their season on the road this Saturday against the Center Moriches Battlecats at 5 p.m.