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Bucks come back to tie, but fall short vs. Southampton

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Bucks season ended with a home loss to Southampton Saturday in the HCBL Championship series
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Bucks season ended with a home loss to Southampton Saturday in the HCBL Championship series

After ten innings of baseball Saturday evening at Fiske Field, the Southampton Breakers found themselves dogpiling and hoisting a trophy as the 2014 Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League Champions.

The one seed Breakers downed the Shelter Island Bucks 7-5 in game two of the best of three series to win the championship. The win was the 10th in a row for Southampton.

With the game knotted at five in the top of the 10th, Mitchell McGeein of Eastern Michigan University hit the first pitch he saw out of the park to put the Breakers up 6-5. Another run would come around to score later in the inning on a passed ball.

Bucks’ Manager Jon Karcich acknowledged that the Breakers had their best hitter at the plate in the situation. “(The pitch) was a fastball and unfortunately he hit it out of the park and that was enough for them,” Karcich said.

After McGeein was a one man wrecking crew against the North Fork Ospreys’ in Southampton’s semifinal playoff series, Shelter Island pitchers managed to limit the damage he did against them until his homer in the 10th. The homer was McGeein’s first hit of the day and just his second of the series. He had six hits in the two games against North Fork.

McGeein’s homer and the other run came off of Buck’s reliever Jackson Bubala of Dartmouth College, who Karcich said was his team’s best pitcher for the situation. The two runs were the first two Bubala allowed all summer after pitching 16.2 innings of scoreless ball during the regular season and another 2.2 in the postseason.

Bubala came into the game in the top of the ninth with the score tied and two on and nobody out. After a strikeout, Bubala walked the next Breaker he faced to load the bases with two outs. He then escaped the jam by inducing a groundout to third base on a 3-2 pitch.

The Bucks were down 5-0 after four innings of play, but Shelter Island spent the entire summer fighting back, so fans knew they were not going to go down without a fight.

In the bottom of the fifth, Juan Soriano of Louisiana State University-Eunice walked to start things off before a single by Scott Donaghue of Quinnipiac University put two on with one out. After Soriano stole third, a strikeout brought Kyle Bartelman to the plate.

Bartelman came through with a single to right scoring Soriano and putting the Bucks on the board. Jimmy Jack of Loyola Marymount kept Shelter Island going, hitting a big double to right center that plated Donaghue and Bartelman and cut Southampton’s lead to two.

After Jack advanced to third on a passed ball, Trevor Freeman of Florida Southern College singled, which allowed Jack to score and suddenly the Breaker’s lead was only 5-4.

Freeman would start things off for the Bucks in the top of the eighth after reaching on a dropped ball by the Breaker’s second baseman. He then stole second before a fly out to right by Troy Scocca of Fairfield University moved him to third with just one out. Steven Pinales of Sullivan County Community College then came up to the plate and hit a ground ball to the pitcher who attempted to throw Freeman out at home but was unable as the Bucks tied the game.

Karcich was proud of his team for not giving up despite being down 5-0 early on. “They could have easily shutdown and quit halfway through the game but their relentlessness carried on,” the manager said.

The title was the second for the Breakers, who won the 2012 HCBL Championship. For the Bucks it was their first championship series appearance after being swept out of the playoffs in their first year of existence in 2012, and failing to make the playoffs in 2013.