While recent Saint Mary’s College of California graduate and Cleveland Cavalier rookie Matthew Dellavedova has won praise starring in the NBA Finals, his stingy defense may only be the second-most impressive athletic performance by a Gael this week.
Rising sophomore outfielder Eddie Haus, who is batting .536 for the Shelter Island Bucks, went 6 for 6 with 5 RBIs in a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the visiting Southampton Breakers on Tuesday night.
Led by an efficient offense and strong relief pitching from Kevin Tise, the Bucks overcame an early six-run deficit, defeating the Breakers 13-10 for their third win in four days.
Sporting a 4-2 record, Shelter Island is just one game out of first place after two weeks of play in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. The Bucks have shown impressive resilience over their first two weeks of play — their home opener was rained out on consecutive nights, and while some players are still occupied with college obligations, several new athletes have performed admirably on little notice.
College All-American second baseman Chris Hess has emerged as an offensive leader, while clean defense has become a staple of the squad’s performance.
The team’s star through six games is unquestionably Haus, who despite having played in fewer games than his competition, leads the league in runs, hits, RBIs and batting average. “He’s as hot as the sun right now, he really is a complete player,” raved Head Coach Jamie Quinn.
An unfortunate start to the game left the Bucks with a nearly insurmountable 6 run deficit. The teams traded runs over the first two innings, with Haus’s double in the bottom of the second frame giving Shelter Island a brief 4-3 lead.
The Breakers quickly responded with 5 runs in the third before adding another 2 in the fourth. Starting pitcher Spencer Hunting entered the game with a perfect ERA of 0.00, but would surrender 8 runs through two⅓ innings before Coach Jamie Quinn called on his bullpen.
Southampton’s offense was buoyed by the play of Brady Acton, a
sophomore who crushed a home run to right field in the second inning. He joins just four other players who have gone yard in the HCBL this season, and was the first to do so at Fiske Field in 2015.
Relief pitcher Kevin Tise performed admirably after his early entrance, surrendering only 2 runs in five⅔ innings of work while striking out four Breakers. “You just have to do what you can to limit the damage and let the offense go to work,” he said. “My curveball was definitely landing for strikes and I felt like I was locating my fastball and hitting the outside corners.”
Shelter Island’s comeback began with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, when yet another double off Haus’s bat advanced designated hitter R.J. Going to third base. Ryan Sabo then quickly scored Going to begin a string of 3 consecutive RBI singles.
“Two-out hits will kill any team on the defensive side,” Coach Quinn said. “We had some really competitive at-bats and that’s what I’ve been preaching to them all year.”
After adding two scores in the seventh inning to shrink Southampton’s lead to just one run, the Bucks took the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth, giving Tise his first win of the season. Jack Machonis sent home the tying run with a double to centerfield and scored the winning run after Haus hit safely for the sixth consecutive at-bat, notching his fifth RBI of the game.
“I’m just seeing the ball really well,” he said. “I saw the fastball coming in and cheated a bit and drove it up the middle.”
The Bucks star redshirted his first season at Saint Mary’s and has made the most of his summer season thus far.
“I haven’t played in a whole year, so I’m just really excited to come out and start playing games again,” Haus said.
Shelter Island will look to build on its early three-game winning streak, playing road games tonight and today on the South Fork.