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Bucks head into 2nd half with their heads held high

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Walker Imwalle pulling a low and inside pitch over the right field fence in a game at Fiske Field last week against the Sag Harbor Whalers.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Walker Imwalle pulling a low and inside pitch over the right field fence in a game at Fiske Field last week against the Sag Harbor Whalers.

The Shelter Island Bucks welcomed the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League (HCBL) leading Westhampton Aviators on Tuesday and bowed 7-3 at a sun-drenched Fiske Field.

Island pitchers recorded 13 strikeouts and allowed twelve hits as the Aviators earned their 20th win of the season against just nine defeats. The Bucks are in last place in the HCBL with an 8-17-1 record.

Ten Bucks joined players from the North Fork Ospreys and Riverhead Tomcats representing the North All-Stars on Monday evening at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank. They squared off against players from Sag Harbor, Southampton, Montauk and Westhampton who represented the South All-Stars, with the South prevailing 9-1, marking the first time in the four-year history of the event that the North lost.

Buck all-stars were pitchers Anthony Alicki (Bridgeport), Peter Beattie (Cal Poly Pomona), Josh Goldberg (Butler), Nick Rand (Massachusetts Lowell) and Ben Schragger (Rice). Joining them were catcher Nico Cuccia (Southeastern Louisiana), first baseman Brian Goulard (Fordham), second baseman Jesse Russo (SUNY Old Westbury) and outfielders Tim Zeng (Fairfield) and Matt Sinatro San Francisco).

In the stands at Baseball Heaven were many professional scouts who took the opportunity to see the cream of the HCBL crop in a game situation.

On July 8th the Bucks defeated Southampton 5-3 behind a strong five-inning effort by Beattie and a combination of four relievers. Saturday saw the Bucks drop both ends of a double-header versus Riverhead, 8-0 and 11-2.

Tuesday’s loss to the Aviators was marred by inconsistent play. An error by third baseman Matt O’Neill (URI) on a sharp ground ball of the bat of lead-off hitter in the third opened up an inning in which Westhampton would score three times.

Three consecutive one out singles in the fifth gave Westhampton a bases loaded opportunity. A wild pitch allowed one run to score before Ben Herbster (URI) retired the last two batters in the frame.

The Aviators would tack on another run in each of the next three innings. Two more wild pitches by Herbster in the sixth and a botched rundown let Roman Baisa (Ball State) scamper home. In the seventh, a walk and two singles produced another run. In the eighth a single, a stolen base and another single made the tally 7-3 as Westhampton starter Briett Pisaneschi (Post) allowed only three runs over eight innings while giving up 9 hits.

Bucks Manager Casey Buckley says that despite the losing record, the team shows up every day with a good attitude. “Morale is good,” Buckley said. “The kids like it here and we could easily have a winning record but for some bad breaks and some late game letdowns.”

Baseball is a game that is played almost every day, he added, and that the college players understand that summer ball is a time to get your reps in and to hone skills. “Come out every day and improve … that’s what they’re here for,” said Buckley.

This upcoming weekend the Bucks play five home games in four days, beginning with a Friday evening match up against the Sag Harbor Whalers followed by a July 16th double-header rematch versus Westhampton.