Featured Story

Bucks up by 8 against Breakers, fall by one run at finish

JOSEPH CARDINALE PHOTO Cal Christofori of the Bucks timing the pitch Wednesday at Fiske Field.against Southampton.
JOSEPH CARDINALE PHOTO Cal Christofori of the Bucks timing the pitch Wednesday at Fiske Field against Southampton.

The Shelter Island Bucks leapt out to an 8-run lead, but fell to the Southampton Breakers 12-11 at Fiske Field on Wednesday in a Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League contest.

The Bucks dominated the first half of the game, scoring 6 runs on six hits in the bottom of the second inning, and adding 2 more runs in the third. Starting pitcher Parker Thode (Grand View) held the Breakers scoreless through the first three innings as the Bucks staked him to a early 8-0 lead.

Breakers outfielder Ryan Hatten (Virginia Military Institute) smashed a solo home run high over the leftfield fence to put the visitors on the scoreboard in the fourth. The Breakers scored two more runs to cut the lead to 8-3 in the fifth inning.

In their next at bat, the Bucks rallied again. With runners in scoring position, Jake Mackenzie (Fordham) bounced an RBI grounder over the third base bag and down the leftfield line, and Adam DuPont (St. John’s) followed with a hard single past the glove of the diving Breakers second baseman to score another run. A line drive to centerfield by Mike Nyisztor (Rutgers) plated the third run of the inning and gave the Bucks a seemingly comfortable 11-3 lead.

But the Bucks failed to hold the lead. The momentum shifted in the top of the sixth inning, when the Breakers capitalized on three errors by Bucks fielders to score three unearned runs. “We got complacent,” Coach Darryn Smith said afterward, “and they came from behind to teach us a lesson.”

An eighth-inning rally trimmed the lead to 11-9. The Bucks loaded the bases on three hits in the bottom of the eighth, but Breakers pitcher Jordan Schulefand (Richmond), who pitched four scoreless innings, struck out the next two batters.

In the top of the ninth, Breakers shortstop James Boria (Franklin Pierce) drilled a bases-loaded double to the right-center field fence to cap the comeback, giving the visitors their first lead of the game. Schelefand set the Bucks down quietly in the bottom of the ninth, and the Breakers escaped with an improbable 12-11 victory.

It was a disappointing loss for the players and the fans, but Coach Smith is hopeful his team can learn from it. “Baseball is a game that will teach you hard lessons when not played correctly,” he said. “We can’t change the result. We can only learn from it, move forward and become better.”

The loss dropped the Bucks to 4-6 on the season. Makenzie led the team with four hits in five at bats, and Cal Christofori’s (Yale) three hits lifted his batting average .400 (third in the league). Nyisztor’s two RBI’s gave him a league-leading 12 for the season.