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Bucks tap skipper for 2019

REPORTER FILE PHOTO

The Shelter Island Bucks are preparing for another season in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League (HCBL) and have named a coach to lead them in the 2019 campaign.

Head Coach Brian Daly, 37, takes over a squad that made the HCBL playoffs last season for the first time since 2015, but fell to the Sag Harbor Whalers in a tightly-contested Wild Card game at Fiske Field in late July.

This year’s team features an all-new roster of college players from around the country. “We’re going to play an exciting brand of baseball,” Coach Daly said. “We’re going to be aggressive on offense and defense. And hopefully we’ll deliver a winner.”

Coach Daly brings a wealth of baseball knowledge and experience to the Island. After two standout seasons at Kankakee Community College in Illinois in 2000-02, he joined the Windy City Thunderbolts and went on to play professionally for eight seasons, pitching as a starter and reliever for minor-league teams in Texas and Arizona.

During his final two seasons with the Tucson Toros, he played under former Major League manager Tim Johnson, who offered him a post as pitching coach for the El Paso Diablos.

Coach Daly soon transitioned to college coaching. Over the past five years, he has served as assistant coach at Southeastern Illinois and Shawnee Community College while also managing collegiate summer league teams such as the Front Royal Cardinals and the Port Angeles Lefties.

“The first thing I always tell my players is to play loose and enjoy the moment,” he said. “Enjoy the opportunity to play in front of the fans. These kinds of chances don’t come around all that often, and every single game is a special experience. I want them to appreciate that, to play hard, to have fun, and to build relationships with one another and with the community.”

A native of Champaign, Illinois, Coach Daly has yet to visit Shelter Island, but said he has “heard nothing but good things” about the area from former HCBL coaches and players.

“Everyone keeps telling me the place is beautiful, the people are amazing, and the fans are awesome,” he said. “I’m hoping we can give the fans a team they can appreciate as much as we appreciate them.”

The Bucks open the 38-game regular season with a road game against the Riverhead Tomcats on June 1. The home opener against the North Fork Ospreys starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 2nd at Fiske Field.

Some Bucks are still looking for housing. If you’re interested in hosting a Bucks coach or player, contact Frank Emmett at (631) 487-7997.

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