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Bucks on a roll, surge into first place

JUDY CARD PHOTO A young fan holds a sign Saturday at Fiske Field with the motto of the first-place 2019 Shelter Island Bucks.

The Shelter Island Bucks reclaimed first place in the Hampton Collegiate Baseball League after sweeping a doubleheader against the Long Island Road Warriors at Fiske Field on Saturday, June 22 and defeating the Westhampton Aviators in Westhampton on Monday.

In the first game of the twin bill, the Bucks took the lead in the first inning when cleanup hitter Eddie Satisky (Lexington) lined a two-out double to score Larson Fontenot (Northwestern St).

The Road Warriors tied the game in the third, taking advantage of two Buck errors, to score an unearned run against starting pitcher Quinten Cooleen (Albany). In the next inning, an RBI double by Miles Kelly (Rockland CC) gave the Road Warriors a 2-1 lead.

The Bucks rallied to reclaim the lead in the fifth. After a two-out double by Fontenot plated Justin Murray (Dartmouth) from third, the next batter, John Shields (Florida Manatee-Sarasota), lined a single that scored Fontenot, giving the Bucks a 3-2 edge.

Reliever Donovan Ohnoutka (Northwestern St) set the Warriors down quietly in the final two innings, retiring seven of the eight batters he faced and earning his first save of the season.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Bucks sent HCBL strikeout-leader Thomas Ippolito (Pace University) to the mound.

An unearned run in the first inning put the Warriors up 1-0. The lead held until the bottom of the fourth, when Saticky slammed his second clutch double of the day, scoring Shields and Mike Guanci Jr. (Trinity) and putting the Bucks up 3-1.

The Warriors trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the top of the fifth, but the Bucks answered with a two-run single by Fontenot, and relievers Jack Metzger (Troy) and Chris Knight (George Washington U) preserved the lead as Shelter Island came away with a 5-3 victory.

Ippolito earned his league-leading fourth win of the season, striking out five batters in five innings and lowering his ERA to 2.22.

On Monday, the Bucks traveled to Westhampton to take on the Aviators. Entering the game, Westhampton had taken over first-place in the HCBL on the strength of a four-game winning streak, with Shelter Island a half-game behind and the Sag Harbor Whalers in third.

The Bucks leapt out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning on RBI doubles by Christian Pierre and John Shields.

The Aviators battled back, cutting the lead to 4-1 in their next at-bat and tying the game on a bases-loaded single by David Franchi with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.

But the Bucks broke the game open in the top of the seventh. Dylan Judd (UMass Amherst) sparked the rally with a leadoff double, and Andy Semo (Fordham) and Mike Guanci Jr. followed with walks to load the bases.

The next batter, Justin Murray worked a full-count walk to plate the go-ahead run, leaving the bases loaded for Bryce Daniel (Dartmouth), who lined a double to right field to score Semo and Guanci Jr., giving the Bucks a 7-4 lead. Another RBI double by John Shields lifted the lead as Shelter Island coasted to a 9-6 victory.

It was the third consecutive win for the Bucks, lifting their record to 12-4 on the season. This week, the Bucks return to Fiske for home games against the Ospreys on Wednesday, June 26, and the Road Warriors on Thursday June 27.

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