COVID-19 may have stopped the Shelter Island Bucks from fielding a team since 2019. But fans still have a reason to celebrate.
In 2015, the Bucks took the crown in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League season. Among the pitchers for that championship season was Stephen Ridings, who on Aug. 3 became the first former Buck to play in a Major League game. Ridings took the mound Aug. 3 for the New York Yankees.
The Commack native struck out the side in the 7th inning in relief to give the hometown crowd, including members of his family, a thrill. The Yankees went on to beat the Orioles 13 to 1.
Speaking after the game, according to Newsday, Ridings said his grandmother had passed away the day before, just two years after his grandfather had died. “In the midst of my family trying to figure out funeral plans, dealing with all that, getting the call today and having this moment with them was indescribable … It was very special,” he said.
“It was our first time seeing [Ridings] in person,” said Yankees Manager Aaron Boone in a post-game press conference, according to MLB.com. “The stuff was impressive … He had a little strut out there. We were impressed with his demeanor.”
When Ridings pitched for the Bucks in that championship season, he came out of Haverford College, outside of Philadelphia. Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2016, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in 2019 before being picked up by the Yankees in November 2020. He went to the Yankees’ farm team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. This summer, he’s split his time between the RailRiders and Double A Somerset.
Now he’s at Yankee Stadium.